Everything You Need to Know About the Abortion Pill
By Rose Minutaglio
Nov 22, 2019
For Nicole, taking the abortion pill was like getting through "an extremely painful poop." It hurt, a lot, and then it was done. She was bartending at the time, lightyears away from thinking about motherhood, and decided on medication abortion. At $585, it was cheaper than a surgical abortion. Plus, Nicole wanted do it in the privacy of her own home. Two pills, four days, and several pairs of bloody underwear later ("it was basically like an extra heavy period for a week," she says), she went back to work at the bar.
Medication abortion or the "abortion pill" is a legal way to end a pregnancy—one that women like Nicole increasingly prefer over surgical abortion for a variety of reasons. It now accounts for more than one-third of all clinic abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Anti-Choice Activists Fighting a Losing Battle Against Medication Abortion
Medication abortion is a gamechanger for pregnant people, particularly when other forms of abortion are difficult to access or even unavailable.
Oct 1, 2019
Carole Joffe & David S. Cohen
With the recent news that almost 40 percent of the abortions in this country in 2017 were by pill rather than surgical procedure, now is a great time to appreciate the seemingly unstoppable revolution this medical advance has brought about.
Abortion providers all over the country have witnessed this revolution firsthand. As the director of a network of clinics in a large Western state told us, “We’re doing medication abortions with nurse practitioners all over the state, and it’s particularly important in the mountains.” She explained that before medication abortion, in a particularly remote area, “if the doc was there on Tuesday and you came in on Wednesday, you had to wait another week or two.” This pushed some patients too late in pregnancy to have an abortion. But now, patients in the region “can come in on the day the nurse practitioner is there, which is almost every day, and be taken care of.”
Restrictions On Abortion Medication Deserve A Second Look, Says A Former FDA Head
August 20, 2019
Mifepristone is one of a regimen of two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to end an early pregnancy. It's also prescribed to help reduce the severity of miscarriage symptoms. But it is heavily regulated in ways that can make it hard for women to obtain. Along with its approval in 2000, the FDA restricted its use because of safety concerns.
In a perspective article published this summer in the New England Journal of Medicine, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Jane Henney and co-author Dr. Helene Gayle argue that the agency should reevaluate whether such measures are still necessary and take into consideration recent studies that show mifepristone is both effective and safe.
Prosecution of Unauthorized Abortion Pill Websites Begins
Ursula Wing sold abortion drugs to U.S. customers and is now charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Elizabeth Nolan Brown
The first wave of prosecutions of abortion pill sellers is upon us. A federal court last week arraigned pill purveyor Ursula Wing on charges of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Wing, who lives in New York, is accused of running a website that sold foreign-sourced pharmaceuticals to U.S. customers. The drugs Wing supposedly sold—mifepristone and misoprostol—can be taken in a two-step process to induce an abortion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved this pill regimen for prescription use, under the brand name Mifeprex.
America’s first generic abortion pill, explained
The introduction of a generic abortion medication could mean lower costs for patients, but barriers to access remain.
By Anna North
Aug 20, 2019
In 2000, a new method of abortion became available in America: an oral medication called mifepristone.
Previously, the procedure in the early stages of pregnancy often involved emptying the uterus by suction. But taken with another medication called misoprostol, mifepristone can end a pregnancy in the first 10 weeks without the need for an in-clinic procedure. Patients can go through much of the process in whatever setting they like, with whomever they like — or alone.
An Update on Abortion Pills From the World Health Organization Undermines How the U.S. Regulates Them
The update may make mifepristone and misoprostol more readily available worldwide. But in the U.S., not much is expected to change.
Jul 15, 2019
Abortion pills should be widely available and affordable, and don't need to be dispensed by highly trained specialists or in specialty facilities, according to a World Health Organization update published last week.
Abortions induced by taking pills are the safest type available. The recommended regimen is two pills, containing the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. The pills work best on early stage pregnancies, around 10 weeks' gestation or less. The WHO has considered mifepristone and misoprostol "essential medicines" since 2005, but in the recent update, WHO experts decided that they had enough scientific evidence to strike the caveat saying the medications require "close medical supervision."
FDA Restrictions On Abortion Pills Need To Go, According To Dozens Of Doctors & Advocates
By Madhuri Sathish
July 1, 2019
Last year, a doctor who performs remote, online consultations for pregnant people seeking abortions in other countries launched a new service called Aid Access, to ship abortion pills to Americans. Several months later, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Aid Access to stop supplying abortion pills to Americans, prompting reproductive rights advocates to write an open letter arguing that FDA restrictions on abortion pills need to go.
The letter, which was published on July 1, was signed by 75 reproductive rights advocacy groups, legal experts, and health care providers, all of whom insisted that medication abortions have a strong record of being both safe and effective. The letter also urged the FDA to make decisions about medication abortion access based on science, rather than politics.
The Challenges of Innovating Access to Abortion
By Sue Halpern
Mar 6, 2019
A year ago, when Kanuʻuhiwa Thomas, a twenty-four-year-old who lives in Hawaii, found out that she was two weeks pregnant, she decided to terminate the pregnancy. (Kanuʻuhiwa Thomas is an alias.) “I don’t have any type of support system,” Thomas told me. “I’m still trying to finish my schooling, which is really important to me because a lot of girls here don’t finish their education—they just get pregnant and maybe get married and have kids and have to live off the system. I’m just kind of adamant about making sure I can take care of a child before I have one.”
Hawaii has one of the most liberal abortion policies in the country, but, like many rural and geographically expansive states, services are hard to come by.
States Flout Abortion Coverage Requirements, Federal Investigators Say
By Robert Pear
Feb. 17, 2019
WASHINGTON — Federal health officials are not enforcing requirements for Medicaid coverage of abortion in the limited circumstances where it is legal, congressional investigators have found.
At least 13 states are flouting a requirement to cover abortion-inducing pills, and one state, South Dakota, has for 25 years failed to provide the required coverage for abortion in cases of rape or incest, the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, said in a report made public this month.
Half Of Reproductive-Age Women Want Easier Access To Abortion Pills, Study Finds
The survey shows many women want the two medications to be available over the counter or online. Nearly half want doctors to provide the pills in advance.
By Catherine Pearson, HuffPost US
Nov 15 2018
A new national survey released Thursday shows substantial support for greater access to medication abortion among women in America.
Currently, a woman who wants to take the abortion pill — actually a combination of two drugs — must go to a medical facility where she takes the first medicine, mifepristone, in front of a clinician, and the second, misoprostol, at home some hours or days later.