Abortion Pill (RU-486, or medication abortion) provides women with a safe medical alternative to the traditional surgical abortion.
Medication abortion utilizing a regimen of Mifepristone and Misoprostol was approved by the FDA over 20 years ago and has since been used by women in the United States as a safe alternative to surgical abortion. Many women prefer taking medication to terminate a pregnancy because the process is similar to a miscarriage and can be completed in the comfort of home.
The Abortion Pill utilizes a series of carefully prescribed pills that terminate a pregnancy.
The abortion pill is a safe way to end a pregnancy in the earliest stages (up to 10 weeks) without a procedure.
What you can expect?
If you choose to go into an abortion clinic or doctor’s office for a medication abortion, you will have an ultrasound or need to have one prior to your visit to determine the location and gestational age of your pregnancy. Many clinics will also perform a Hemoglobin (finger stick) to ensure that you are not anemic.
If you are eligible (10 weeks gestational age or less) your clinician will review all of the risks of having a medication abortion. Once your questions have been answered, your clinician will give you the first medication to take in the office.
This pill, called Mifepristone, will stop your pregnancy from growing and start the process of the abortion. At some point that is convenient for you in the next 24-48 hours, you will place 4 tablets of Misoprostol in your cheeks (two on each side) and let them dissolve. Usually, within an hour of taking the Misoprostol, you will start cramping and bleeding, more severely than during your period. Most women pass the pregnancy within four hours; however, the bleeding can continue irregularly for up to six weeks, even if the abortion was successful.
At your follow-up visit to a reproductive choice clinic in one week, they may perform a second ultrasound to confirm that you are no longer pregnant.
How safe is medication abortion?
There are risks to taking a medication abortion. Most women experience bleeding and cramping, more severe than during their period. The pain usually, resolves with Ibuprofen after 3-4 hours.
The most common risk of medication abortion is that the pills might not work. 2-5% of women using medication to end a pregnancy need additional evaluation or treatment, such as a surgical procedure.
There is also the risk of heavy vaginal bleeding or infection. If you bleed enough to soak through two thick full-size sanitary pads per hour, for two hours in a row, or if you have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher that lasts for more than 4 hours, contact your clinician right away.
Is a medication abortion effective?
Medication abortion is safe and effective for 95-98% of women.
2-5% of women taking a medication abortion will require an additional intervention to treat heavy bleeding or incomplete abortion.
Sometimes a repeat dose of medication is sufficient, but if the pregnancy is continuing to grow, your clinician will recommend a surgical procedure.
A surgical procedure is often called a D&C and can be performed at legal abortion clinics in some states.
There is also a small risk of infection (< 2%).
Most abortion clinics have a clinician on call 24 hours, 7 days a week to answer any questions or concerns that you may have during the process.