Italics my addition.
This pharmaceutical approach is called "medical abortion." In the United States and Europe it typically consists of two sets of "M" pills. The first is mifepristone, formerly known as RU-486, and then a day or two later the misoprostol.
Using the drugs in combination produces a miscarriage more than 95 percent of the time in early pregnancy. But mifepristone (RU-486, or the "morning after" pill) is difficult to obtain in much of the world, because it is used only to induce abortions. In contrast, misoprostol is very widely available and can't easily be banned because it is also used for ulcers and can save lives of women with postpartum hemorrhages. Whatever one thinks of misoprostol for abortions, it also is a potential lifesaver for women who hemorrhage after childbirth.
Researchers are finding that if women take misoprostol alone, effectiveness drops to 80 to 85 percent. That may sound low, but it's typically far better and safer than alternatives that women turn to, Dr. Winikoff noted.
Those 70,000 women who bled to death would still likely be alive if they could have taken the combination of RU-486 and misoprostol. If they could at least have taken misoprostol alone, that still is 56,000 women who might still be alive.
If nothing else, what's going on in third-world countries ought to make it clear that when abortion is illegal, women have them anyway, and many die. I've tried to explain to folks who weren't alive or weren't of childbearing age when abortion was still illegal in this country that desperate women have them anyway. Back-street abortions are horrific; going out of the country and paying "doctors" to perform abortions in unsanitary conditions more so; young women shoving coat-hangers into their ueteri attempting to get rid of a baby even more horrific - and young women who die because of such abortions are a lot of lost potential.
I've often wondered who they were and might have been - was this one a wife who was desperate not to have another baby with an abusive husband? Could this young woman have been a doctor one day? A teacher? A happy wife? Each of those 70,000 women could have been something more - someone more - if she hadn't died, usually bleeding to death.
I had two friends who had backstreet abortions - where I went to high school they'd get "mononucleosis" and go to Calexico (Mexico) for an abortion - one of them died of a hemorrhage and the other became sterile from an infection that almost killed her. The sense of loss for my two friends (the one who was rendered sterile later hung herself) was overwhelming. Neither one need have died if abortion had been legal back then. Then think of 70,000 women dead.
Edited by Rhea, 01 August 2010 - 09:16 PM.