What’s the difference between Plan B and the abortion pill?

There’s a lot of confusion related to Plan B and the abortion pill. If you think you might have an unplanned pregnancy, it’s important to understand, from a medical perspective, the differences between these two medications — from how they work to the risks and side effects associated with each.

Options for Women is here to help answer these commonly asked questions!

What is “Plan B?” 

Plan B, also known as an emergency contraceptive or “the morning-after pill,” is taken to prevent a pregnancy within 72 hours of unprotected sex. This over-the-counter medication prevents unwanted pregnancy by halting ovulation and fertilization. 

Are there side effects related to Plan B? 

Yes. You may experience the following side effects when taking Plan B:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

What is the abortion pill? 

The abortion pill, unlike Plan B, ends a pregnancy that has already begun to develop. While Plan B prevents pregnancy from occurring, the abortion pill uses chemical means to terminate a pregnancy in the uterus within the first 10 weeks of gestation. 

The abortion pill is a two-step process. First, Mifepristone is taken to prevent the body from producing the pregnancy-supporting hormone, progesterone. This lack of nutrients causes the pregnancy to end in the uterus. Next, Misoprostol is used to cause contractions and force the pregnancy from the body. 

Are there side effects related to the abortion pill? 

Yes. According to the FDA, the abortion pill may cause some of the following side effects: 


  • Heavy bleeding
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea 
  • Fever and chills
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness

In addition to these side effects, the abortion pill can also lead to severe health risks, such as: 

  • Incomplete abortion, requiring emergency surgery
  • Sepsis
  • Infection
  • Hemorrhaging 

Because abortions using the abortion pill are often completed at home without medical supervision, infections and hemorrhaging can go unnoticed and untreated for too long.

Schedule an appointment today to talk to a medical professional about the various risks and side effects related to the abortion pill. 

I’m pregnant — What’s next?  

If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, remember there’s help available to you! Options for Women is here to provide you with no-cost pregnancy health services, like pregnancy testing and an ultrasound scan, and options consultations to help you make the best decision for your and your future!

Schedule your appointment today!

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *