One of President Clinton's first actions in office was to sign an executive order reversing the ban on research involving RU-486, the abortion pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration in late September. How fitting that, in the waning days of Clinton's administration, RU-486 (now available under the brand name Mifepristone) will become available for women who prefer this most private form of abortion. Can the soft-focus tv ads be far behind, in which a young woman says she and her husband hope to have a few children, someday, but meanwhile they're happy with their Jack Russell terrier and dreams of a vacation for two in Paris?

This is what Mifepristone offers: slow death to thousands of developing babies who would otherwise attach to the walls of their mothers' wombs and grow there until they are born.

We are completing this issue of CT amid hotly contested results in the presidential election, and those results could dramatically affect the RU-486 debate. Should he win, George W. Bush would have a poignant opportunity to signal a new respect for the sanctity of life. In the America of a President Gore, meanwhile, RU-486 would be here to stay. That much is clear.

Regardless of any action by the newly elected President, however, the prolife movement will not only endure but find new ways to wage the important campaign for Americans' hearts and minds.

New Republic columnist Andrew Sullivan voices his feeling that RU-486 could actually help the prolife cause: "By making early abortion easier and more private, RU-486 would also subtly increase the social stigma of late abortions—paving the way perhaps for legislation making third-trimester abortions more difficult to get or even illegal altogether." We are not certain that ...

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