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Abortion By RU486

Dangers inherent in this method of abortion are evident in precautions used in other countries, for example France. The Food and Drug Administration based its 1996 finding that drug-induced abortion using mifepristone and misoprostol (“M/M”) was “safe and effective” on results involving a subgroup of women (1,681) in French trials. M/M abortions in France are performed at government-operated hospitals and clinics, typically with or adjacent to emergency room facilities. Women are screened for numerous medical conditions that rule out use of the two drugs. Ultrasound is used to determine gestational age and to rule out tubal pregnancy.

After women are given prostaglandin (e.g., misoprostol), they are monitored on site for approximately four hours so that allergic reactions, cardiopulmonary “events,” hemorrhaging and the like can be treated promptly before they become life-threatening. A 1990 directive jointly signed by the French Republic’s Director General of Health, Director of Hospitals and Director of Pharmacy and Medication, states that whenever prostaglandins are given “in association with RU 486” the “following technical conditions … are indispensable and are to be followed: … b) The doctor must ensure that diagnostic instruments and machines are close by, such as electrocardiogram equipment and particularly resuscitative cardiopulmonary equipment (including nitrous oxide and injectable calcium antagonists and a fibrillator). … c) [C]linical observations and blood-pressure readings every half hour are indispensable for several hours following the administration of these drugs. d) Whenever there is chest pain, an electrocardiogram should be taken on the suspicion of rhythm troubles and in case of significant lowering of blood pressure” (“Letter”).

In Sweden, women are “supervised by the midwife for 4 to 6 hours at the outpatient clinic” (Bygdeman).

In China “the emphasis on close medical supervision is well accepted. … It is stressed that misoprostol should be taken in the clinic and followed by several hours of observation” (Wu). The long observation is one reason that staffs in some large hospitals in China are growing reluctant to prescribe the drug combination: “The number of medical abortions has decreased recently in some of the large hospitals. The staffs were too busy to handle the procedure (more counseling, more visits, and observation), and they also have to manage the referred cases with serious side effects and complications” (Wu 199).

Searle, which manufactures misoprostol under the brand name Cytotec, has consistently opposed the use of Cytotec for labor induction and for

Euthanasia Essay: Moral Considerations in the Debate

Moral Considerations in the Euthanasia Debate

The Judeo-Christian moral tradition celebrates life as the gift of a loving God, and respects the life of each human being because each is made in the image and likeness of God. As Christians we also believe we are redeemed by Christ and called to share eternal life with Him. Our Church views life as a sacred trust, a gift over which we are given stewardship and not absolute dominion. The Church thus opposes all direct attacks on innocent life. As conscientious stewards we have a duty to preserve life, while recognizing certain limits to that duty:

Because human life is the foundation for all other human goods, it has a special value and significance. Life is “the first right of the human person” and “the condition of all the others.”[1]

All crimes against life, including “euthanasia or willful suicide,” must be opposed.[2] Euthanasia is “an action or an omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated.” Its terms of reference are to be found “in the intention of the will and in the methods used.”[3] Thus defined, euthanasia is an attack on life which no one has a right to make or request, and which no government or other human authority can legitimately recommend or permit. Although individual guilt may be reduced or absent because of suffering or emotional factors that cloud the conscience, this does not change the objective wrongfulness of the act. It should also be recognized that an apparent plea for death may really be a plea for help and love.

Suffering is a fact of human life, and has special significance for the Christian as an opportunity to share in Christ’s redemptive suffering. Nevertheless there is nothing wrong in trying to relieve someone’s suffering; in fact it is a positive good to do so, as long as one does not intentionally cause death or interfere with other moral and religious duties.[4]

Everyone has the duty to care for his or her own life and health and to seek necessary medical care from others, but this does not mean that all possible remedies must be used in all circumstances. One is not obliged to use either “extraordinary” means or “disproportionate” means of preserving life — that is, means which are understood as offering no reasonable hope of benefit or as involving excessive burdens.

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