RU-486: The 'Abortion Pill'

Author: PCF


[Many do not know of the extensive research facilities maintained by the Vatican in areas like Physics, Astronomy, Medicine. Here is a report from one of them...the report was sent by the Vatican to bishops' conferences throughout the world, and calls RU-486, the so-called 'abortion pill' currently available in France, "a new, serious threat to human life." The report was developed at the Vatican's request by Gonzalo Herranz, a Spanish bioethicist. A cover letter to bishops' conferences from Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, suggested that the report be used "to resist the introduction of the abortion pill RU-486 into your country." Related to RU-486 and to new terminology some use to characterize its non-surgical approach to abortion is an intention "to amoralize and thereby place the transmission of human life to an ethically neutral terrain and reduce it to pure biology," says the report. The report discusses possible future uses of RU-486 as a contraceptive, stating: "Women would no longer have to worry themselves about whether they have conceived or not. Each month they would proceed to clean out their uterus chemically." The report refers to RU-486 as "a technical step forward in an area that did not need it." It says, "The abortion pill favors a woman's privacy and secret, but it condemns her to solitude." The English text from the Vatican follows.]


Medical Aspects

Bibliography: Baulieu. E.E. Ru0486 as an anti-progesterone steroid. From receptor to contragestion and beyond. Journal of the American Medical Association 1989; 262: 1808-14. Baulieu, E.E. Contragestion and other clinical applications of RU-486, an anti- progesterone at the receptor. Science 1989;245:1351-7. Healy, D.L., Fraser, H.M. The anti-progesterones are coming: menses induction, abortion and labor? British Medical Journal 1985;290: 580-1.

1. The compound RU-486 is the first "abortion pill." Its use raises some very serious moral and social as well as medical and scientific problems. The product was developed in the laboratories of the French firm Roussel Uclaf (from which its name derives). Its scientific name is mifepristone, and in France it is sold under the trade name Mifegyne.

2. RU-486 is a synthetic steroid with very unique anti-hormonal properties (anti-progesterone). It combines naturally at the receptor with the progesterone present in the tissues upon which it acts, including the endometrium, and annuls the action of the progesterone. Since the continued action of this hormone - which is produced initially by the ovary and later in great quantity by the placenta - is necessary (and from this comes its name) to continue gestation, especially during the first trimester, *administering RU-486 in a sufficient amount can cause early abortion*. [* indicate italics in the original] This is its most well- known action, but not its only one.

3. RU-486 has other effects. When administered following certain patterns, it can act as a contraceptive. Also, when used in large doses it has an anti-glucocorticoid effect which gives it a certain potential, although it is not fully confirmed, in the treatment of some illnesses.

RU-486 as an Abortifacient

Bibliography: Birgerson, L., Odlind, V. Early pregnancy termination with anti-progestins: a comparative clinical study of RU-486 given in two dose regimens and Epostane. FErtil Steril 1987; 48: 565-70. Couzinet, B., Lestrat N., ULmann, A., Baulieu, E.E., Schaison, G. Termination of early pregnancy by the progesterone antagonist RU-486 (mifepristone). New England Journal of Medicine 1986;315:1565-70. Godefroid, R.J. RU-486. Journal of the American Medical Association 1990;263:948. Grimes, D.A., Mitchell, D.R., Shoupe, D., Lacarra, M. Early abortion with a single dose of the anti-progestin RU-486. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1988;158:1307-12. Guillebaud, J. Medical termination of pregnancy. British Medical Journal 1990;301:352-4. Rodger, M.W., Baird, D.t. Induction of therapeutic abortion in early pregnancy with mifepristone in combination with prostaglandin pessary. Lancet 1987;2:1415-18. Urquhart, D.R., Templeton, A.A. Mifepristone (RU-486) and second-trimester termination. Lancet 1987;2:1405. World Health Organization Task Force on Post-Ovulatory Methods for Fertility Regulation. The use of mifepristone (RU-486) for cervical preparation in the first trimester pregnancy termination by vacuum aspiration. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1990;97:260-6.

