On September 28, 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug mifepristone, also known as RU-486, for the termination of early pregnancy. Because RU-486 is an abortion agent, the process of moving it out of the lab and into mainstream medicine has been fraught with controversy. Since its discovery, the pro-life movement has been adamantly against the use of this drug for abortion. This report discusses the procedure of obtaining and using the drug, as well as the ongoing debate regarding its usage and related legislation.
This report offers an overview of the development of abortion law from 1973 to the present. Beginning with a brief discussion of the historical background, the report analyzes the leading Supreme Court decisions over the past twenty-eight years, emphasizing particularly the landmark decisions in Roe and Doe, the Court’s shift in direction in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, and the Court’s most recent decision on abortion, Stenberg v. Carhart. The Court’s decisions on the constitutionality of restricting public funding for abortion are also discussed.