The Planned Parenthood Federation of America will offer drug-induced abortions in an experimental program beginning this month.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the program as part of a study on the abortion procedure. It will be limited to 3,000 women.
Seventeen of Planned Parenthood’s 150 affiliates - including New York City, San Diego, Houston, Phoenix and the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin - will begin the program this fall.
As many as 45 affiliates may be signed on by early next year, officials said.
The method employs two drugs that have long been approved by the FDA for other uses. Planned Parenthood wants the FDA to approve the medications for abortion, as well.
“If, as we hope, the study shows that these medications are safe and effective for early abortion, we will make a special request of the FDA,” said Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
That request, she continued, will be “for an FDA recommendation that the labeling for these medications be revised to include use for early medical abortion.”
Methotrexate, which interferes with cell division and kills the fetus, is used to treat cancer and arthritis. Misoprostol, which brings on uterine contractions and expels the embryo, is an ulcer medicine.
A woman using the drugs for abortion would first receive an injection of methotrexate. Four to seven days later, misoprostol pills would be inserted into her vagina. For many women, the pills take two weeks or longer to work.