4. The principal use that has been made up until now of RU-486 and its effect that has been studied the most is the induction of early abortion. When RU-486 is used alone, the rate of success is too low. It induces incomplete abortions in 15 percent of women when administered within five weeks of amenorrhea. However, the rate of failure rises to more than 60 percent when abortion is induced at nine weeks of amenorrhea.

5. RU-486 causes an increase in the uterus' sensitivity to other abortion-inducing agents: prostaglandins. When RU-486 and a prostaglandin are used together, the effectiveness grows markedly. A single dose of 600 milligrams of RU-486, followed a day and a half or two days after by an injection of 0.25 milligram of sulprostone or a vaginal suppository of 1 milligram of gemeprost, will produce a complete abortion in most women. This treatment, however, is accompanied by side effects of varying importance: pain that requires analgesia during expulsion of the fetus, hemorrhage which is on the average of 80 milliliters and lasts from one to two weeks. New combinations of RU-486 with prostaglandins are being studied and tested clinically in order to lessen these undesirable side effects.

6. In France (figures from May 1990), induced abortions through the combination of RU-486 and prostaglandin amounted to 45,000. In 1990, nearly 1,000 a week were carried out, which means that this technique is being applied in one out of every three or four abortions. The pregnancies must be of less than seven weeks. Women are required to give their consent to undergo a surgical abortion in the event that the treatment fails or significant hemorrhages are produced. Abortion with RU-486 is subject to a rather rigorous administrative and epidemiological regulation.

7. It is not easy to make an evaluation of the data concerning the complications associated with abortion produced by RU-486 since such data is presented with a certain bias due to the polarization of opinions that is being expressed among gynecologists around the debate over pharmacological abortion vs. surgical abortion. Some say that only two cases have presented serious complications out of 30,000 abortions induced by RU-486. Others rate serious complications at 5 per 1,000 cases. Significant hemorrhage occurs in 10 percent of the women treated, out of which one in 100 requires a transfusion. Among 5 percent-20 percent of cases, the fetus is retained, and surgical evacuation is required.

8. The conclusions reached until now require that early abortion with RU-486 always be done under medical control since frequent complications are to be expected. Until now, these have hindered the free commercialization of RU-486 and thus the possibility of "abortion at home." The complications and the need for a post-abortion ultra-sound control to verify if the abortion was complete are such that RU-486 cannot be used in countries with poor human medical resources, contrary to the desires of some who would see in it the ideal method for abortion in the Third World.

9. Pretreatment with RU-486 facilitates abortion in the second trimester induced by the extra-amniotic infusion of prostaglandins in such a way that a marked reduction is obtained both in the interval between inducement and abortion as well in the total quantity of prostaglandin used.

10. As has been mentioned above in No. 7, there is a clash between the supporters of surgical abortion and those in favor of pharmacological abortion. This struggle does not exclusively refer to offering "a better service" to women who wish to abort, but has to do with the struggle for supremacy in the abortion industry. It has been said that RU-486 represents a technical step forward in an area that did not need it. The complications from an abortion with RU-486 cause women to lose working days, and they have to then go to the hospital. From the economic viewpoint, even discounting the cost of RU-486, pharmacological abortion does not seem to have any advantages over surgical abortion. Curiously, an international, multicentric study sponsored by the World Health Organization examined the way of combining RU-486 with surgical abortion and has shown that RU-486 provides a good preparation of the neck of the uterus for performing an abortion by aspiration.

RU-486: Could It Be Used As A Contraceptive?

Bibliography: Baird, D.T. An update on the use of anti- gestagens in fertility control. British Journal of Family Planning 1990;15(supl):44-7. Baulieu, E.E. Contragestion and other clinical applications of RU-486, an anti-progesterone at the receptor. Science 1989;245:1351-7. Lichenin, T., Heikinheimo, O., Laukkamaa, M., et al. Inhibition of folliculogenesis and ovulationby the anti-progesterone RU- 486. FErtility and Sterility 1988;49:961-3. Nieman, L.K., Choate, T.M., Chrousos, R.N., et al. The progesterone antagonist RU-486. A potential new contraceptive agent. New England Journal of Medicine 19878;316:187-91. Van Santen, M.R., Haspeels, A.A. Interception III: postcoital luteal contraception by an anti-progestin mifepristone (RU-486) in 62 women. Contraception 1987:35:423-31.

