On June 17, the FDA's Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health will hold a public hearing to begin the approval process of a new abortion pill, Ulipristal acetate, to be marketed by the brand names ella® or ellaOne®.
ellaOne can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, as opposed to emergency contraception, which can be taken up to three days after unprotected sex.
ellaOne has been marketed in the United Kingdom since September 2009 as an emergency contraceptive, but it does not chemically work the same in a woman's body as an EC.
In fact, ellaOne works the same as mifepristone, or RU486, also known as the abortion pill, which can be taken up to 49 days after the first day of a woman's last period.
While ellaOne and RU486 are composed of different chemical compounds, they are both progesterone blockers, while the EC is a progesterone.
ellaOne blocks progesterone from reaching the cushiony lining of a mother's uterus, the endometrium. ellaOne causes the endometrium to degrade and her days-old embryo to die.
Since RU486 is taken later in pregnancy, it blocks progesterone from reaching a mother's placenta, thereby causing it to degrade and her weeks-old embryo to die.
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