New York: Medication abortions in the United States usually involve two different drugs.
In the latest effort to limit abortion access, opponents of the procedure are seeking to ban one of those medications. If they succeed, only one of the pills would be available, but women would still be able to get abortions.
In November, an anti-abortion group filed a federal lawsuit in Texas seeking to ban mifepristone, claiming the FDA approved the drug 23 years ago without adequate evidence of safety. A federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump could rule as early as Friday. If he sides with abortion opponents, access to mifepristone could be halted nationwide.
The Food and Drug Administration regimen for medication abortions involves two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol. The drugs can be taken at home and are used in just over half of U.S. abortions. Typically, mifepristone is taken by mouth first, followed by misoprostol a day or two later.
Studies show medication abortions are safe and effective, though with a slightly lower success rate than ones done by procedure in a clinic.
Mifepristone was developed in France in the 1980s as an abortion drug to be used with misoprostol. The FDA approved it in 2000. Misoprostol, which is made by several companies, is approved for treating gastric ulcers. It’s sometimes used in miscarriages to help expel tissue, in addition to its use in abortions.
In countries where mifepristone is banned for abortions, misoprostol alone is often used instead. Some U.S. clinics and telehealth providers also offer misoprostol-only abortions.