In September 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of mifepristone for the provision of medical abortion. Although mifepristone was developed and marketed because of its potential to effect early first-trimester medical abortion, it has additional applications to health care, including the treatment of gynecologic conditions, cancer, and Cushing's disease. The controversial nature of abortion has dominated the publicity about mifepristone. The evidence for the safety and efficacy of mifepristone in medical abortion has been overshadowed, and many clinicians are unaware of the other potential uses of the drug. This article provides a discussion of background information on the pharmacology, development of, and research on mifepristone and an update on current and potential uses in health care today. Information on the FDA-approved regimen and alternative protocols for management of mifepristone in its use in abortion care are presented.