Fifteen years: looking back and looking forward
- July 2nd, 2015
- Staff Publication
- Medical Abortion
- Winikoff, Beverly, Westhoff, C.
This September marks the fifteenth anniversary of the approval of the sale of mifepristone for medical abortion in the United States. While women in France have had legal access to mifepristone since 1988, it took the United States somewhat longer to approve the drug. In the late ‘90s, the Population Council took on the responsibility of shepherding mifepristone through the FDA approval process in the United States. Though the approval process was a lengthy one, Mifepristone was finally approved in the year 2000. Initially, predictions about the impact of mifepristone were both dire and ecstatic: women would run rampant, having more abortions than ever, boyfriends would slip mifepristone into their girlfriends’ tea, abortion would become simple and easy, women would have access to abortion without any medical interference, and the politics of abortion would soften. While few of these predictions have come true, medical abortion has made a profound change in both the experience of abortion and the landscape of abortion provision.