The Search for Meaning: RU-486 and the Law of Abortion
Banwell, Suzanna S.
Paxman, John M.
American Journal of Public Health. 1992 Oct; 82(10): 1399-1406.
The advent of RU 486 (mifepristone), a steroid analogue capable of inducing menses within 8 to 10 weeks of a missed menstrual period, has provoked a firestorm of concern and controversy. When used in conjunction with prostaglandin (RU 486/PG), it is at least 95% effective. Used in France principally to terminate confirmed pregnancies very early in the process of gestation, RU 486 raises many interesting legal questions. This article focuses on whether and how RU 486/PG can be accommodated within the framework of the world's current abortion laws. Four avenues are explored and conclusions drawn. First, it is clear that RU 486/PG can be used readily, if approved, within the regimens established by liberal abortion laws, as has been the experience in France, the United Kingdom, and even China. Second, although unlikely, the introduction of this new technology may inspire a reexamination of restrictive abortion statutes themselves. Third, some of the presently restrictive laws may be interpreted to permit RU 486/PG use as a legal procedure, for a very narrow range of reasons. Finally, in some settings the early use of RU 486/PG (before pregnancy can be confirmed) may fall outside the reach of abortion legislation and hence be acceptable from a legal point of view.
Abortion; Abortion on Demand; Contraception; Criminal Law; Developing Countries; Drug Industry; Drugs; Ethics; Government; Government Regulation; Health; Industry; International Aspects; Islamic Ethics; Law; Legal Aspects; Legislation; Laws; Maternal Health; Pregnant Women; Public Policy; Pregnancy; Regulation; Review; Statutes; Technology; Terminology;
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