RU-486 used in 20% of U.S. terminations

Sept. 28, 2010 at 7:23 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The abortion pill mifepristone, previously known as RU-486, is used in 20 percent of U.S. pregnancy terminations, researchers say.

However, when mifepristone was approved and put on the market 10 years ago, it was expected to change the way abortions were obtained in the United States, USA Today reports.

"We haven't seen as much expansion in terms of where one can obtain it as we thought we might," Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research at the Guttmacher Institute, a New York non-profit focused on sexual and reproductive health, tells USA Today.

"Mifepristone has not brought a major improvement in the geographic availability of abortion."

The Abortion Access Project says 97 percent of non-metropolitan U.S. counties have no abortion provider, Finer says.

Danco Laboratories, which markets RU-486 as Mifeprex, says more than 1.2 million U.S. women have used Mifeprex to terminate a pregnancy by blocking the hormone progesterone -- needed to continue a pregnancy. After swallowing three Mifeprex pills in their healthcare provider's office, women return two days later to take two tablets of misoprostol.

However, up to 8 percent of women who take the pills, still need to get a surgical abortion.

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