THE ABORTION PILL
This page Includes: Get What You Need—Things to Consider—The Abortion Pill: what it is and is not—The Procedure—Side Effects—Risks—Abortion Clinic Questions & Guidance—Get Help—Citations.
If you have an unplanned pregnancy and are considering the abortion pill, you came to the right place to get accurate information and supportive help. It is your pregnancy, your right to know, and your decision.
GET WHAT YOU NEED
You may have many of your own questions or have questions you have heard from others like, “What are the pros and cons of abortion, abortion pill procedures, risks, side effects, options?” It is important to get your questions answered.
For abortion pill information – watch this overview video below, and/or read through the detailed text content on this page.
Abortion Pill Knowledge. The Abortion Pill (RU-486) is considered a medical abortion, medication abortion, or a non-surgical abortion. A lot of useful information is on this website, but all the details are too many to list and discuss online. CAPS Pregnancy Clinics is a licensed medical clinic, and we have FREE detailed facts, materials, and services specific for your situation. We carefully listen and then walk through the abortion pill details with you. This will help you to clearly understand medical abortion including the step-by-step procedures, risks and side effects, types of abortions, surgical abortion vs medical abortion (abortion pill) options, other pregnancy options, and your legal rights.
Abortion Pill Experiences. We can help you understand some possible abortion pill experiences you may have. The American Psychological Association (APA) research states, “It is important that women’s varied experiences of abortion be recognized, validated, and understood.” 1
Abortion Pill Care. Many people need someone who takes the time to carefully listen, be supportive, and explain the specific details – in person. We are here to support, comfort and to help you make the right choice for you and your pregnancy. No matter what choice you make, CAPS will be there for you before, during, and after your pregnancy.
Pre-Abortion Pill Assessment and Pregnancy Testing. CAPS provides FREE services and education about pregnancy options and alternatives to using abortion clinics in San Diego – we provide important first steps:
- FREE pregnancy testing – a lab grade, nurse verified test to confirm if you are actually pregnant.
- FREE pregnancy ultrasound – to determine how far along you are, location of the pregnancy in the uterus, determine whether there is a presence or absence of a fetal heartbeat, and assess what options you may have.
- FREE abortion education – to answer your questions and provide information so you can make an informed choice.
- FREE pregnancy ‘Decision Aid’ options worksheet – to help you think through your own preferences and help you define the information you need to make a decision.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
These are topics we can discuss with you during your visit to CAPS.
Miscarriage. Your pregnancy situation may resolve itself since a miscarriage may occur. Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. About 10% to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur very early in pregnancy.2
Questions. Here are just a few abortion pill questions you may have – our medical team can help answer these questions and others you may have.
- What are the pros and cons of the abortion pill?
- What are possible abortion pill risks and side effects for me?
- What are the best options for my situation?
- What are my legal rights?
- Are there any issues with abortion pill telehealth and getting medications online?
Major Decision. Having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences. If you’re considering this procedure, make sure you understand what it entails, side effects, possible risks, complications, and alternatives.3
Costs. There are potential costs involved with an abortion, including financial, physical, mental health, social, and others.
Get well informed, then take action. If you are unsure about what to do with your pregnancy, do not take the abortion pill spontaneously or on a whim. If you have questions, are unsure, are being pressured or misled into an abortion, or are having second thoughts about abortion, consider speaking with CAPS.
Abortion Pill Reversal. Some women regret taking the abortion pill afterwards. The abortion pill may be reversible – however, you must make the decision to reverse it within hours of taking the abortion pill (though success has been reported in a window of up to 72 hours.) Call the Abortion Pill Reversal Helpline (not a CAPS service) to get more information and support, 877-558-0333.
ABORTION PILL—What is it?
We can discuss this information and more details with you during your visit to CAPS.
The Abortion Pill (RU-486) is considered a medical abortion, medication abortion, or a non-surgical abortion. It can be called an in-home abortion, since it occurs in the patient’s home, not in a medical facility. It is also sometimes described as self-induced abortion, self-managed abortion, or online abortion, although these latter terms are not completely accurate.
The Abortion Pill is a combination of two prescription drugs, in two separate pills – mifepristone (Mifeprex) and misoprostol (Cytotec) – designed to induce an abortion or terminate a pregnancy. It should not be used if it has been more than 70 days since your last period.
Mifepristone should not be used if the patient has certain medical conditions. It should not be used under certain pregnancy conditions – for example if implantation in the uterus has not occurred, which means the pregnancy is ectopic. The abortion pill will not abort an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening.
NOTE – The U.S. FDA has enough of a safety concern that they have the medical abortion drug mifepristone under their Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program This program is for certain medications with serious safety concerns to help ensure the benefits of the medication outweigh its risks. While all medications have labeling that informs health care stakeholders about medication risks, only a few medications require a REMS.4
NOTE – The Abortion Pill is a medical procedure, which has a possible impact on your health, so it is important that you understand the step-by-step abortion pill process, legal issues, risks, and side effects. Since there are several important steps that need to be followed carefully, it is wise to review the process ahead of time with a licensed medical professional like CAPS.
What it is Not – Morning After Pill / Plan B. It is important to understand that the abortion pill is not the same as the “morning after pill,” also called the “Plan B pill” or an “emergency contraceptive.” The abortion pill is intended for women who have a verified pregnancy. The “morning after pill” is intended to prevent a pregnancy, shortly after sexual intercourse. At CAPS, we advise speaking with a medical professional before considering emergency contraceptives. This is recommended due to health considerations that are important to know about beforehand.
