Pretreatment with laminaria tent is often used in prostaglandin-induced second-trimester abortion to increase efficacy and shorten induction-to-abortion time. In the present study, two alternatives to soften the cervix and dilate the cervical canal, the antiprogestin RU 486 and intra-cervical application of PGE2, were studied. The study included 71 women requesting legal abortion in the 15th to 23rd week of pregnancy who were treated with repeated vaginal applications of 9-methylene PGE2 in a hydrophilic gel (5 mg every 4th hour) following pretreatment with 200 mg of RU 486 and/or intracervical administration of 0.5 mg of PGE2 gel. The mean interval from start of vaginal prostaglandin treatment to abortion was 13.2 h after intracervical PG-treatment, 10.0 h after antiprogestin and 6.6 h after the combined pretreatment. Patients who received pretreatment with RU 486 alone or in combination with intracervical PGE2 experienced the lowest frequency of episodes of vomiting. Of these two pretreatment alternatives, RU 486 alone has the advantage of a shorter hospital stay. It can be concluded that vaginal administration of 9-methylene PGE2 after pretreatment with RU 486 was a highly effective, safe and rapid procedure for termination of mid-trimester pregnancy, was well tolerated by the patients and was associated with few side effects.