What is the Abortion Pill?

Unplanned pregnancies are often accompanied by a slew of emotions — most commonly those of fear and worry. As you consider the options in front of you, it’s important to gather all of the necessary information so you can be empowered to make the decision that’s best for you!

When it comes to an unplanned pregnancy you have three options — parenting, adoption, and abortion. While abortion is often portrayed in the media, when it comes to making a decision for your life, it typically looks a bit different and it’s important to understand the options available to you.

Many woman experiencing unplanned pregnancies are overcome with anxiety and uncertainty, making them feel like abortion is their only option. The abortion pill is commonly sold as the “easy” choice for women looking to end their pregnancies. While it isn’t as invasive as surgical abortions, the pill is still a serious medical procedure and comes with its own list of side effects and risks.

Continue reading to learn more about the abortion pill, how it works, and its various risks and side effects. 

What is the abortion pill?

The abortion pill is a medical form of abortion most often offered to women in the first 11 weeks of pregnancy. A medical abortion is a two-pill process that is typically started at a doctor’s office and completed at home. The pill is not to be confused with “Plan B” or “The Morning After Pill.” These pills stop a pregnancy from happening, while the abortion pill terminates a pregnancy that has already begun to develop.


How does the abortion pill work?

The first step of the abortion pill is called Mifepristone. This pill stops the production of progesterone, which is a natural hormone the body creates to help the pregnancy grow and develop. This initial step is typically performed at a doctor’s office, while the second pill, Misoprostol, is taken at home. Misoprostol causes contractions and will cause the pregnancy to expel from the uterus.

What are the side effects of the abortion pill?

While this sounds as simple as popping a few pills, it’s important to remember that the abortion pill is a serious medical procedure and can be accompanied by several intense side effects. If you’re considering the abortion pill, take time to learn about each risk and talk to a medical professional about your current medical conditions and any concerns you might have.

Some common side effects of the abortion pill include:

  • Abdominal Pain 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heavy/persistent bleeding

In addition to these typical side effects, there are a few other serious risks to consider prior to scheduling your appointment.

First, if the abortion pill does not effectively end the pregnancy and you experience an “incomplete abortion,” surgery will be required immediately.

Additionally, many women also experience emotional and mental repercussions following their abortions. Because medical abortions are completed at home and typically in isolation, women often report feelings of trauma that can last years beyond the abortion itself. 

What do I need to do before I take the abortion pill?

Prior to scheduling your abortion appointment, you’ll want to confirm your pregnancy with a lab-quality test. These tests, provided at no cost at your local pregnancy medical clinic , will deliver the most accurate results by measuring the hCG hormone in your urine. 

Once you have a positive test, you’ll want to schedule an ultrasound scan to confirm your pregnancy is viable. You may be wondering why you would need an ultrasound if you’re getting an abortion. Getting an ultrasound scan will help you gather necessary information about your pregnancy: its location, gestational age, and viability. This info will determine if you’re eligible for a medical abortion. 

To schedule a no-cost pregnancy test or ultrasound with Options for Women, click here!

If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or are worried you might be pregnant, your friends at Options for Women are here to help! We’re passionate about providing resources and information at no cost so that you can make the best decision for you and your future! 

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May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.