ABORTION PILL PROCEDURE
First the preliminary steps are a verified pregnancy test, ultrasound, and reviewing your pregnancy options. During this process, the medical abortion process should be reviewed with you, to ensure you understand the process, risks, and side effects well. CAPS can provide this to you.
Then, the following procedure begins with the abortion clinic / provider:
NOTE – Be aware that, depending on the clinic / provider, you may not be under constant close medical supervision during some of the abortion process that occurs at your home. Therefore, you or someone with you will need to be responsible for your care, to assess if your symptoms require urgent medical attention and/or mental health care.
- An assessment of your particular pregnancy situation and review of medical and legal information is required. There are some preparatory steps necessary to ensure your safety.
- The two medications are prescribed by a licensed or certified medical provider and purchased by the user.
- The first pill, Mifeprex (mifepristone), is taken orally and blocks the hormone progesterone needed to maintain the pregnancy. NOTE – The U.S. FDA warns you should not buy Mifeprex or its approved generic over the Internet because you will bypass important safeguards designed to protect your health.5
- The second pill, Cytotec (misoprostol), is taken orally as suggested by the manufacturer. Some clinics instruct the patient to insert it into the vagina 24 hours later. It causes the uterus to contract and expel the embryo through the vagina. 6
- Most medical abortions using mifepristone are completed within a few days. Bleeding may last 7-10 days after taking the medication. Contact a physician if bleeding continues. The abortion pill may bring about other adverse effects, so it is important to get in touch with a physician if any of these occurs.
- Two weeks (14 days) later after the abortion is completed, another visit to the clinic is recommended for an ultrasound to be sure all the contents of the uterus are expelled and assessed for any complications or issues.
- If this abortion method fails, a surgical abortion will be required for successful abortion of the fetus.
- If complications or issues exist, then additional medical care may be required.
SIDE EFFECTS (POSSIBLE)—MEDICAL ABORTION:
Abortion pill side effects can include the following:
- Intense cramping of the uterus
- Pelvic / abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding – excessive bleeding may require surgery to stop it
- Fever and infection
- Emotional / psychological impact / distress 1, 3
- Nausea / digestive system discomfort
Abortion pill risks can include the following:
- Telehealth (virtual / remote) audio or video assessment – limited medical contact
- Ectopic pregnancy – can be life-threatening
- Hemorrhaging – may require surgery to stop it
- Infection – incomplete removal of the fetus or surrounding tissues may require antibiotics and/or surgery
Be especially vigilant following a medical abortion as excessive bleeding is a possible (but rare) symptom and could indicate hemorrhaging (as mentioned above) and therefore will demand immediate medical attention.
NOTE – If you think you are hemorrhaging (bleeding excessively with no end in sight), seek immediate medical care at the nearest Emergency Room, as this could be a life threatening condition.
ABORTION CLINIC QUESTIONS & GUIDANCE
When using an abortion clinic / medical provider, here are a brief example of some questions to ask – CAPS can help you through these and other questions, and other issues you should address.
- Is the abortion provider a licensed medical clinic?
- Is the medication prescriber an FDA certified health care provider?
- During the procedure, what type of follow up and how often will service be available?
- Are they immediately available for emergencies and complications?
- Do they pressure you to have an abortion?
- Are they comforting and supportive, no matter what pregnancy decision you prefer?
- Do they clearly and completely explain your legal rights?
- Do they provide testimonials from other patients who have used their abortion services?
- What type of after-care, both physical and mental / emotional, do they provide, if any?
Also, try to speak with someone who has used the services of that provider to find out what their experience was like.
- STD / STI Test. We recommend STI / STD testing to prevent an active infection from spreading. We provide low to no cost STI / STD testing.
- Blood Type Test. You should also get a blood test to find out your blood type. If you are Rh- (negative), you may need an injection of Rhogam so there won’t be an effect on future pregnancies.
Legal Rights. You should understand your legal rights. If you are unsure about what to do with your pregnancy, do not take the abortion pill spontaneously or on a whim. If you have questions, are unsure, are being pressured or misled into an abortion, or are having second thoughts about abortion, contact CAPS. Please note that CAPS staff do not provide legal advice.
While CAPS Pregnancy Clinics do not perform abortions or refer to abortion clinics, we provide medically accurate information and are here are here to help you examine the range of pregnancy options (abortion, parenting, adoption) including the details about each option, so you can make the best choice for your situation.
No matter what choice you make, CAPS will be there for you before, during, and after your pregnancy.
All pregnancy services are FREE, including FREE pregnancy test, FREE ultrasound, and FREE pregnancy and abortion education. We also provide low to no cost STI / STD testing. All our services to you are private – your privacy is important to us.
To get help, contact us at any of the 4 clinic locations, call us at 619-337-8080, or schedule an appointment.
1 American Psychological Association (APA), Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion. (2008). Report of the Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved May 20, 2022 from http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/mental-health-abortion-report.pdf
2 Mayo Clinic. (n.d). Miscarriage. Retrieved May 20, 2022 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/symptoms-causes/syc-20354298
3 Mayo Clinic. (n.d). Medical Abortion. Retrieved May 20, 2022 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/medical-abortion/about/pac-20394687
4 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2021). Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS). Retrieved May 20, 2022 from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/risk-evaluation-and-mitigation-strategies-rems
5 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (n.d.). Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information. Retrieved May 20, 2022 from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/mifeprex-mifepristone-information
6 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (n.d.). Misoprostol (marketed as Cytotec) Information. Retrieved May 20, 2022 from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/misoprostol-marketed-cytotec-information