The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has kicked up a potential abortion hornet’s nest with states that impose restrictions on a common abortion-inducing drug, approving a new label for the medication that relaxes guidelines for using it.
The FDA notified the manufacturer of Mifeprex, a drug previously known as RU-486, in a letter on Tuesday that the drug is safe and effective for terminating a pregnancy in accordance with the new label. Also known as mifepristone, the synthetic steroid drug is used in combination with another drug, misoprostol, to end a pregnancy.
Under the new label, a smaller dose of Mifeprex can be used significantly later in the pregnancy — up to 70 days of gestation, from 49 days.
The decision could rankle lawmakers in states that required the drugs to be used in accordance with the original labels. Critics complained those labels were outdated and restrictive.