In a significant development for the country’s reproductive rights, Japan’s health ministry has approved the nation’s first abortion pill.
The MeFeego Pack, an abortion pill made by British pharmaceutical Linepharma, was given approval by the Japanese Ministry of Health’s Pharmaceutical Board.
Years have passed since other nations made abortion drugs freely accessible.
The ministry first met in January 2023 to study the medication before inviting the public to provide their thoughts via an online form. It will now be submitted for final clearance to the health minister.
The World Health Organization has listed the medication’s active ingredients, mifepristone and misoprostol, which together are safe and effective for use during pregnancy.
According to NHK, there are now just two surgical abortion options available in Japan: the curettage method, in which tissue inside the uterus is removed using a metal instrument, and the evacuation method, in which tissue is suctioned out through a tube.
The WHO has referred to curettage as a “obsolete” technique that is less secure and significantly more painful, and has advocated for its replacement with the evacuation technique or with drugs such abortion pills.
Similar treatments were available decades ago in other nations while Japan lagged further behind, prompting advocates in Japan to push for the approval of the pills for years.
For instance, the first approval of mifepristone occurred in France in 1988 and in the US in 2000.