Apr 14, 2023

Abortion Pills, Take Two

Abortion pills — a combo of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol — are on notice: on April 7, 2023, a federal judge said the FDA’s approval of mifepristone was invalid. And then, not more than an hour later, another federal judge in a separate case said that mifepristone had to stay on the market in certain states. With these two contradictory rulings, mifepristone — and medical abortion, in general — is in the crosshairs. So, today, we want to rewind to an episode we made last year. It looks at these two drugs over the last 40 years, from their origin stories and development, to how their administration from doctors to patients keeps evolving. This story, for us, started…

Special thanks to Mariana Prandini Assis and Pam Belluck.


Reported by - Molly Webster, Avir Mitra
Produced by Sarah Qari
with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
Fact-checking by - Diane Kelly
and Edited by  - Becca Bressler



From one of our sources, Abigail Aiken: “Safety and effectiveness of self-managed medication abortion provided using online telemedicine in the United States: A population based study” (https://zpr.io/kG3hNFXM4kb9)

Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (https://radiolab.org/newsletter)!

Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab (https://members.radiolab.org/) today.

Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing radiolab@wnyc.org

Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John Templeton Foundation. Foundational support for Radiolab was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

THE LAB sticker

Unlock member-only exclusives and support the show

Exclusive Podcast Extras
Entire Podcast Archive
Listen Ad-Free
Behind-the-Scenes Content
Video Extras
Original Music & Playlists