• U.S.

New Role for RU 486

1 minute read
TIME

THE FRENCH-MADE DRUG RU 486 CANNOT BE IMported into the U.S. for a reason that makes pro-choice people livid: it is a safe way of inducing nonsurgical abortions. But a new study done at the University of Edinburgh shows that the drug actually prevents pregnancy in the first place. If taken within 72 hours after intercourse, the drug keeps a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. The same happens if a woman takes a high dose of birth-control pills, but RU 486 has fewer side effects. As an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine points out, the use of RU 486 could cut down on the number of abortions, since it’s technically a contraceptive.

The operative word is “technically.” Opponents of RU 486 are unlikely to change their mind based on the scientific distinction between fertilization and implantation. Chances are it will stay banned.

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