What is the Abortion Pill?

This Woman Is Considering the Abortion Pill

Your world is suddenly turned upside down when you discover you are pregnant. There are so many thoughts running through your mind. What are you going to do about your unplanned pregnancy? You have heard about the Abortion Pill. 

Is It That Easy?

It sounds easy. Take a pill. Problem solved. However, choosing to have an abortion is a serious medical decision. Abortions can have emotional, psychological, as well as physical consequences. Do not make that decision without all the facts first.

How Do I Know What Type of Abortion to Get?

There are two types of abortions, medical and surgical. The Abortion Pill (also known as RU 486) is a medical abortion. According to the FDA, you can only have this type of procedure if you are less than ten weeks along in the gestational age of your pregnancy. If you are further along, the Abortion Pill method will not work due to the fetus’s size. 

What Do I Need Before Taking the Abortion Pill?

Before you can start the Abortion Pill, you need to confirm your pregnancy with a lab-quality pregnancy test and have an ultrasound. The ultrasound gives you real-time information such as how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable (a heartbeat is detected). Our pregnancy tests are free at Boston Center for Pregnancy Choices, and if you meet specific criteria, our ultrasound referrals are free.

How Do I Get Started?

Medical abortions are performed under ten weeks of pregnancy. If you have been pregnant longer, you would need a surgical abortion. The Abortion Pill is a two-step process starting with a clinic visit. Purchasing the Abortion Pill online is illegal. You must get the first pill by either visiting a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital.

Step 1 of the Abortion Pill Process

After your ultrasound to determine how far along your pregnancy is, the doctor would administer the first pill. This pill, Mifepristone (Mifeprex®), blocks the female hormone progesterone. Progesterone is known as the “pregnancy hormone.” It helps the fertilized egg implant in the uterus. Mifepristone causes the lining of the uterus to thin and prevents the fetus from staying implanted. You can take the pill either orally or vaginally.

Step 2 of the Abortion Pill Process

Most often, the abortion doctor will send you home with the second drug. This drug is called misoprostol, which is taken after the Mifeprex. You can often wait anywhere from a few hours to one to three days in between. This drug causes the uterus to contract to expel the fetus. 

The Side Effects and Risks of the Abortion Pill Process

Women do not usually experience side effects with the first drug, Mifeprex. However, if you feel nauseous and vomit shortly after taking the medication, you will need to contact the abortion clinic and talk to the doctor. A small percentage of women may start to bleed and pass the pregnancy after taking the first pill.

Side Effects of the Abortion Pill

The side effects of taking the second drug, misoprostol, can be severe. Sometimes they include heavy bleeding, blood clots, vomiting, diarrhea, severe cramping or back pain, and ongoing fever or chills. Doctors advise you call if you soak through more than two large maxi-pads per hour for two hours in a row. Usually, you are sent home with a prescription for pain medication also.

Abortion not only has physical consequences, but it can also affect a woman emotionally, as well as psychologically. Many women report feelings of guilt, sadness, and even shame. Often, without proper counseling, women internalize their choice. They can become depressed and can sometimes engage in self-destructive behaviors.

Risks with Taking the Abortion Pill

Potential risks of a medication abortion include the possibility of getting a pelvic infection. Sometimes a severe pelvic infection can be painful and lead to infertility if not treated properly. There is also the possibility of incomplete abortion. The farther along you are in your pregnancy, the less likely you are to pass the fetus completely.

Doctors recommend that you do not have a medical abortion if you have an IUD, take a blood thinner, or have certain medical conditions such as kidney or lung disease, or an uncontrolled seizure disorder.

What Should I Do Now?

Choosing to have an abortion when you discover an unplanned pregnancy is not an “easy” decision. Often, the effects of that choice can last a lifetime. The Abortion Pill procedure isn’t as simple as taking a pill, and it is over. If you believe you are pregnant, visit Boston Center for Pregnancy Choices. We will have you take a free pregnancy test, then schedule an appointment for free an ultrasound referral. 

You have options for your unplanned pregnancy, and we will make sure you have all the information you need, including answering your questions about abortion. Do not face this significant life event alone. We are here ready and waiting to talk with you. 

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