It is at about the fifth week of pregnancy (measured from a woman's last menstrual period) that a mother first begins to suspect she is pregnant, so this is likely to be about the earliest that the chemical abortifacient is used.
RU 486 is a chemical compound that, taken in pill form, can induce abortion in women up to nine weeks pregnant.
(23) Because of its properties as a antiprogestin (a compound that inhibits the action of the hormone progesterone), some believe that it may be helpful in treating endometriosis, fibroids, breast cancer, and certain non-malignant brain tumors called meningomas.
(24) Pro-life groups such as the National Right to Life Committee have never opposed the testing or use of RU486 for such therapeutic purposes, but evidence of its effectiveness in these applications, (25) as well as evidence of the pill's promoter's real interest in such applications, is limited.
This compound gets the first part of its name from the French company, Roussel Uclaf, which first developed the abortion pill back in 1980.
The "486" designation is the shortened version of the original "38486" compound number the pill was first assigned in the Roussel Uclaf laboratory.