The Abortion Pill Process

When deciding if the abortion pill is right for you, it’s important to take time to learn as much as you can about the procedure.

Today we will discuss how the medication works, what the process is like, the risks and side effects you might encounter, and the screenings you need to ensure your safety.

How does the abortion pill work?

The abortion pill, or medical abortion, uses two medications: Mifepristone and Misoprostol.

Mifepristone blocks the body’s production of progesterone, the hormone needed to keep the pregnancy nourished and healthy. Without progesterone, the pregnancy cannot continue.

Then, Misoprostol causes contractions to empty the uterus.

When can I take the abortion pill?

According to the FDA, the abortion pill should only be administered in the first 70 days, or 10 weeks, of pregnancy. If taken after that time, the abortion pill could lead to severe health risks, such as infection and sepsis.

In order to confirm the gestation or age of your pregnancy, you must undergo an ultrasound scan.

Will a doctor be with me when I complete my abortion?

While some doctors will administer Mifepristone in a medical setting, Misoprostol is typically taken at home around 24 to 48 hours later. Women will then complete the abortion at home, without medical supervision.

What are the side effects of the abortion pill?

Medical abortions are often compared to early miscarriages. The pills cause intense abdominal pain and bleeding, as the uterus contracts to expel pregnancy tissue in the form of large blood clots.

Women may also experience additional side effects, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Fever and chills
  • Vomiting 
  • Headaches

What are the risks associated with the abortion pill?

In addition to the side effects associated with the abortion pill, some women experience serious health consequences, including: 

  • Prolonged bleeding and hemorrhaging 
  • Sepsis and infection
  • Anxiety and depression1

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (when also infected with Chlamydia)2

What should I do before I take the abortion pill?

In order to protect yourself against some of the health risks listed above, we recommend undergoing pre-abortion screenings, including ultrasound scans and STI testing.

Ultrasound scans confirm the age, location, and viability of the pregnancy and identify any serious health conditions that may lead to complications related to abortion, including ectopic pregnancy.

STI testing is crucial to rule out existing infections that may spread during the abortion process.

Where can I find affordable pre-abortion care?

Unplanned pregnancies come with unplanned expenses. That’s why ALC Pregnancy Resource Center provides all services free of charge, including pregnancy testing and ultrasound scans.

Come visit us today. We have same-day appointments available.

  1. Broen AN, Moum T, Bødtker AS, Ekeberg O. The course of mental health after miscarriage and induced abortion: a longitudinal, fiveyear follow-up study. BMC Med. 2005;3:18.
  2. Westergaard L, Phillipsen T, Scheibel J (1982). “Significance of cervical Chlamydia trachomatis infection in postabortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, 68(5): 668-90; Ovigstad E, et al. (1983). “Pelvic inflammatory disease associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection after therapeutic abortion.” Br J Vener Dis, 59: 189-92; Heisterberg L, et al. (1987). “The role of vaginal secretory immunoglobulin a, gardnerella vaginalis, anaerobes, and Chlamydia trachomatis in post abortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 66(2): 99-102.