11. For the moment, the use of RU-486 as a contraceptive remains in the realm of speculation. The necessary clinical experiments have not been carried out yet for verifying and evaluating comparatively its possible capacity as a contraceptive.

12. It seems that the systematic use of RU-486 as a "post-coital contraceptive" or in harmony with the less traumatic designation as a "menstrual inducer" or "monthly contraceptive in a single dose (month-after pill)" must be discarded since it shows a priori an insufficient theoretical efficacy (estimated 4 percent failure rate). In reality, the mechanism of RU-486's action, which would be taken in the last four days of the cycle, in these circumstances would not be contraceptive but anti- implanting or very early abortifacient. In order to act like an efficient monthly contraceptive pill (abortifacient), RU-486 would have to be associated with an anti-hormone freer of gonadotropine or an oral prostaglandin.

13. It would be possible to induce a luteal contraception through the administration of RU-486 during the post-ovulatory, luteal phase of the cycle. The alteration of the secretive activity and the vascular changes in the endometrium caused by RU-486 would make implantation of the embryo impossible.

14. One application in which the promoters of RU-486 place gerat hope would be the use of low dosages (to milligrams-25 milligrams) of RU_486 during the days of the follicular, pre-ovulatory late phase in order to cause suppression of ovulation. Apparently progesterone plays an important role in determining the moment and the intensity of the peak of the luteal hormone, which is decisive in inducing ovulation in a normal cycle, a role which could be annulled by RU-486.

Psychological and Social Aspects

Bibliography: Coles, P. Volte-face on controversial French abortion pill. Nature 1988;336:4. Coles, P. RU-486 under attack. Nature 1990;345:7. Ferrer, E. Las aventuras y desaventuras de una molecula inhabitual: el RU-486. Jano 1988;35:2487-8. Halpern, S.M. RU-486: the unpregnancy pill. Ms. magazine 1987 (April): 56-9.

15. Part of the psychological aspects that the use of RU-486 entails is mentioned later on in the section concerning questions about name and definition. Here some others are mentioned.

16. Theintroduction of the "abortion pill" was greeted jubilantly by the pro-abortion movements, by the international agencies for birth control and by the feminist movements. In it is seen the promise of a solution to many psychological and social problems.

17. For the pro-abortion groups of advanced countries, wehre surgical abortion is safe, cheap and quick, RU-486 would guarantee a greater ability to choose and, they assure with excessive optimism, the opportunity of having an abortion in private. Those groups postulate that if pharmacological abortion were to arrive at the desired 100 percent effectiveness and 0 percent complications, it would be ocnveted into a predominant form of aboriton - private, domestic, not medicalized and economical - with obviouis effects on population control.

18. With purely wishful arguments, population controllers state that the "abortion pill" will make abortion more accessible and safer in developing countries and therefore will be very much in demand. It would thus contribute to halting population growth and at the same time avoid a great part of the alleged 100,000 to 200,000 deaths that those countries pay yearly for unsafe or clandestine, surgical abortion. However, in the current state of abortion by RU-486, it requires as much or more medical support than surgical abortion, which makes the illusions fade about RU-486 as an easy means of population control.

19. Many groups of the feminist movement see in RU-486 the first step for woman toward making herself truly the absolute mistress of her reproductive capacity. Such groups proclaim the advent of a true reproductive freedom that would arrive when a safe abortion pill were available, freely dispensed, which the pharmacist gives without any medical prescription. That pill, taken as a "menstrual inducer" or "menstrual pill," would make all the guilt feelings disappear that are connected with abortion. Women would no longer have to worry themselves about whether they have conceived or not. Each month they would proceed to clean out their uterus chemically without having to ask any help from the doctor. In this way, women's absolute autonomy would be consecrated with regard to reproductive processes. This is already considered as one of women's rights. In fact, in November 1988, the French minister of health, Claude Evian, in ordering Roussel Uclaf to resume distribution of RU-486, which was suspended a few days before, stated nothing less than to be acting in this way "in the interest of public health and to support the rights of women." In doing this, Evian merely repeated the idea, expressed in a document signed by more than 1,000 gynecologists attending a congress in Rio de Janeiro stating that the recall of RU-486 was a "hammer blow to women's rights."

20. Nonetheless, it is doubtful that abortion, including early and deliberately inadvertent abortion, can be seen as free from any psychological traumas. Even though its emotional impact may in some women be less grave than that produced by surgical abortion, with its burden of going to a clinic, undergoing anesthesia and feeling one's body invaded, abortion at home is not free from tension and anxiety. It is the woman herself who, all alone and urgently, takes on the whole psychological and ethical burden of being the sole agent of abortion and hwo has to wait anxiously for the effect of the treatment. Demedicalized abortion leaves the woman abandoned to herself and in the uncomfortable company of fear, pain and the risk of hemorrhage. The abortion pill favors a woman's privacy and secret, but it condemns her to solitude.

Other Uses

Bibliography: Cherfas, J., Palca, J. Hormone antagonist with broad potential. Science 1989;245:1322. REgelson, W., Loria, R., Kalimi, M. Beyond "Abortion": RU-486 and the needs of the crisis constituency. Journal of the American Medical Association 1990;264:1026-7.

21. In order to exploit the therapeutic possibilities of RU-486, in some laboratories basic research is proceeding to study new aspects of its interaction with different tissues and functions. Those who are interested in selling RU-486 already know that form the viewpoint of social psychology it would be good to find other clinical uses for the molecule that will redeem it from its "bad reputation" of being an abortifacient and contraceptive. It is both a symbolic and practical problem.

If, thanks to its clinical uses, RU_486 were to obtain a dignified place among medicines, opposition to its use in situations that have nothing to do with abortion and contraception would be both irresponsible and malevolent behavior, for it would deprive many patients of the benefits that RU-486 can provide them.

22. In fact, some clinical uses of RU-486 are already known now. The usefulness of RU0486 has been observed in the following cases:

- Due to the anti-gluticocorticoid action of large doses of RU- 486, it has been used successfully in treating cases, especially in their initial phase, of Cushing syndrome.

- A small number of cases of breast cancer. An exploratory test showed clinicaland objective improvement in 18 percent of cases, positive to hormonal receptors which were resistant to the standard treatment such as hormones or chemotherapy.

- Some inoperable meningiomas that contain progestinic receptors. The results are encouraging but based on limited samples. In a few cases, RU-486 has shown itself to be superior to other hormones.

- As an aid in delivery in cases when cervical dilation is insufficient.

- As a facilitator in surgical abortion during the second and third trimester.

- The possible use ofRU-486 has been suggested in other clinical situations, but only on very tenuous objective bases and in such a way that at times there is the impression that such suggestions are based more on wishful thinking than on firm data. This is the list of potential uses of RU-486:

- Non-surgical treatment of ectopic pregnancy: Results up to now have not been very encouraging.

- Treatment of endometriosis.

- Treatment of tumors that grow under the influence of cytosines, whos production can be interrupted in vitro by RU-486.

- Modulation of the biological response to certain viral infections.

- Local treatment (collyrium) of glaucoma. The first experiments have been misleading.

- Local treatment of burns and wounds to avoid fibrous scars from being formed.

- Use as a contraceptive (as an anovulatory, in the follicular phase - Finland. As a menstrual inducer - after-month pill. As an anti- implanter, microdose in the luteal phase), as was pointed out above.

International Situation

24. The pill is used legally only in France. The National Consultative Committee of Ethics for Life Sciences and Health issued an opinion at the end of 1987 favorable to the limited, closely-supervised use of RU-486 in accord with the abortion law in force in France.

