NC Senate candidate and 3rd-string Jesse Helms wannabe Nate Tabor still doesn't get the difference between an honest policy discussion and demagoguery. Today's opportunity to cherry-pick the facts and practice the politics of fear is provided by the North Carolina Conservative, where Tabor is found trying to make hay over the safety of the abortion drug, RU-486 (which is not the same thing as the morning after pill). At the heart of the polemic is the fact that the drug has been linked to several deaths (different sources vary, but the number is somewhere between 5 and 10).
Here's what Tabor won't tell you: 99.978% of women who have used RU-486 have had no reaction at all. By way of comparison, five men die from bad reactions to Viagra for every 100,000 prescriptions written. While patients undergoing tonsillectomy are twice as likely to die as women undergoing legal abortion, the death rate for illegal abortions is greater than 1 in 1,000, or considerably more than 100 times greater than for RU-486. (Source, PDF). If the absolute-safety standard that it seems Tabor is proposing were applied honestly and fairly across all medications, you could pretty much empty your parents' and grandparents' medicine drawer into the trash.
But of course, that standard is not meant to be applied honestly and fairly. It is an extreme standard reserved for women brazen enough to make their own reproductive decisions. This kind of bid to restrict a woman's health choices is immoral, and it is un-American. We should be talking about how to keep all prescription drug users safe, but Tabor's selective use of the facts is simply wrong, and it undermines the discussion.