• Margaret W. Beal CNM, PhD,

    Corresponding author
      Yale University School of Nursing, 100 Church Street South, PO Box 9740, New Haven, CT 06536-0740.
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    • Margaret W. Beal is an Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing at Yale University School of Nursing, where she teaches nursing and midwifery students. She practices with Planned Parenthood of Connecticut and is the Connecticut chapter chair of Midwives for Choice.

  • Kathy Simmonds RNC, MSN, MPH

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    • Kathy Simmonds is a clinical instructor at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston, Massachusetts. She teaches women's health and community health and practices at Planned Parenthood of Boston and the Martha Eliot Health Center in Jamaica Plain. She is the Massachusetts chapter chair of Nurse Practitioners for Choice.

Yale University School of Nursing, 100 Church Street South, PO Box 9740, New Haven, CT 06536-0740.


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.