RU-486 is a steroid abortifacient, taken in the first seven weeks after conception to terminate pregnancy. RU-486 causes abortion through pill form rather than through placement of objects into the uterus. RU-486 is known as a medical abortion rather than a surgical abortion because it works without the direct placement of tools into the woman's body. The embryo is expelled, simulating miscarriage, which may occur anywhere—it is not limited to the confines of a medical environment. A lengthy battle took place before RU-486 gained final U.S Food and Drug Administration approval in 2000. RU-486 is also known as mifepristone; this name is gaining popularity in the United States.

RU-486 works by divesting the uterus of progesterone, making the womb inhospitable to the prolongment of pregnancy. The ...

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