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If The FDA Approves Mifepristone…What Happens Next? Will Doctors Provide It? Will Women Want It? And, What Effect Will it Have on Abortion Politics?

For almost 20 years, women's health advocates have been pushing for U.S. approval of mifepristone (also known as “RU-486”), a non-surgical abortion method that European women have used for a decade. Now that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seems poised to give the final go-ahead, the big question is: So what happens next? Will mifepristone make abortion more “private,” allowing women and doctors to avoid the threats and protests that have plagued many clinics? Will it motivate more health care providers to offer abortion services, thus making the procedure more accessible? And will women choose it when given the option?

A panel of experts, including Sandra Arnold, Vice President for Corporate Affairs at the Population Council; Eric Schaff, MD, University of Rochester School of Medicine; Carole Joffe, PhD, University of California at Davis, Department of Sociology; and Wendy Chavkin, MD, MPH, Columbia University School of Public Health, and Editor, Journal of the American Medical Women's Association discussed at an Emerging Issues in Reproductive Health Briefing how women and health care providers will respond to mifepristone, the realities of providing medical abortions, and the likely impact that mifepristone will have on abortion practice and politics.

Recently released national survey data of ob/gyns and family practice physicians was discussed.

Briefing Resources: