Happy birthday, Mifepristone!

Fourteen years ago on Saturday, the FDA approved Mifepristone.
It was one of those all-too-rare moments in recent years where access to safe abortions were increased rather than decreased. But even though it’s been available for fourteen years now, there are still vast misunderstandings about it – the most common one is confusing it with emergency contraception. And this brings us to the Center for Sex Education handout that is probably the one I’ve been using for the longest amount of time. It’s called “Knowing the Difference: Emergency Contraception and Mifepristone” and it comes from the following lesson plan:
The Importance of Timing
By Peggy Brick and Bill Taverner
Participants will:
1. Examine the time sequence of options available to individuals who do not want to have a child at this time of life.
2. Identify the reasons people often lose options because they fail to make a timely decision.
3. Discuss the differences between two new options, emergency contraception and Mifepristone.
4. Rehearse implementing decisions in a variety of situations.
Rulings by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have made new options available to individuals who choose not to have a child at this time of life. Yet a number of obstacles continue to keep many people from making timely decisions enabling them to be in control of their sexual and reproductive lives. There is particular confusion over the difference between emergency contraception which prevents pregnancy and Mifepristone, an early abortifacient. This lesson develops an understanding of these new options and locates them within a sequence of possible decisions.
And it was true in 2001 that lots of people didn’t understand the differences between two very new medical options – but this remains relatively obscure knowledge, and that’s just unacceptable.
How much information do you provide to your students on the differences between Plan B and Mifepristone? With the rampant misinformation out there in the world, it’s worth taking the five minutes to cover this topic if you’re covering either contraception or abortion. The lesson plan in Educating About Abortion takes longer than that to really go into depth with because it addresses the evolution of pregnancy and how Plan B and Mifepristone fit into it, and it’s worth it if you have time.
Really, all of the lessons in this manual are worth their time in gold. The first time I read through it, I was overwhelmed by the importance of the material. I probably first fell in love with the Center for Sex Education’s manuals inside these pages. Have I sold you on it yet? Because, really, and I think I haven’t just flat out said that you should buy a manual yet in all of these posts so far, but if you don’t own this one, you should buy it. If you aren’t sure about that, just leave me a comment. I’ll convince you.