The FDA Commissioner Who Approved the Abortion Pill Is Still Fighting for It

Title: The Legacy of the FDA Commissioner Who Approved the Abortion Pill: A Continuing Fight for Women’s Health


In 2000, a new era for women’s reproductive health began with the approval of the abortion pill, mifepristone, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Commissioner who signed off on the approval was Dr. Jane Henney, a woman of many firsts in the medical field. Today, Dr. Henney’s legacy continues. She remains a staunch advocate for women’s reproductive rights and has recently spoken out against the FDA’s restrictions on mifepristone. This blog post will explore Dr. Henney’s contributions to women’s health, the continued fight for access to medication abortion, and the significance of having female leaders shaping policy decisions.

Key Points:

  1. The Abortion Pill: An Alternative to Surgical Abortion:
    The abortion pill, also known as medication abortion, provides an alternative to surgical abortion procedures. It involves taking two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, over a span of several days. This method of abortion has been deemed safe and effective by numerous reputable medical organizations.
  2. Dr. Jane Henney: A Pioneer of Women’s Health:
    Dr. Henney was the first woman to serve as Commissioner of the FDA and had an illustrious career in medicine. She played vital roles in groundbreaking research on breast cancer and other women’s health issues. Her decision to approve the abortion pill in 2000 was a significant milestone for reproductive healthcare in the United States.
  3. The Importance of Medication Abortion Access:
    Since its approval, medication abortion has become a secure and preferred method of abortion for many individuals. However, in recent years, access to this vital medication has faced countless restrictions, both at the state and federal levels. These barriers disproportionately impact marginalized communities, making it harder for individuals to get safe and legal abortions.
  4. Dr. Henney’s Continuing Fight for Reproductive Rights:
    Dr. Henney has not stopped fighting for women’s reproductive health since stepping down as FDA Commissioner in 2001. Recently, she wrote an op-ed criticizing the FDA’s current restrictions on mifepristone, calling for their removal to expand access to abortion for those who need it. She argues that the restrictions are clinically unjustified and create undue burden on patients and providers alike.
  5. The Impact of Female Leaders in Policy-making:
    The importance of having women in leadership positions cannot be overstated. Dr. Henney’s decision to approve the abortion pill was seen as groundbreaking at the time, and it set an example for future women in policy-making positions. Their perspectives and experiences are essential in shaping policies that impact women’s health.
  6. The Need for Continued Advocacy:
    While we have come a long way in advancing women’s reproductive health in the United States, there is still much work to be done. Despite the proven safety and efficacy of medication abortion, access remains limited by restrictive policies. Further advocacy and legal action are necessary to ensure access to safe and legal abortions for all individuals, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, or geography.


Dr. Jane Henney’s contributions to women’s reproductive health have been groundbreaking and continue to impact the policies and legislation that impact women’s lives. Her decision to approve the abortion pill in 2000 remains a landmark achievement for the medical community and has ignited a broader conversation about women’s reproductive rights. However, the fight for access to medication abortions continues, and Dr. Henney’s recent activism shows that her commitment to reproductive health is as strong as ever. As we move forward, let us champion the women who have fought for our reproductive rights and continue to advocate for policies that center around inclusivity and equity.