Despite George W. Bush’s statement during the first Presidential debates that the FDA approval of RU 486 was something he could not overturn, he promised to sign a Republican sponsored bill that would restrict the medication’s availability. Bush campaign spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush would have voiced support for the restrictions in Tuesday’s debate if he had been asked the question. In the first presidential debate, Bush backed off his earlier pledge to oppose mifepristone in an effort to defuse the growing importance of abortion rights in the campaign. Gore has stated his support for a woman’s right to choose and the FDA’s approval of mifepristone.
The abortion pill RU 486, or Mifeprex as it will be marketed in the US, not only provides women with a safe, effective and early method of ending pregnancy by pill, but it also has the potential to be an effective treatment for some types of ovarian cancer, fibroid tumors, meningiomas, endometriosis and other diseases that particularly afflict women. In recent articles, the Boston Globe and LA Times explored these other potentially life-saving indications. Mifepristone works to end pregnancies by blocking progesterone, a hormone the uterus requires to maintain pregnancy. Progesterone also causes tumor grown, which is why mifepristone’s ability to block the hormone may have implications for the treatment of cancer. The Feminist Majority Foundation has provided mifepristone for “compassionate use” treatment of cancer with the permission of the FDA. “Once the manufacturer gets up and running, they will have a bigger supply, and scientists who want to do clinical trials will find it easier to obtain the drug,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.