College May Offer Abortion Pill

April 27, 2001 12:00 am

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AMES, IA– Iowa State University Student Health officials have not ruled out offering the abortion pill at the campus clinic, but they said no decision will be made in the near future, the Iowa State Daily reported. According to the Daily, if students express interest and ISU health administrators recommend offering Mifeprex, the abortion pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration in September, Iowa State could become one of only a handful of universities to offer the controversial drug, said Marc Shulman, chief of staff at the ISU Student Health Center.

However, that point may be years down the line, he said. “It is being considered as any other medical procedure, … but there’s no time frame on that,” Shulman said. “We will find out more about it and find out if it is even something students would want to be offered here.”

Mifeprex, which can be administered in the first 49 days of pregnancy, causes a woman’s uterus to expel the fetus much like a miscarriage.

Over the past few months, several students have approached student-health officials with questions about the abortion pill, or RU-486.

The drug has been used to terminate pregnancies for more than a decade in Europe.

The wants and needs of students will play a major role in determining whether the drug will be offered at Iowa State, Shulman said. “I think the best thing is to find out if this is what the students want and then see if we can offer it here,” he said. “There are arguments on both sides of it, as would be expected for anything this controversial. … We want you to ask the questions and give you the best answers we can.”

If the Student Health Center has the facilities and capability to offer the drug but decides against it, it is comparable to dictating morals to students, said Nathan Ashmore, president of the ISU chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“I think that Student Health should make available those drugs that have been approved by the FDA for human use,” said Ashmore, junior in materials engineering.

“If [students] choose to have an abortion, they have that right,” he said, “and that right should be made available to them.”

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