Why Don't Women in America Have Access to this Safe Alternative to a Surgical Abortion?
Patients in nations like Canada and Australia have access to mifepristone which is prescribed with misoprostol to allow women to end their pregnancies themselves during the first ten weeks of pregnancy. But in the United States the Food and Drug Administration makes it very difficult to get, which forces many more women to go through surgical abortions.
From Zoë Beery at the Outline: This is not how the medical establishment expected things to turn out when the FDA began clinical trials for mifepristone in the mid-‘90s. Doctors in Europe had been prescribing it since 1988, and doctors stateside were excited by the drug’s possibilities: it had the potential to move some abortions from the public sphere (identifiable, protest-ready clinics) to the private one (a doctor’s office or patient’s home), creating a future for patients seeking abortions free of the conflict that had characterized the procedure’s presence in the U.S. since it was legalized in 1973. “People were expecting that it was going to break down barriers, reduce abortion stigma, reduce harassment and open doors,” says Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health. “But that has not happened.”
Graham T. Chelius, M.D., the Chief Medical Officer at Hawaii Health Systems Corportation is now taking the FDA to court to change that and give American women a safe alternative to "a much more invasive and expensive surgical abortion." You can read his story here in a piece he wrote for the ACLU.