Medical abortion using methotrexate and misoprostol and manual vacuum aspiration are two new methods for pregnancy termination during the first 8 weeks of gestation. Compared to the regimen of mifepristone (RU 486) and misoprostol, both methods offer high rates of complete abortion and acceptability to users. Limitations of the new two-drug regimen compared with mifepristone include a longer time to effect abortion, transient gastrointestinal side effects, and risk of potential teratogenicity from methotrexate's cytotoxicity. Compared to standard surgical abortion, both methods allow women to avoid surgery, are more privately performed, and may be more easily accessible. The safety of first-trimester abortion provided by nurse practitioners and physician assistants has been established. Whether midwives add either new method to their practices depends on several factors. These include obtaining appropriate training, overcoming legal restrictions, and meeting professional and personal challenges inherent in providing early abortion care.