The World Health Organization is anxiously awaiting the moment it can recommend RU-486 as a means of birth control. The review Nature has made known that Roussel Uclaf has signed a contract with WHO to sell it the product at cost. Logically, the major multinationals of abortion and contraception (International Planned Parenthood Federation, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Pathfinder, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations) are very interested in this subject. There are reports that the People's Republic of China, which has not adhered to the international conventions on patents, is using RU-486. Recently, Austria has authorized the use of RU-486. Apparently, the process is going forward of introducing RU-486 into Sweden, the United Kingdom, Holland and other Scandinavian countries. In Spain, the question was discussed in Parliament in the autumn of 1990. The coinciding opposition of the Social Popular, Catalan and center groups defeated the proposal, which was defended by left-wing groups.

Ethical Aspects

Bibliography: Allen, C.L., "Mysteries" of RU-486. Human Life Revue 1990;16(1):70-9. Confederation Nationale des Associations Familiales Catholiques. Dossier sur le RU-486. Medicine e Morale 1989;39:152-9. Mirkes, R. RU-486, medical progress and wisdom. Ethics Medics 1990;15(3):1-2. DiPietro M., Sgreccia, E. La contragestazione ovvero l'aborto nascosto. Medicina e Morale 1987;38:5-34.

25. Obviously, the circumstance in which procured abortion is carried out, whether by a surgical procedure or a chemical agent, does not modify substantially the moral grvity of the action. Consequently, the thical and moral condemnation of abortion falls, integrally and without any attenuating circumstances, on the abortion produced by RU-486, or any other chemical compound capable of abortifacient action, with the appearance of amedication that may be used in the future for the purpose of causing an abortion.

26. One must ask oneself, hwoever, about the thical attitudes of the promoters of RU-486 and how they justify their commitment to placing that product on the market. It is also interesting to weigh what the effects of general acceptance and the use of the abortion drug would be from the viewpoint of medical ethics.

Deliberate Confusion in Terminology

Bibliography: Anonymous. Mifepristone - Contragestive agent or medical abortifacient? Lancet 1987;2:1308-10. Baulieu, E.E. Contragestion and other clinical applications of RU-486, as anti-progesterone at the receptor. Science 1989;245:1351-7. Baulieu, E.E. RU-486 as an anti- progesterone steroid. From receptor to contragestion and beyond. Journal of the American Medical Assoociation 1989;263:1808-14. Baulieu, E.E. RU- 486. Ibid., 1990;263:948. Brahams, D. The poscoital pill and intrauterine device: Contraceptive or abortifacient? Lancet 1983;1:1039. Cahill, L.S. "Abortion Pill" RU-486: Ethics, rhetoric and social practice. Hastings Center Report 1987;17(5):5-8. Godefroid, R.J. RU-486. Journal of the American Medical Association 1990:263:947.

27. It is well known tha the rapid infiltration, first of all, and then the establishing as prevailing orthodoxy of ideas that clash head on with the traditions of Christian society - and with Hippocratic ethics of medicine - must make recourse to an able manipulationof ideas, which in turn requires the use of tricky words. The crafty dulteration of definitions (the "tactical redefinitions") and the introduction of padded neologisms enable the atraumatic introduction of new attitudes and behavior which, while being intrinsically perverse and held until that time as repugnant or immoral behavior, are dresse dup with an appearance of dignity, become fashionable and end up being asserted as norms of civil ethics that must be complied with.

28. The entrance and spread in society of surgical abortion has bene possible not only due to permissive legislation, but also to the self- advertising technology of socially persuasive formulas, of sytagms that dignify it and of expressions that sully those who are opposed to it. The wicked and sinful nature of abortion is annulled when the fact of destroying human life remains hidden under the veil of new and innocent expressions which are both scientific, progressive, technical and tolerant such as *micro-aspiration, menstural extraction, voluntary interruption of gestation* or simply *intrruption, menstrual regulation, interception, mensturla pill*. [Asterisks indicate italics in the original] It is considered impolite and in bad taste to speak with regard to abortion about killing, assassinating or destroying human beings, since that terminology indicates that the values have not been grasped of individual autonomy, the right to choose, progressive humanization, population control and ecology.

