The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 17, 1995 · Page 10
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 10

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 17, 1995
Page 10
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A10 Wednesday, May 17,1995 The Salina Journal, Abortion pill controversial even for takers For many, test pill is no easy answer to unwanted pregnancy By ROGER MUNNS Th» Asiociated Prass DES MOINES, Iowa — Nobody but her boyfriend knows Gretchen has come to the Planned Parenthood clinic today. Her parents wouldn't understand. Neither would her friends on campus, where her conservative and pro-life views are well known. An ultrasound procedure shows she's 54 days along in a pregnancy she doesn't want, and she is doing just the opposite of what she advised others in similar positions. She is having an abortion. But no doctor will put an instrument in her body. Gretchen is among 2,100 women at a dozen clinics who are taking part in a test of the "abortion pill," mifepristone, also known by its brand name RU-486. The Population Council, which is conducting the test, will make its recommendations to the Food and Drug Administration early next year. The report will discuss the pill, its side effects and its efficacy. But it will not tell the stories of Gretchen, Anne or Gwen, of how they came to this clinic and why they opted for mifepristone. Gretchen's judgment "I was very pro-life," said Gretchen. "If you're not mature enough to have a child, then give it up for adoption" was her message. But it's different now. She knows she could not give up the child if she carried the pregnancy to term. And a baby now in her life is unthinkable. She's an overachiever, carrying an accelerated classload and working 25 hours a week in a pizza joint. She's pretty, athletic and at 21, she's focused on the future. "I've never been in a predicament like this before," she said. "It's easy to judge something when it doesn't happen to you." She chose an abortion, but not the surgical kind, which scares her. She agreed to be a mifepris- tone research subject. Mifepristone counteracts progesterone, causing the uterus to let go of the fetal tissue. Taken alone, it will cause a miscarriage 60 percent to 80 percent of the time. Two days later, the woman returns to the clinic and takes misoprostol, which causes uterine contractions. Within four hours, which must be spent at the clinic, the fetal tissue will pass in all but a percent or two of cases, in which surgery completes the abortion. Two weeks later, the woman must return to the clinic for an ultrasound to confirm the abortion. Adoptive dad, mom want end to death threats By Th« Associated Press CHICAGO — Baby Richard's adoptive parents appealed Monday for an end to death threats against his biological parents, the couple they fought in court for four years. "Richard's emotional and physical well-being have always been our primary concern," Robert and Kimberly Warburton said. "He was raised in an environment where violence and vengeance are not condoned and are not believed to be the solution. Thank you for considering our thoughts and feelings in this matter." The Warburtons, reluctantly bowing to an Illinois Supreme Court order, relinquished custody of the 4-year-old boy to biological parents Otakar and Daniela Kirchner on April 30. Attorney Loren Heinemann, who represents the Kirchners, says they have received death threats as a result of their insistence on taking custody of the boy. The abortion pill Facts on mifepristone 150,000 women in Europe have taken the drug. 2,100 U.S. women will take part in 12 clinics. The six known ones are Planned Parenthood clinics in Des Moines; Willston, Vt.; Cambridge, Mass: Aurora, Colo.; Houston and San Diego. Others have not been announced. •Advantages over surgical abortion: requires no invasive procedures; can be used in earliest weeks of pregnancy; requires no anesthesia, no known side effects. Disadvantages: requires more office visits; mild to moderate cramping pain. , •Procedure: After counseling and a physical exam to make sure the woman is in first weeks of pregnancy, the woman takes three pills, each 200mg, of mifepristone. Two days later, she takes 400mg of a cramping drug, then waits in the clinic until the fetal tissue is expelled, usually within four hours. A third visit is required 12 days later to ensure the abortion is complete. l Outlook: The Population Council will make its recommendations by early 1996, followed by FDA review. If government approves use, some pro-choice advocates say it will make abortions more available. Others doubt the impact, since the drug amounts to monitoring a miscarriage, which many doctors are unwilling to do. Anti-abortion advocates oppose the use of the drug, saying there is no meaningful distinction between surgical and medical abortions. Jill June, the clinic director, said mifepristone requires so much medical supervision that it holds little hope for women to make the abortion choice alone. The procedure is not for everybody, said clinic spokeswoman Deb Steilen. There is pain and bleeding, and it takes more time than a surgical abortion. "It's not pleasant and it's not quick. But most are reporting a positive experience, they describe it as more natural." My body's doing work Fearing she was pregnant, Gwen, a 22-year-old cosmetologist, went to a pro-life organization in a town about an hour away from Des Moines, seeking a pregnancy test. "I didn't know at the time that I could get the same