Abortion in the United States: Politics, Access and Options
By S.M. Harvey, C.A.
Sherman, S.T. Bird & J. Warren
We are pleased to reprint part
of a recent policy monograph about medical abortion in the United
States published by the Center for the Study of Women in Society
for the University of Oregon*. Medical abortion involves the use
of a drug or combination of drugs to terminate early pregnancy.
The two methods of medical abortion currently available in the
United States are Mifepristone (brand name MifeprexTM) and Methotrexate
(brand name Folex®). Both are used together with a third drug,
Misoprostol (brand name Cytotec®) to induce abortion. Both
have been shown to be safe and effective in termination of early
pregnancy. As the excerpts from the monograph illustrate, medical
abortion has the potential to increase access to abortion services
and provide more options to women. Both of these potential outcomes
can enhance women's mental health. The paper considers psychological
issues such as the acceptability of medical abortion to women
and their providers, the negative psychological impact of antiabortion
harassment that might be alleviated through provision of medical
abortion, the importance of providing options appropriate to women's
personal circumstances and finally, the role of sociopolitical
forces in obstructing the use of medical abortion. Recommendations
for overcoming barriers to access to medical abortion in the United
States are included in the last section of the monograph, which
can be obtained from the Center.
item will be available for download as a PDF file on the
* Harvey, S. M., Sherman, C.
A., Bird, S. T., & Warren, J. (2002). Understanding medical
abortion: Policy, politics and women's health. Eugene, OR: Center
for the Study of Women in Society, University of Oregon.
For a copy of the monograph contact:
Center for the Study of Women in Society
1201 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1201