Did you read the big news that a new study has found that the abortion drug RU-486 is safe? TIME magazine’s title says it all: “Study Finds Abortion Pill Safe.” It helps to read the fine print because in this case the title by itself is misleading. The study actually only addressed certain long-term effects of the drug. The article goes on to say that many doctors continue to question the drug’s safety in the short term. Here’s the relevant section from the TIME article:
“Apart from the long-term health effects of RU-486, some doctors still question the drug’s safety in the short-term. Between 2003 and 2006, seven women â€” six in the U.S. and one in Canada â€” died after using mifepristone together with misoprostol, or misoprostol alone. The two drugs are routinely prescribed in combination; the first terminates the pregnancy, while the second causes uterine contractions and expels it. Most of the women died from infection with a dangerous, rare bacterium called Clostridium sordellii, one of the Clostridium species that may normally live in the vagina of healthy, non-pregnant women. Most also took misoprostol vaginally â€” many doctors prescribe it that way, though the drug is federally approved to be taken by mouth. But there is no evidence to date that the abortion drugs or how they were administered increased the women’s vulnerability to the bug.”
In any case, the moral question about the use of this drug is not answered by demonstrating that it is safe for women’s health. There may be a pill invented one day that terminates pregnancies without any detriment to the mother at all. If fact, there might be a pill invented that can terminate pregnancies while producing salutatory effects on the mother’s health. We have to concede that this scenario as a possibility. Yet even if technology should improve in such a way, all that would mean is that we have become more efficient at killing unborn children. The underlying moral problem (killing innocent people created in the image of God) still remains.
Thus I’m not impressed by studies showing the “safety” of abortion pills and proceduresâ€”much less by ones that turn out not to be so safe after all.