Policy Matters #3

Understanding Medical Abortion: Policy, Politics, and Women’s Healthco-authored by S. Marie Harvey (Director of CSWS’s Research Program on Women’s Health), Christy A. Sherman, Sheryl Thorburn Bird, and Jocelyn Warren, softbound, 66 pp. Eugene, OR: Center for the Study of Women in Society, 2002.

Policy Matters is a series of papers dedicated to social policy issues. When mifepristone (RU-486) was approved by the FDA in September 2000 for medical abortion, many in the pro- choice movement hoped that it would improve access to abortion by increasing the numbers of providers and making abortion services more widely available in underserved areas. However, medical abortion has not yet fulfilled these hopes. In Understanding Medical Abortion, the authors review the short history of mifepristone in this country, as well as the history of methotrexate, another drug used in medical abortion; explain the medical regimens involved in both mifepristone and methotrexate abortions as supported by research and practice; examine the legal and political barriers to medical abortion access and provision in the U.S., and make recommendations to overcome these barriers.

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