Labor induction has become commonplace in modern obstetrics. The increasing rate of labor induction has probably played a role in the increased rate of cesarean delivery observed in the United States during the past few decades. Clearly, the favorability of the cervix has a substantial impact on the potential success of any labor induction. Induction in the setting of an unfavorable cervix can result in prolonged induction, prolonged hospitalization, failed induction, and an increased cesarean delivery rate. In this modern era of healthcare reform and cost containment, the identification of therapeutic strategies to enhance the success and cost-effectiveness of labor induction are of great interest. Ongoing research is needed to advance our knowledge of the mechanisms of parturition and cervical ripening in order to direct interventions for labor induction more effectively.