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June 27, 2007

I Was Betrayed by a Pill

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Of course, these are all good steps toward safeguarding women's health. But you know what else would help? If doctors and clinic staff dispelled the misconception many women have that the "early option" is an easy option. In all fairness, my postabortion experience was, according to several gynecologists, more severe than most. It's entirely possible that the aftershocks I suffered were magnified by grief as well as guilt that I'd brought this on myself. But was it the abortion pill that magnified my grief and guilt over ending the pregnancy or the grief and guilt that magnified my reaction to the abortion pill? There's no way to really know.

To date, about 650,000 women in the U.S. have used the abortion pill, and I'm sure many more will, since the medical literature is filled with reports of satisfied customers. And yet, the questions about what role (if any) the abortion pill played in those fatal infections underscores why it's important to keep surgical abortion accessible.

One gynecologist I talked to not long ago confided that she'd absolutely choose surgical abortion over a medical one, because even without the specter of septic shock, the abortion pill can be, as she put it, "a real ordeal." "We could have told you it wasn't going to be easy," a clinic staffer noted when I rattled off my complaints during my follow-up.

Why didn't she speak up sooner?

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