And now it seems that you can get an abortion over the Internet.
Years ago, I was in the middle of the effort to get “the abortion pill,” otherwise known as RU-486, approved for usage in the United States. On several occasions, I was at the table with the investors who had put up a lot of money to get the product approved by the FDA, the pro-choice groups that desperately lobbied for it and the company that would ultimately distribute it. The company was especially conscious about security, to the point where they had an office in Manhattan but no signs anywhere announcing its presence. Ultimately, after years of struggle, we prevailed.
From the beginning, advocates of the pill championed it as another option for women who did not necessarily want to have surgery. They also, however, got a bit hyperbolic about its impact when they predicted that the pill would “revolutionize” women’s reproductive health. Their thought was that additional physicians would come out of the woodwork and start prescribing this pill and that it would allow women to have abortions in the privacy of their own home. The abortion providers, on the other hand, voiced concern that the product was being built up too much and warned that a doctor who had never been involved in the delivery of abortion services before would not suddenly start prescribing the abortion pill. Today, the pill is being used by about 20% of women having abortions and we have not seen those doctors coming out of the woodwork, although some current abortion providers – particularly Planned Parenthood – have set up small offices where they only disperse the pill.
The bottom line is that the pill is a good option, but it is not for everyone.
And now, the pill is available on the Internet. Yep, the other day I ran across a website named http://www.abortionpillonline.com and, honestly, my first reaction was rather negative. First of all, the website itself looks very cheesy, very amateurish. Unlike the website of your average abortion provider, there was no hard information, like where they were located, what doctors were involved, etc. I didn’t
see any phone numbers. Heck, I didn’t even know what country this business was in until I emailed them and they told me that the product was made in India and distributed from India.
Now, I don’t know all the legalities here and I certainly am not accusing this group of being less than reputable. But this just sounds too easy for me. When it comes to any kind of medical care, everyone needs to be careful. Let’s face it, no matter what the medical specialty, there’s always someone out there who is eager to cut corners and make the quick buck. In the case of the abortion pill (which is actually two pills), there’s a lot more to it that just swallowing a pill. For example, this website just distributes the pill, it does not offer any counseling which, for some women, is very important. And it’s hard to predict how a woman will react once she starts the regimen, physically or emotionally. What if there’s an issue in the middle of the night? Who will she call? There are so many potential issues that might require the advice of a real, accessible doctor or at least a nurse.
I’m glad that women have more access to abortion services via the pill. Going to the Internet and just ordering a bunch of pills and swallowing them belies the seriousness of the abortion process. It makes me nervous.
- How about an abortion clinic rating system? | Jill Stanek (amhec.wordpress.com)
- What Is the Abortion Pill? Get The Facts (oleole.com)
- Editorial: How Morning-After Pills Really Work (nytimes.com)