With the arrival of RU-486, those who favor legal abortion face some new challenges. One is the need to bring down the cost of abortion by RU-486. That an abortion primarily produced by pills will cost the same as a surgical abortion is troubling. Abortion providers justify this cost by noting that FDA-mandated procedure requires substantial oversight of the RU-486 abortion process. While there is some merit to this argument, I doubt there is enough to fully justify the high price. Women’s health advocates need to work to reduce the cost of RU-486, both by advocacy with providers of abortion services and by insisting that, over time, the FDA-required procedure be modified to make the administration of RU-486 only as restrictive as necessary to preserve women’s health and safety.
One benefit of RU-486 is the fact that it can be administered very early in pregnancy. It would be unfortunate if low-income women were denied access to this service because it took them longer to raise the funds for the procedure than the time span in which the procedure is most effective.
Catholics for a Free Choice
This article appeared in the 22-29 November edition of Christian Century.