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Women's Health

Pro-Choice Groups Launch RU-486 Campaign

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WebMD Health News

July 2, 2001 -- This summer, the next time you open a copy of People or Self magazines, among the ads for cars and make-up, running shoes and deodorant, you may notice an ad for Mifeprex -- aka: the abortion pill, RU-486. The ads are part of a campaign by the National Abortion Federation to direct interested women to a toll-free number for more information on the newest -- and very controversial -- abortion option.

"We have received a great deal of calls from women since the FDA approved mifepristone this past fall. There is a great need for education about this option, so our hope is that by running a campaign, women will find out more about mifepristone and how they can access it," Stephanie Mueller, director of Public Policy for the National Abortion Federation, a professional group representing approximately 400 abortion providers, tells WebMD.

The FDA approved Mifeprex in September. Along with misoprostol -- an older drug already approved for treating ulcers -- it is part of a two-drug regimen that can be used to terminate pregnancies of up to seven weeks. The drug combination has been available in Europe for 12 years, but was stalled for many years in the U.S. approval process because of the continuing controversy surrounding abortion in general.

The ad starts running this month in People and Self magazines and will appear in 11 other national magazines -- including Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan Glamour, Fitness, and Essence -- through November. Only Redbook has declined to run the ad. The National Abortion Federation says it believes the campaign will reach almost 70% of women aged 18-49.

In anticipation of the interest generated by the ad campaign, the National Abortion Federation has added hotline operators and extended their hours. "We do believe we will receive more calls from women as a result of this campaign. We also have been receiving calls from physicians who are anxious to find out how they can offer this option to their patients," says Mueller.

Those on the pro-choice side of the abortion debate are pleased to see the ad.

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