Abortion Pill: Frequently Asked Questions

In the past, women who become unexpectedly pregnant and wanted to eliminate the pregnancy were only able to obtain a surgical abortion. The advent of medical abortion has given women another option that is less invasive and more private. If you are considering taking the abortion pill, here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions you might have?

What Is the Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill is actually two different pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. The first pill, mifepristone, is typically taken in the clinic or doctor's office and works by blocking progesterone, which is necessary for the baby to continue growing. The second pill, misoprostol, causes the uterus to begin contracting and bleeding.

This will cause the fetus to be expelled from the uterus, a process that is similar to a miscarriage. Depending on the type of prescription, the misoprostol pill is either put under the tongue or in the cheek and allowed to dissolve for several minutes, or the pill is inserted into the vagina.

The steps you will need to take to be prescribed the abortion pill are dependent upon several factors, including how far along you are in the pregnancy and where you live. For example, some states require the patient to undergo counseling, have an ultrasound, and meet with a social worker before they are prescribed the abortion pill.

What Are the Side Effects of Taking the Abortion Pill?

Typically, women experience very few side effects after taking the first pill, mifepristone. The most common side effects of mifepristone are nausea and minor bleeding. More side effects are typically present after taking the second pill, misoprostol. This pill is taken a couple of days after the first pill and typical side effects include:

  • Cramping
  • Bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills

These symptoms usually last for a few hours only. However, if you experience extreme symptoms or your symptoms last for several days, particularly severe bleeding and cramping, contact your doctor right away.

What Is the Difference Between the Abortion Pill and the Morning After Pill?

Many people confuse the abortion pill and the morning after pill, although these prescriptions each have two very different uses. The morning-after pill, which is available over the counter, is intended to prevent pregnancy and is taken within a few hours after unprotected sex. The abortion pills are taken to eliminate a confirmed pregnancy.

The abortion pill is an alternative to surgical vaginal abortion. If you have any more questions, contact abortion services near you.