The Pill That Still Hasn’t Changed the Politics of Abortion

April 6, 2016

(The New Yorker) – When the abortion drug mifepristone first became legally available in the U.S., in 2000, it seemed to carry with it the potential for a ceasefire in the abortion wars. Because the pills could be administered in a variety of medical settings, and the abortion itself took place at home, the new regimen offered an alternative to the freestanding clinics that had become flashpoints for protest. So-called medical (as opposed to surgical) abortions could occur earlier in gestation, almost as soon as a woman realized that she was pregnant. Americans had fewer moral qualms about abortions performed at this stage, and women preferred to have them then. The drug seemed to unfurl a vision of the future in which abortion was less politicized, more private, and more seamlessly and matter-of-factly folded into health care.