Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

Someone asked us: What is mifepristone? I keep seeing stuff about it in the news. Is mifepristone Plan B? Can you get it over the counter?

What is mifepristone?

Mifepristone is one of 2 medicines that you take to have a medication abortion. The other medicine is misoprostol. 

You take mifepristone first — it blocks a hormone in your body which ends the pregnancy. Then you take misoprostol — it causes cramping and bleeding that makes the pregnancy tissue come out of your uterus through your vagina

These medicines are sometimes called “abortion pills,” and they’re a very safe way to have an early abortion.

You can also safely have a medication abortion using only misoprostol.

Is mifepristone a morning-after pill?

Nope — these are actually very different medicines. Abortion pills like mifepristone end a pregnancy that already exists. Morning-after pills like Plan B help stop you from getting pregnant in the first place.

Morning-after pills — also called emergency contraception — are a type of birth control. They help delay ovulation, so sperm and egg can’t meet. You can take the morning-after pill up to 5 days after unprotected sex, before pregnancy has a chance to happen. But morning-after pills won’t cause an abortion if you’re already pregnant.

Mifepristone helps cause an abortion — you use it when you’re pregnant. You can use abortion pills up to 11 weeks after the first day of your last period.

Can you get mifepristone over the counter?

No. You can only get mifepristone from a doctor or nurse  — like the ones at Planned Parenthood — or other abortion providers. And you can only get mifepristone in states where abortion is legal.

Can you get morning-after pills over the counter?

Yup! You can get most morning-after pills like Plan B over the counter without a prescription at drug stores, grocery stores, superstores, and online. Morning-after pills are legal nationwide. Anyone can buy them, no matter your age or gender. 

There is one type of morning-after pill that you need a prescription for, called ella. It prevents pregnancy the same way Plan B-type pills do, but it’s more effective — especially if you weigh more than 165 pounds. You can get a prescription for ella from your nurse or doctor, your nearest Planned Parenthood health center, or online with quick shipping

Tags: Abortion, abortion pill, emergency contraception, the morning-after pill, medication, mifepristone

Explore more on


This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.