In September of 2000, after more than a decade of delays caused by anti-choice activists and lawmakers, mifepristone (RU 486), received final approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Mifepristone has been available to women in Europe for over a decade. It has been shown to be a safe and effective alternative to surgical abortion following extensive clinical trials in France, Great Britain, and Sweden. But prior to 2000, this important reproductive health option had been unavailable to women in the U.S., largely due to anti-choice politics.
Mifepristone offers women an early, safe, and effective medical alternative to surgical abortion. Under the current FDA-approved regimen it is administered by a woman's doctor and requires several visits to a clinic or doctor's office. The drug also holds promise for the treatment of other health conditions such as breast cancer, endometriosis, and Cushing's disease.
Anti-choice lawmakers are now moving to block access to this drug. At the federal and state levels, lawmakers have proposed legislation designed to curtail the availability of mifepristone and limit the number of doctors who can prescribe it. Such legislation would effectively destroy the promise of this important medical advancement.