thing at Wal-Mart," she said. "They made me watch a video about abortions; it was awful, it showed almost-babies or limbs being aborted. Then there was a lady on there who said she had an abortion and it ruined her life," Gwen said. She left and came to Planned Parenthood. She wants children but she's not ready for that commitment now. Only a few weeks pregnant, she, too, agreed to the mifepristone test. An advantage of a medicinal abor- AP tion is that it can be done several weeks sooner in the pregnancy. "Surgery seems so unnatural, like something reaching in there and sucking it out. I felt the pills would be more natural. My body's doing the work, not some tool." Gwen has completed the entire process. After she took the second set of pills, it took more than three hours for the cramps to push out the fetal material. The pain was sharp but not severe. "You know how you feel when you have to go to the bathroom so bad but you have to keep it in?" she asked. She walked out of the clinic at 1:30 p.m., 41/2 hours after she arrived. Later that night, there were pains again, sharp enough for her to call the clinic doctor at home. She took some pain pills, which worked; passed more blood, and then recovered. A dangerous pregnancy Anne is 25. She had her first abortion at age 13 and wishes she hadn't. "My parents forced me into it," she said. "I've still got a place in my heart" for the unborn child. "I carry that with me." She waited until her 20s to start a family and has children aged 4 and 4 months. She reaches into her wallet to show a picture. Congratulations tb the winners of Advice Don't play in the street from MOM contest Wisest Advice: "If you can dream it, you can become it." Gerald Beard, Salina Most Interesting Advice: "Let the people around you know you care - you never know how much time you'll have to share." Sheree Pauley, Gypsum Funniest Advice: "Don't make me a grandmother before I'm a mother-in-law." Dorene Harrington, Salina Thanks to everyone who participated in our Advice From Mom Contest THE CONSOLIDATED STATE BANK - 20 month Certificate of Deposit with 7.23 Annual Percentage Yield - Interest compounded monthly - An early withdrawal penalty will be imposed - Minimum balance of $500 - APY is accurate as of 5-11-95 the CONSOLIDATED STATE BANK HILL CITY, KANSAS 67642 Member PHONE (913) 674-2168 She's at the Planned Parenthood clinic today because she's pregnant again — a failure, she said, of the Norpiant contraceptive. As a nurse's aide, she doesn't have much money. And she's known hardship in relationships; an abusive husband was found slain three years ago. She has not remarried. But these are not the reasons she cites for this abortion. Her doctor said this pregnancy is likely to be troublesome, even dangerous to her, coming so closely on the heels of the Caesarean section birth of her youngest child. But Anne would have risked it if it weren't for mifepristone. After counseling, paperwork, a physical exam, warnings about which pain killers to use and avoid, and instructions on keeping a journal, an abortion doctor gave Anne three mifepristone pills and a paper cup full of water. Anne took the pills, and went to a resting area, where the women are required to stay for 30 minutes to make sure the pills stay down. Two days later, she returned to complete the abortion. Controversy around pill Gretchen's abortion also was uncomplicated — but only medically. She remains torn between her lifelong beliefs and her decision in what she considers a personal emergency. She said she appreciated the controls on mifepristone. The drug should not be available without medical supervision, she said. "Then you'd have abortion as a contraceptive. Too many people would abuse it." The pill has been controversial; anti-abortion forces are working to prevent FDA approval. They say they are worried about its effect on women's health, though their prime concern is preventing abortions. Gwen says it is more important to ensure that children are wanted. "There's no reason to bring a child into the world unless he has a fighting chance," she says. Anne agrees. "I believe it should be the right of everyone to make up their own mind," she said. "God will make the decision" if it's right. MAURE WHEEL Auto - Home Insurance] Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron EMS 9 (•.'!••• _ .. **X<k!?' were there fop SPA BUYERS SAVE $1,000 TO $1,500 ON THE PURCHASE OF YOUR SPA. FOR FREE VIDEO AND PRICE LIST OF 15 MODELS PRICED FROM $1,895 TO $3,995 CALL 1-800-869-0406 Town Center Showcase 2645 "0" LINCOLN 1- 800-869 0406 MAY 14-20, 1995 NATIONAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WEEK SALINA FIRE DEPARTMENT We Deliver News and Value the Salina Journal WEDNESDAY NIGHT SPECIAL EVERY WEDNESDAY 5-9 PM 3 Piece Fried Chicken Dinner $925 Includes tossed salad, soup, or tomato juice, baked potato, french bread, coffee or tea • MARS RESTAURANT 827-3351 Open 7 Days A Week 712 S.Broadway Farmers Insurance Call Us For A Quote • Auto • Home • Life Dick Johnson 714 Plaza Drive Sunset Plaza 913-827-3915 Jimco Charters and Sharlar Tours invite yon to THE NEW THEATER in Overland Park, KS 'IGBys^ and Dolls " August 2nd The Loiigt*»< Running Musical fomrcly Revival in Broadway History .Special $45.0O p.p. FALL BRANSON TOURS Sept. 7th-10th & Oct. 23rd-27th CIHPPLECKEEK*. CQ June 27-28-29 CALL TODAY FOR DETAILS 800-536-2185 feS/ME20 through Sunday! . — —i ^VH f c\^v/x;ivBI^^^^^\-- ^ ^ ^ /Vuw! Mon.-Sat. 10-9 Sun. 12-6

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