Perhaps you’ve heard of the abortion pill but aren’t quite clear on what it is or how it works. The abortion pill is a medical abortion and is actually a series of pills that terminate pregnancy that are up to 10 weeks along. The first pill, Mifepristone, begins a process to block the effects of progesterone (a necessary hormone that sustains the pregnancy), which then causes the death of the embryo over the next few days. On day 3, two pills of Misoprostol are taken, one in each cheek pouch. Misoprostol pills cause uterine contractions and bleeding, which can be severe, until the contents of the uterus – the embryo or fetus – is expelled in the uterine blood flow. Bleeding typically lasts 9-16 days, however, for some women the bleeding may continue for longer and may require surgery to stop the bleeding.

An abortion clinic that prescribes the abortion pill will also require you to sign a consent for the surgical abortion procedure (D&C) at the time of beginning the medical abortion. This is in the event that the medical abortion pill doesn’t work or doesn’t complete the abortion.  A medical examination to assess for any complications is essential one to two weeks after the abortion according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protocol.

Who Can Use the Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill is FDA-approved for women who are up to 10 weeks from their last menstrual period (LMP), although it has a higher failure rate as the pregnancy progresses. You can use a pregnancy calculator based on your last period to determine how many weeks you might be. It should not be used if implantation in the uterus has not occurred, which means the pregnancy is ectopic  – as it will not abort an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening.

Should you choose to use the Abortion Pill

Since the abortion pill is literally an “at home” abortion, be aware that you will not be under medical supervision during most of the abortion process and will need to assess for yourself if your symptoms require emergency care. Always tell the emergency personnel that you have taken the abortion pill – no one should ever encourage you to lie, which could jeopardize your health and safety. Should you experience flu-like symptoms consistent with infection, seek immediate medical attention.

Follow up visits should be kept to prevent complications from an undiagnosed infection.

Sometimes women regret their abortion decision to terminate pregnancy after taking the first abortion pill. can connect patients in this situation to a health care provider that may be able to assist them in reversing the abortion process. Some women have successfully continued the pregnancy and given birth to healthy babies.

For more information on abortion options and other alternatives, please call Gateway Women’s Care at 919-833-0096 or text us at 919-502-0096.As you make your abortion procedure plans it’s wise to consider the risks associated with medication abortion (Mifeprex/Mifepristone, RU-486 with Misoprostol). Some of these include bleeding, infection, or failed abortion attempts. Refer to our website to learn more: