Abortion Pill Facts

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The abortion pill is a non-surgical alternative procedure to terminate a pregnancy. If administered in the early stages, it can be an effective method for a woman who is not comfortable with other more invasive options. The pill has been approved by the FDA, and there are no long-term effects on future fertility. A woman may go on to have healthy pregnancies after using the abortion pill, says the Feminist Women's Health Center (March 23, 2009).

What is the Abortion Pill?

  • RU-486, commonly known as the abortion pill, is a prescription drug used to terminate an early pregnancy. In the United States it is sold as Mifeprex or Early Option, according to RU486Facts.org.

How Does it Work?

  • RU-486 works by blocking progesterone, a hormone that is needed to continue a pregnancy, with the drug Mifepristone, an artificial steroid. Misoprostol, a prostaglandin, is given 48 hours later to induce uterine contractions and expel the embryo, says the Feminist Women's Health Center (March 23, 2009).

When should I take the Abortion Pill?

  • The abortion pill must only be taken if it has been LESS than 49 days from your last menstrual period. When taken later, the effectiveness drops and the incidence of complications can occur, according to RU-486Facts.org.

    When both drugs are taken as directed, the effectiveness can be 95-97% if taken within the first two weeks of pregnancy, according to Feminist Women's Health Center (March 23, 2009).

Where Can I get the Abortion Pill?

  • Only doctors who meet stringent qualifications are supplied Mifepristone. The abortion pill is not available for purchase over the counter and is not legally sold on the Internet.

    Clinics with a high rate of abortions are more likely to offer RU-486 as an option, according to RU486Facts.org

Side Effects

  • The side effects of the abortion pill are heavy bleeding, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and painful cramping. These are mainly caused by the second drug administered, Misoprostol.

Misconceptions

  • RU-486, the abortion pill, is not the same as the morning after pill, which is known as Plan B. They are two completely different medications that are to be used for different situations.
    Plan B, or the "Morning After Pill," contains the same medications as regular birth control and is meant to prevent pregnancy. The abortion pill is used to terminate an existing pregnancy after is has been established, the Feminist Women's Health Center (March 23, 2009) clearly states.

Warnings

  • If you have certain conditions the abortion pill may not be for you. Blood-clotting disorders, adrenal failure, severe anemia and inherited porphyria are all reasons that RU-486 may not be a good choice for you. Other factors would be adrenal failure, severe anemia, ectopic pregnancy and an allergy to the medications contained in the abortion pill, says Feminist Women's Health Center (March 23, 2009).
    A woman must carefully consider all risk factors before taking any abortion pill.
    An increased risk of sepsis (a severe infection in the blood), is also reported with RU-486, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

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