Consumer Health Info: Abortion with Pills

FAQs

When Can the Abortion Pill Be Used?

FDA guidance states that medication abortion can be used to end a pregnancy up to 10 weeks from the first day of your last period.

Can I Still Get Pregnant Later? YES

Medication abortion does not increase your future risk of infertility or miscarriage.

Is the Abortion Pill the Same as the Morning After Pill? NO

The morning-after pill is a form of emergency contraception (aka birth control) taken within 5 days of unprotected sex (depending on the regimen/type), or when failure of birth control is a concern, in order to prevent a pregnancy. If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception will NOT induce an abortion.

I Don't Want to Go to a Clinic. What Are My Options?

Some pregnant people choose to use abortion pills by connecting with a trusted medical care provider via internet, phone, or telemedicine*. Others choose to self-manage their abortion at home using FDA-approved abortion pills which they can discretely order online and have mailed to their home. The NWHN strongly supports the right of individuals to make these choices for themselves.

Information on how to access and use abortion pills in the US without going into a clinic:

*Legal restrictions may apply in your state.

Additional Information:

The two most common methods of safely and effectively ending a pregnancy are in-clinic abortions and abortions with FDA-approved pills, also known as medication abortion.

During a medication abortion, the pregnant person induces a miscarriage using FDA-approved medications at home.

In-clinic/surgical abortion is an option (and sometimes required) if medication abortion is incomplete. During an in-clinic abortion (sometimes called a “surgical abortion”), a medical professional physically removes the contents of the uterus.

Medication abortion is FDA-approved to end a pregnancy up to 10 weeks from the first day of your last period. The most effective process involves taking two different FDA-approved medications: mifepristone and misoprostol.

Mifepristone:

  • Originally called RU-486; brand names include Mifeprex and Mifegyne, among others
  • First developed in France in 1980 and approved for use in Europe throughout the 1990s
  • Approved by the FDA for use in the United States in 2000 and now legally prescribed in 60+ countries
  • Safely used in combination with misoprostol over 3.7 million times in the U.S. since its approval
  • Safer than many over-the-counter medicines currently sold in the US without a prescription
  • Typically only available in the US through health clinics and hospitals instead of through US-based pharmacies, due to political restrictions
  • Can be obtained without a prescription through many online pharmacies

Misoprostol:

  • Brand names include Cytotec and Misodel, among others
  • First developed in 1973 to treat stomach ulcers
  • Available in US-based pharmacies with a prescription and often sold over the counter without a prescription outside of the US

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