The Abortion Pill is available for women to use if they are known to be pregnant up to 70 days or 10 weeks after their last menstrual period (LMP)(1). This ruling was changed by the FDA on March 30, 2017. Previously, it was prescribed only up to 7 weeks after LMP. It is highly recommended that the pregnancy is confirmed after a positive pregnancy test because 25-30% are found not viable. The Food and Drug Administration mandates that this medication be prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider.
The Abortion Pill is actually more than a single pill. It consists of two different types of medicine including one mifepristone pill (known as Mifeprex) which is taken orally during an office visit. Misoprostol tablets are taken 24-48 hours later. The Mifeprex blocks the body’s progesterone, the hormone required in the early stages for a healthy pregnancy. Blocking progesterone breaks down the uterine lining so that an embryo can no longer attach to the uterine wall. One or two days later, misoprostol is taken to contract the uterus, induce labor and expel the detached embryo. (mifepristone/misoprostol) Follow up with the abortion provider should occur within 1-2 weeks after taking the first pill to determine if the process is complete.
The Abortion Pill will not work in the case of an ectopic pregnancy where the embryo lodges outside of the uterus, often in the fallopian tube. This requires early intervention by a physician to avoid risk of the tube bursting, internal hemorrhage or death. (2)
The Abortion Pill sometimes fails at an increasing rate with advanced gestational age. At 7 weeks from LMP it ranges from 3-8% of women, depending on the regimen used. (3) Beyond 7 weeks the rate increases significantly. (4) There are also increased risks of certain birth defects when the pregnancy remains, requiring a surgical abortion to end the pregnancy. (5)
There is a risk of hemorrhaging or infection if the pregnancy has incompletely passed, which may require a blood transfusion. If any woman experiences weakness, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or fever, she should seek medical help immediately, as this may be a sign of sepsis. (6) Infection can cause scarring, which can affect future fertility or an increased risk of delivering prematurely in the future. (8)
There has been little research published about the Abortion Pill’s long-term effects on a woman’s mental health, especially after seeing the expelled baby after 8 weeks where arms, legs, hands and feet can be identified. (7)
Women who change their minds after taking Mifeprex but before taking Misoprostol and want to try to continue their pregnancies may visit abortionpillreversal.com or call 877-558-0333.
Remember, if you or someone you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy, there are options. Knowing where to go when feeling scared or confused during this time is important! Talk to someone you can trust! The caring people at Birth Choice and Women’s Mobile Clinic are available to help.
The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose a pregnancy or condition without consulting a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition or for further action or options.
- Stubblefield, P., Carr-Ellis, S., Borgatta, L. (2004). Methods for induced abortion. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 104(1), 714-185. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000130842.21897.53
- O’Rahilly R, Gardner E. 1975. The timing and sequence of events in the development of the limbs in the human embryo. Anat Embryol. 148(1):1-23
- Swingle, H.M., Colaizy, T.T., Zimmerman, M.B., Moriss, F.H. (2009). Abortion ad the risk of subsequent preterm birth: A systematic review with meta-analyses. The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 54(2), 95-108.