(Un)Happy Birthday, Chemical Abortion: Part V – ‘Easy’ is a Four-Letter Word

Today’s fifth installment of Americans United for Life’s reflection on the failed twenty-year experiment in legal chemical abortion continues our close scrutiny of the abortion industry’s marketing slogan, “RU-486 is an abortion pill that ends a pregnancy easily and safely.” We’ve seen that it’s not really “a pill”, but an involved process of drug dosages and medical oversight with an uncertain outcome. We’ve also seen that contrary to assurances, it fails to “end a pregnancy” a predictable percentage of the time, and surgical abortion and additional heartache and expense lie ahead for women who undergo it. Today, we’ll focus in on one word in that slogan, a word that slips by so … well, easily … that you’d almost miss it. 

            Is It Really “Easy”? 

The FDA-approved package insert for chemical abortion – which women rarely read – lists among its usual complications bleeding, severe cramping, vomiting, nausea, headache, diarrhea, and fever/chills. All of these expected problems can add up to a long and difficult process no one but an abortion marketer would describe as “easy”. What actually happens at home can be an excruciatingly long wait for the embryo to be expelled from the uterus, accompanied by pain, bleeding, vomiting, nausea, and other complications that are drawn out over a substantially lengthy period of time, compared with a conventional abortion,” pro-abortion researcher Renata Klein and her co-authors observe

          Former abortion clinic manager Abby Johnson describes her own experience with chemical abortion as “horrific”: 

As is typical, I took one pill, Mifeprex, while at the clinic.… I was also given an antibiotic, then sent home with a prescription for a painkiller and an antinausea medication to take as needed, in addition to pills called misoprostol to be taken between twenty-four and forty-eight hours later, which would complete the process of cleaning out the uterus. 

            The days that followed, alone in my apartment, were sheer agony. If all had worked as it should have, I would have passed the fetus within the first six to eight hours and the rest of the uterine lining within about forty-eight hours. But nothing went as “advertised….” 

            My cramping was excruciating and went on for days and days. I was too ill to get out of bed, ran a fever and bled heavily. I was frightened whether out of shame, humiliation, or self-punishment – or maybe some combination of the three – I would not call the clinic. I couldn’t bear the thought of going to an emergency room or an ob-gyn because there was no way I was going to confess that I’d brought this upon myself by aborting my second pregnancy. My phone kept ringing and ringing as the clinic tried to reach me for follow up, but I wouldn’t answer. I mentioned nothing to my parents by phone. I suffered alone. 

Most women who’ve used chemical abortion would never describe it as an “easy” process. Add that assurance to the growing list of broken promises RU-486 and its advocates have piled up over the last two decades.