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Japan's 1st abortion pill takes step closer to approval

Treatment would give women option other than surgical procedure

Misoprostol, one of the two drugs used to induce an abortion.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- A panel of experts under Japan's Health Ministry has given initial approval for an oral abortion pill for the first time on Friday, a major step for women in a country seen as lagging behind the rest of the developed world in reproductive health.

In March, a separate advisory body reporting to the health minister will deliberate whether to approve the pill, after which the minister will make a final decision.

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