29. The introduction and dissemination of chmical abortion in today's society also requires a terminology of its own. Baulieu specifically coined the term "contragestion" in order to designate tactically the abortion induced by RU-486. The new term is required for two reasons: One is the advisablillity in dealing with RU-486 not to make the slightest reference to abortion; the other is that of pointing out the fact that the abortionpill does NOT constitute, because it *is* abortifacient, a novelty in the field of birth control. Baulieu himself has stated:

"Many procedures used for fertility control are not contraceptive in the common and accepted meaning of the term. This is the case of intrauterine devices, hormonal contraception through gestagens and postcoital contraception. In fact, interruption following fertilization that would have to be considered abortifacient is something on the agenda. On the other hand, practically all women have had or will have some abortion (spontaneous) even though they do not realize it.... The idea of abortion includes a violent and controversial connotation as if collectively, consciously or not, we were only worried about whether fertilization has tken place or not, and we forget bout the many stages that must be made in order for a human being to develop. In consideration of its globality and continuity, the process of generating lif and the natural mechanisms of selection that determine it, the use of words with regard to abortion such as *assassination* or *killing* only serve to obscure the real terms of aproblem that has only to do with health. For that reason, we hve proposed the term *contragestion*, a contraction of *contra-gestation* in order to designate the majority of methods for controlling fertility. It is hoped that the new term will serve to avoid the discussion from degenerating."

30. The intention is obviously to amoralize and thereby place the transmission of human life into an ethically neutral terrain and reduce it to prue biology. Chemical abortion is disconnected from any moral implication whatsoever. It is subject to civil laws that regulate the practice of abortion adn the health policy of technical efficiency and population control. Concern is also condemned as obsessive for the anthropological and moral meaning of fertilization, which becomes a mere step in a continuing biological process. Declared as perverse, or atleast intentionally obscuring and in bad taste, is the use of expressions regarding abortion such as *assassinate* or *kill* that are endowed with a moral content. The term *contragestion*, which is a "tricky" contraction in order to rob the semiological meaning form the origina contra-gestation, is not only atraumatic but anesthetizing to the moral conscience, because it does not cause an association of ideas with the process of transmitting life and with the role that women play in it, but only the general administration on these matters.

31. It is worthwhile to calla ttention to the impermeability toe thical discussion which is typical of promoters of RU-486. One gets the impression that the creation of the term *contragestion* confers a property right on the ethical problems inherent in it. Some brief polemics int he Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrate this. Godefoid reproaches Baulieu for the laughability of his ethical evaluation regarding ehcmical abortion by indicating that the tactical change in terminology does not alter the moral substance of actions, and that it seems abusive to call fertility control what ini reality is evicting a human being from the uterus. Baulieu, in a very typical way that demonstrates the strategy of insulting and scorning thsoe who dissent with his opinions, rebuffed Godefroid who had used a "designed language, due to a profoundly unscientific semantic manipulatin in order to provoke an a prior rejection of the facts and ideas implied in the idea of contragestion." There is a Spanish saying that goes like this: "The frying pan said to the pot, Move over, you're dirtying me." No comment.

The Banalization of Abortion

Bibliography: Crowley Jr., W.F., Progesterone antagonims. Science and Society. New England Journal of Medicine 1986;315:1607-8. Herranz, G., El respeto, actitud etica fundamental de la Medicina. Pamplona, Universidad de Navarra, 1985: 29.

32. Some years ago, in 1985, Herranz described in these words the danger of banalizing abortion which the use of RU-486 entails:

"The significance of this type of abortion is extremely important. It will establish as an admitted social fact that the human embryo is a mere product of debris. Not only is the embryo made into a thing, stripping it of all its human value; it is reduced to the negative condition of an excrement. In the same way that a laxative is capable off reeing asluggish colon of its fecal content, the new pill will enable the gestating uterus to free itself from the embryo growing in it. Disconnected from the mother through a clean mechanism of molecular competition between anti-hormoens and hormones, and catapulted toward the network of sewage systems thorugh the action of specific stimulators of the yterine myosins, the embryo ends its existence in an unspectacular fashion. The transmission of human life, man's cupreme capacity to co-create men, that sharing in God's creative power, will be converted into a function of the same physiological, psychological and moral level as micturition or defecation.

