In her first visit, a woman is "counseled," given a physical examination, perhaps an ultrasound, and if there are no obvious contraindications (common red flags such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heavy smoking, allergies, etc.
that could make taking the drug deadly or dangerous for her (29)), she is given the RU486 pills, which she takes in the presence of the abortionist.
(4) RU486 is an artificial steroid that interferes with the action of progesterone, a hormone crucial to the early progress of pregnancy.
(5) Progesterone stimulates the proliferation of the uterine lining which nourishes the developing child.
(26) Acting alone, RU486 is able to induce an abortion only between 64% and 85% of the time, a rate abortifacient researchers consider "inadequate for general clinical use." (27) This is why, two days after taking the RU486, a woman is given a prostaglandin, usually misoprostol (trade name: Cytotec), to induce powerful uterine contractions to expel the shriveled corpse.
(28) Because the use of a prostaglandin (PG) is part of the standard RU486 abortion protocol, it is perhaps more accurate to refer to this as an "RU486/PG" abortion.
(1) RU486 is also known by its generic name, mifepristone, and by Mifegyne, the name under which RU486 is marketed in Europe.