'Abortion Pill' Used in a Quarter of U.S. Abortions

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Nearly one quarter of American women getting early abortions last year used the so-called "abortion pill" rather than surgery, according to statistics reported in a recent medical journal.

Some are predicting the percentage of "medical abortions" will increase even more because of the new study in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

"This is the first really huge documentation of how safe and effective medical abortion is," said Dr. Beverly Winikoff, a professor of family health and population at Columbia University.

"The technology is very good and very well used in this country, and probably will be used more and more," she added.

Click play for comments from Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America.

At Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of medical abortions, the abortion pill amounts to 32 percent of early terminations.

Chris Gacek, a senior fellow at the pro-life Family Research Council, said he wasn't surprised by the increase.

"I don't think at this point we're going to do anything," he said regarding limiting usage of the drug. "It's hard to know whether this increases the (total) number of abortions."

The procedure involves taking two pills within the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

The first pill, Mifeprex, known chemically as mifepristone, is taken orally at a doctor's office. The pill, originally called RU-486, causes an embryo to detach from the uterine wall.

A second pill, misoprostol, is used 24 to 48 hours later to cause contractions and push the embryo out of the uterus.

These drugs are different from Plan B, which is taken to prevent pregnancy from occurring.

The cost for a medical abortion is $400 -- slightly less than the average cost for an early-term surgical abortion.

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