Harassment of the Pro-Life Mentality

Bibliography: Anonymous. French abortion pill reinstated. Lancet 1988;2:1153. Anonyumous. Mifepristone. Widening the choice for women. Ibid. 1989;2:1112-3. Coles, P. Volte-face on controversial French abortion pill. Nature 1988;2336;4. Corcos, M. RU-486: use mise a disposition graduee. Presse Med 1989; 18:38. Dorozynski, A. Tempest in a pill box. British Medical Journal 1988;297:1291-2. Dorozynski, A. Abortion at home. Ibid. 1989;299:222-3.

33. All attempts to enlighten the public's conscience from a Christian perspective, to clarify RU-486's characteristics and mode of action and to denounce the manipulation of "contragestive" language will be violently rejected by the scientific "estblishment" and the very powerful family planning organizations. Whoever speaks out publicly against RU-486 will inevitably be insulted and reduced to silence. In the scientific press, both in its sections containing news and comments and in research articles, the attitude of moral denouncement of RU0486 is rejected after having been qualified as an "aggressive threat, a manifestation of fanaticism," of a backward mentality that "tries to intimidate researchers not to explored the myriad of potential medical uses of the product" and that threatens to boycott Roussel Uclaf and the powerful Hoechst so tha they will stop producing RU-486, while the 1,000 gynecologists at the Rio de Janeiro congress are parised who threatened to boycott the same companies if theyw ere to stop producing RU-486. It is said that the opponents of RU-486 use calumny and anonymous threats against the employees of Roussel Uclaf Co. and their families, an action that has been condemned as "scandalous and cowardly" by Claude Evian (French minister of health).

34. In contrast, there is constant praise for Baulieu's moral courage and the directives of Roussel Uclaf to risk their serenity in order to offer all the women of the world an advanced and safe procedure for abortin without anyr isks to their health and of unlimited beneficial capacity. For this mentality, no moral problem at all exists regarding abortion. The ethical irrelevancy of theembryo is considered definitively resolved, which has a moral rank no different form that of an intestinal parasite or a tissue that is disposed of. All the ethical motivation of the promoters is reduced to offering one more possibility so that women may have access to as many options as possible, to icnrease the safety and minimize the risks inherent in abortion and to alleviate its psychological trauma. In fact, the protests against RU-486 are disqualified morally because of the conscience-raising efect they may have on women. As Baulieu stated:

"Every termination of pregnancy is a 'traumatic experience.' But it will be even more traumatic due to the irrational and emotionallly overcharged debate surrounding it. I hve proposed the term *contragestion* not to try to hide the real function of RU-486, but rather to avoid the fears and mental inhibitions that a charged terminology has introduced sytematically."

35. Baulieu has clearly stated: "My intent is to eliminate the word *abortion* because that word is as traumatic as the fact itself of abortion." But words are the representation of ideas. Fundamentally, the ideological plan that underlies the social establishment of pharmacological abortion is to end the very notion of abortion. The midterm objective is that it not be spoken of, tht in order to name it, new, innocent words be used without any moral resonance. Those new, innocent words will have taken the guilt from abortion, they will have made it morally neutral. The medical appearance will change it subjectively into an action that promotes health. In a short time, the regular use of the contragestive pill will have banalized abortion, which will become, individually and eollectively, under the influence of propaganda, a virtuous act of civility, of demographic and socio-familial responsibility. In this way the process is complete which J. Pieper had assigned to the manipulation of moral language. Pieper said, "Why should not some diabolical linguistic laws exist in a de-Christianized world in which what is good in that language may appear to man as something ridiculous?" Now those same laws make a crime appear as something praiseworthy, the death of the innocent as an act of contragestive courage.

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