NOW applauds U.S. approval of Mifepristone (RU-486), the "French Abortion Pill."
October 2000

The following is a statement made Sept. 28 by the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women:

NOW-NYC applauds the approval of mifepristone today by the FDA, because we believe it will expand women's access to abortion. Mifepristone approval has come after a 12-year feminist grassroots campaign led by the Feminist Majority Foundation to make mifepristone available in the U.S.

Expanded access to abortion is crucial, because women face so many sexist obstacles when we try to control our reproductive lives:

Though approval of mifepristone is one way to expand women's access to abortion, the many other obstacles to abortion point to the need for all pro-choice women and men to join the feminist movement to ensure full abortion and reproductive rights for women. Part of the work ahead of us is to elect a pro-choice president this November. Anti-choice candidate George W. Bush has stated that if he were elected president, he may try to overturn the FDAs approval of mifepristone.

NOW-NYC is also concerned about the cost of mifepristone, which will start at around $350, including doctors visits, approximately the same cost as a first-trimester surgical abortion. "Until all Americans are covered under a universal health care plan like in every other industrialized country in the world, abortion--including mifepristone--is not actually available for many women, because the high cost keeps it out of our reach," said Alexandra Leader, Executive Director of NOW-NYC.

"Until women have eliminated all the laws and restrictions which stand in our way to complete freedom over our reproductive lives, which would include access to quality, free (public) childcare, we will not be able to achieve equality with men," said Nancy Millar, President of NOW-NYC.

An alternative to surgical abortion, mifepristone is a drug taken in three doses during the first nine weeks after the last menstrual period to induce an abortion. Thus, the drug allows for a non-surgical abortion. Mifepristone has been studied since 1983 and since then used safely by thousands of women in France, Sweden, China, and the United Kingdom. In 1996, after reviewing all the required data on the medical effectiveness of mifepristone, the FDA issued an "approvable" letter, but it has taken until today for the FDA to announce U.S. approval of the drug.

If you are excited about this feminist victory and you want more info about how to get involved in the feminist movement, contact NOW-NYC: 212-627-9895,

For more information or to join NOW in Gainesville, Call the Gainesville Area National Organization for Women, 377-9935.

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