The Reality of RU-486

Originally posted at:


Today marks the 48th observance of legalized abortion in the United States. In 1973, two Supreme Court cases, Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, were used by the Supreme Court to declare that the Constitution included the right for women to abort their children throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

This is the 23rd time I will, as the leader of Anglicans for Life, acknowledge this historical day and weep for the 62 million children who never got to fulfill their God-given purpose, because their lives were ended by abortion, including the life of my own child.

This is a dark day in our country’s history.  Yet, while I was tempted to write about the role of violence in a world that has lost upwards of a billion children to abortion from 1921 through 2015—violence truly does beget violence–I instead thought about a conversation I recently had about a growing, disturbing trend in abortion in America.  So, today seemed like a good time to discuss the rapid rise in the use of RU-486 to cause an abortion.

What is RU-486? According to Wikipedia, “Mifepristone, also known as RU-486, is a medication typically used in combination with misoprostol to bring about an abortion during pregnancy. This combination is 97% effective during the first 63 days of pregnancy. It is taken by mouth and common side effects include abdominal pain, feeling tired, and vaginal bleeding. Serious side effects may include heavy vaginal bleeding, bacterial infection, and birth defects if the pregnancy does not end. If used, appropriate follow up care needs to be available. Mifepristone is an antiprogestogen. It works by blocking the effects of progesterone, making the cervix easier to open, and promoting contraction of the uterus when exposed to misoprostol.”

It is referred to as a “medical abortion” by abortion clinics, because it sounds better, but it really should be called a chemical abortion process, based on the definition above.  It was approved in 2000 by the FDA to be used up to seven weeks of pregnancy, but then they expanded it to nine weeks, as that is how the abortion providers use it. (Recently, AFL had a woman contact us who was almost 10 weeks pregnant.  She took the pills, but they weren’t effective, so she had to go in and have a regular abortion procedure.)

RU-486, or chemical abortions, now account for just over 40% of all abortions done in the United States. This growing trend means people need to understand what this new type of abortion is all about and, most importantly, how it impacts the women who have them. Chances are, most people under the age of 30 will know someone who has gone through this procedure.

Here are some of the realities that abortion recovery leaders have recently discussed, in relation to what they are seeing with women who have taken RU-486.

  1. The most common question asked by people calling into the hotlines is, “What do I do with the remains of the baby?”  Planned Parenthood often tells them to flush, so they don’t see what comes out of their body.  But if they look, they will see the remains of the baby (fetus) floating in the toilet. We recognize that each state legislates how someone is to discard human remains – but in this instance there is no birth certificate, so there is no death certificate, and thus no absolute rules concerning the disposal of the remains. This ministry is creating miniature caskets to provide a dignified way to bury the baby. Some funeral homes will try and help, depending on the age of the baby. Here at AFL, we have had at least six phone calls in the last four years seeking counsel on this topic.
  2. Women are purchasing the pills online, which is basically the black-market. No one knows what is in these pills, nor where they are being manufactured. Limited instructions come with the package, so women are left to figure it out alone. These women often end up in the emergency room of local hospitals, where no one is trained in discerning RU-486 complications or asking appropriate questions to diagnose real or potential problems.
  3. RU-486 is available to many around the world, so women worldwide need to understand the reality of this type of abortion process. Because of its online availability, abortions are even occurring in countries where abortion is illegal – and, once again, hospitals are not prepared for emergencies related to them.
  4. From the moment a woman takes the abortion pill, she has about 72 hours to change her mind and save her baby. The Abortion Pill Rescue Network, operated through Option Line’s 24/7 contact center, answers more than 150 crisis calls a month from women who regret their abortion decision. Statistics show that more than 2,000 lives have been saved through the abortion pill reversal protocol! The Abortion Pill Reversal is effective about 60% of the time.
  5. Women express having conflicted emotions after having a chemical abortion, as they themselves have taken the pills and thus feel more responsible than if the procedure had been done to them.  Also, they are often not informed about the development of the baby, the intensity of pain, or that the pill’s effects can be reversed within the first 72 hours.
  6. The impact of RU-486 on the father of the baby is often more intense. Men’s healing programs report that men often come to them very angry.  Sometimes their anger is directed at the woman, because she is the abortionist, sometimes at themselves for not being there for her, and sometimes for not stopping it. The father becomes the third victim.
  7. Because of the physical pain and seeing the baby amongst the uterine contents, RU-486 abortions create an intensified level of trauma.  Because the event usually happens at home or other familiar place, common activities, such as flushing the toilet or sitting in the bathtub, that are done after the abortion in the same location can trigger women’s trauma. Also, in an abortion, the abrupt ending of the pregnancy doesn’t instantly reset hormone levels, which can also feed into the emotional trauma and inability to process the loss. This leads women to become stuck in pain and, and they often don’t know where to go for help or that help is even available.

At the end of our conversation, all I could think is that, once again, women have been exploited by the abortion industry. They do not provide counsel or adequate information about RU-486, choosing instead to downplay the reality, making it seem like this type of abortion is a non-event, leaving women caught off guard by the very real emotional, physical, and spiritual problems associated with this type of abortion.

However, despite the real and terrible suffering caused by RU-486, not the least of which being the deaths of innocent children, there is still reason to hope.  For one, there are abortion recovery leaders who are working to understand the impact of this new abortion trend and to help those who are hurting.  I am so grateful for the compassionate people providing abortion after-care in organizations nationwide.   But you too can help those struggling with past abortions.  Please learn about the abortion recovery programs in your area, so you can refer anyone who is hurting after an abortion to local help resources. Check out and for more information.

I pray that I won’t have to acknowledge this anniversary for a 24th time.  But I know that, if I do, that God’s people are out there supporting and loving the broken and directing them to the only thing that can truly heal the wounds of abortion—our loving Savior, Jesus. 

by Deacon Georgette Forney, President of Anglicans for Life

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