Health Motherhood

RU 486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals

RU 486: Misconceptions, Myths
and Morals
Renate KleinSpinifex1991

From Spinifex: An award-winner when first published, this book has become a classic text for health activists and feminists interested in the complexities of how drugs are developed, marketed and sold to women around the world. In this book the authors review the unusual history of the French abortion pill, RU 486 (mifepristone). They scrutinize the science and politics from inception through to its use on women.

•    Is RU 486 a miracle drug for abortion that is a safe and effective alternative to conventional abortion procedures?
•    Does it privatize and de-medicalize the abortion experience?
•    Is its availability a ‘victory’ for women?
•    Is RU 486 safe for use in Third World countries and remote rural areas?
•    Who benefits from chemical abortion and how does RU 486 affect existing abortion services?

The authors argue that the positive claims made for RU 486 (mifepristone) are filled with myths and misconceptions. RU 486 used on its own is a failed abortifacient and needs the addition of a prostaglandin, a dangerous drug. But the ‘success’ rates of the drug cocktail RU 486/prostaglandin remain at 92 to 95 per cent compared with 98 to 99 per cent for suction abortions. Suction abortions, which are best done with a local anesthetic, involve no harmful drugs and are completed in 30 minutes. By contrast, RU 486/PG abortions last for days, sometimes weeks.
Heavy bleeding, transfusions, vomiting, severe pain and infection are among the unpredictable adverse effects. Women have died from sepsis and cardiovascular events. RU 486/PG abortion benefits the medical profession, drug companies and government health economies.

Through painstaking research and analysis the authors uncover the truth that chemical abortion is ill-conceived and unethical. They caution that low-tech abortion services are under threat as the mainstream hails RU 486 abortion as ‘safe and effective’ which it is not.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: The History of RU 486
… Events in France
… International Affirmation and Criticism
… The Role of the International Press
… The Father of the Abortion Pill?

Chapter Two: Claims for RU 486/PG Abortion
… Privacy versus Control
… Safety versus Contraindications
… Complications
… Contraindications
… Complications
… Chemical Abortion versus Conventional Abortion

Chapter Three: What is RU 486 and How Does It Work?
… Hormonal Interaction
… How RU 486 Works
… Other Sites of Actions and Applications of RU 486
… The Effect of RU 486 on Women’s Menstrual Cycles, Fertility, Eggs and Embryos

Chapter Four: The Role of Prostaglandins: Known and Unknown Dangers
… What are Prostaglandins?
… Prostaglandins in the Treatment of Human Health Disorders
… The Role and Application of Prostaglandins in Obstetrics and Gynecology
… Prostaglandin/Antiprogesterone-Induced Abortion