Now that we’ve got the pills, why do we need the knife?

Let's all agree for a moment that a woman should have a right to choose whether to keep a baby she is pregnant with or not. She's the master of her body, and oftentimes, the master of her universe, since men are not as literally tied to the burden of raising children and often leave. The question is: How many choices does she need to end that pregnancy?            

Since the Food and Drug Administration approved the controversial abortion pill RU-486 in 2000, it is available through doctors. The `morning after' pill is available to students, such as those who visit UAA's Student Health Center. So, is abortion really even necessary anymore? It may be getting harder and harder to prove that the invasive procedure in which a fetus is removed surgically, is still necessary.

Student support for abortion started going down years ago. It is now down 14 percent from a decade ago; just 51 percent of college freshmen nationwide believe abortion should be legal, according to a survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Planned Parenthood would like us to believe that abortion is an important right. They go further than that, though. They say it cuts the crime rate. On its web page (), the organization reports on a University of Chicago study that claims up to half the fall in U.S. crime rates is due to abortions for teenagers, the poor and women from minority communities. The study also says that the pool of young potential "troublemakers" now reaching adulthood has been reduced. It's pretty easy to make a case for this. The problem with this flawed study is that it sentences children before they are born due to their class and race.

Abortion increases the risk of ectopic or tubal pregnancy by 50 percent, with an even greater risk among women who have had more than one previous abortion, according to the American Journal of Public Health. Infertility and other problems can later surface due to problems with infection. But, of course, terminating the pregnancy is the topic at the forefront of those considering it—not getting pregnant later.

On September 28, 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale of RU-486 (mifepristone) to end pregnancies up to 49 days after the beginning of the last menstrual period. RU 486, an artificial steroid, is a chemical compound that, taken in pill form, can induce abortion in women up to nine weeks pregnant.

Nine weeks. Do we need to abort surgically after that point?

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A form of `emergency contraception' – the morning-after pill – is a high dosage of the birth control pill. It is recommended to be used after sexual intercourse, over a period of 72 hours, to achieve the goal of preventing or ending pregnancy.

Seventy-two hours. It's been used thousands of times over the years to keep women from maintaining a pregnant that may have occurred due to rape.

What are the two most common reasons that people approve of ending a pregnancy? Sexual assault or having your condom break. You acted responsibly, but the odds came out against you anyway.

Currently, President George W. Bush is doing his best to end surgical abortions, as many predicted he would. Should we fight him on this issue or should fight for the right to keep having surgical abortions, where the risks to their health and future family life are so high?

With the current morning after and the recently-released RU-486, why would we?