We live in the age of the quick fix — of Sparknotes and Advil and microwaves. Perhaps it’s human nature to desire the quickest possible fix to any given problem, but it certainly seems like our society more than ever exalts this idea. All our medicines and beauty treatments promise to be “fast acting” or that we’ll “see a difference in as little as three days.” We want things quickly, perhaps all the more so because we’ve been taught that we can have them.
The abortion pill — a surgery-free way to terminate a pregnancy in the first few weeks of gestation — is thought to be one such quick fix. The problem of unwanted pregnancy is one our culture has been trying to fix for some time, and we want an easy out, a way to make it all go away. Not all quick fixes are bad — even those that treat the symptom rather than the problem can be useful.
But the abortion pill, like many promised-quick-fixes, is actually not the easy out it pretends to be.
Here are three reasons why:
1) Nothing about it is actually quick. In fact the process can take around two weeks. After taking the initial drug you’ll have to wait a few days, maybe even a week, and then insert tablets vaginally — an entirely different medication — to induce labor. (Yes labor — why bother calling it something else when it is literally the uterus contracting to deliver the body?) The delivery of the fetus may take up to a few days.
2) You still have to go to the doctor. Many times in fact. You may be required to get a sonogram prior to taking the pill to make sure there aren’t any complications. Then you have to take the pill during an office visit to a doctor. A week or two later, depending on the medication, you will have to go back for a physical exam to make sure everything worked properly.
3) As always, there are side effects. Cramps, nausea, diarrhea, heavy bleeding, etc. And that’s all assuming nothing goes wrong or gets infected. To top it off, depending on the type of abortion pill taken, there is a 5-10% chance the pill is unsuccessful and will require a surgical abortion procedure to complete.
The name of the procedure itself falsely suggests ease. Many hear “abortion pill” and assume that means you can just pop a pill as soon as you suspect you’re pregnant and walla — no more pregnancy. But for the reasons above and many more, it’s nothing like that.
Most importantly, there is no quick fix for unwanted pregnancy. Nothing can make the fetus cease to exist. Nothing can so eliminate the pregnancy to the point that it never happened. If there is a baby inside a woman, it will come out — dead or live, naturally or forced — but there is no pretending that it was never there.
This is a hard reality to swallow perhaps, but we will live such better lives if we can live in light of the truth instead of grasping at quick fixes and false schemes.