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I am a little over 4 weeks pregnant. What can I do? Will the “day after pill” work or do I need to get a medical abortion?

The morning-after pill will NOT work if you’re already pregnant — so if you're already pregnant and don't want to be, you may be able to get an abortion. The morning-after pill, also known as emergency contraception (EC), helps prevent pregnancy before it happens; an abortion ends an existing pregnancy.

There are 2 types of abortion: abortion pills (also called medication abortion), and in-clinic abortions (also called surgical abortions). The abortion pill ends a pregnancy with medicine. In-clinic abortions are done in a health center by a trained doctor or nurse using medical instruments and gentle suction to remove the pregnancy from your uterus. Medication abortion works up to 11 weeks after the first day of your last period. If it’s been longer than that, you may be able to have an in-clinic abortion to end your pregnancy. 

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which means that states can now ban abortion. Some states have banned abortion or created lots of restrictions. But abortion is still legal in many states, and it's legal to go to a different state to get an abortion. Abortion is NOT banned nationwide.

Laws about abortion are changing very quickly. You can find more information about laws in your state and how to get an abortion from your local Planned Parenthood health center or abortionfinder.org.

How late you can get an abortion depends on the laws in your state and which doctor’s office or health center you go to. But it can be harder to find a nurse or doctor who will give you an abortion after your 12th week of pregnancy, so it’s best to try to have your abortion as soon as possible. 

The morning-after pill is very different than the abortion pill. The morning-after pill helps prevent pregnancy BEFORE it happens. Pregnancy doesn’t happen right after sex — it actually takes a couple of days for a sperm and egg to meet, and start the pregnancy process. The morning-after pill works by temporarily stopping ovulation, so there's no egg for sperm to meet up with and fertilize.  You take it within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex — the sooner you take it, the better it works. 

Tags: Abortion, abortion pill, pregnancy options, emergency contraception, morning after pill