Skip to Content

The medical abortion pill is an increasingly common option for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Find answers to your abortion pill questions here.

Get Started

What is Medical Abortion – Answers to 8 Common Questions About the Abortion Pill

An increasingly common option for women considering abortion is the medical abortion pill. Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of medication for abortion in 2000, thousands of women have successfully used this early abortion option to end a pregnancy.

If you are considering medical abortion, you may feel overwhelmed with questions about its safety, effectiveness, availability, and more. Here are the top eight things you need to know about the abortion pill.

1. What is a medical abortion? What is the abortion pill?

When a woman needs an abortion, she generally has two options: in-clinic surgical abortion procedures or medication abortion.

Medical abortion, or “the abortion pill,” actually refers to two medications that are taken together to end a pregnancy. This option is generally available to women who are early in their pregnancy, often up to nine or 10 weeks. Women who are more than 10 weeks pregnant may need to consider an in-clinic abortion.

2. What is the abortion pill called?

Women who choose pill abortion will be given two types of abortion pills:

While Mifepristone is the most common abortion medication, it is also possible to use a pill called Methotrexate for abortion. Methotrexate can be used within the first seven weeks of pregnancy and is given orally or as an abortion injection. However, this medication is not as commonly used in the United States because the RU486 abortion pill is generally more effective.

3. How does the abortion pill work?

Medical abortion is a very personal process, and your abortion pill experience may vary based on a number of factors, including your individual circumstances, the clinic you choose and your state’s abortion laws. In general, here’s how the abortion pill works:

4. How long does the abortion pill take?

Most women will experience heavy bleeding and cramping within a few hours of taking Misoprostol. These symptoms will begin to subside when the abortion is complete, but light spotting may continue for a few weeks.

For most women, the abortion is complete within a few days of taking the abortion pill. According to Planned Parenthood, more than half of women abort within four or five hours of taking the medication.

5. How effective is the abortion pill?

Medical abortions are effective about 98 percent of the time, but you will need to return to the clinic for a follow-up visit to be certain that it worked properly. In the rare event that the medication was not successful, you may need to take another dose of the medication, or you may have to undergo an in-clinic abortion to end the pregnancy.

6. Is the abortion pill safe?

In most cases, medical abortion is a safe and effective way to terminate pregnancy. However, there are some medical risks associated with this procedure, including allergic reaction, infection, blood clots in the uterus, incomplete abortion or failure to end the pregnancy.

You should start to feel better within a day of taking the abortion medication. If you are still in a lot of pain, have a fever or feel sick more than 24 hours after the abortion, you may have a serious infection, and you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

In addition, the following symptoms could be a sign of a rare but serious complication:

Please read the following for more information about the risks and side effects of abortion.

7. How much does the abortion pill cost?

Abortion pill costs can vary based on a number of factors, including the stage of your pregnancy, the clinic you choose, your insurance situation, and more. Some clinics determine the abortion pill cost on a sliding scale based on what you can afford.

In general, the cost of the abortion pill typically ranges from $300–$800, according to Planned Parenthood.

8. Where can I get the abortion pill?

To find the abortion services you need, contact your private healthcare provider or a local clinic like Planned Parenthood. These professionals can provide the medications you need or tell you how to get the abortion pill safely.

Many women search for options to buy abortion pills online or to get the abortion pill over the counter. However, attempting a medicated abortion without a licensed medical professional is extremely dangerous. You should never order the abortion pill online or attempt to use over the counter abortion pills. The only way to ensure your abortion is completed safely and effectively is to work with an experienced medical professional.

Final Thoughts

It is important to have all of the abortion pill facts you need to make an informed abortion decision. To learn more about your unplanned pregnancy or abortion options, speak with a medical professional or licensed counselor.

If you have additional questions about medical abortion, the following resources can provide all of the abortion pill information you need: