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What is the abortion pill?

Medication abortion — also called the abortion pill — is a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy.  

How does the abortion pill work?

“Abortion pill” is the popular name for using two different medicines to end a pregnancy: mifepristone and misoprostol.

Your doctor or nurse will give you the first pill, mifepristone, at the clinic. Pregnancy needs a hormone called progesterone to grow normally. Mifepristone blocks your body’s own progesterone. You’ll also get some antibiotics.

You use the second medicine, misoprostol, 6-48 hours later, usually at home. This medicine causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus. It’s kind of like having a really heavy, crampy period, and the process is very similar to an early miscarriage.

How effective is the abortion pill?

The abortion pill is very effective. For people who are 8 weeks pregnant or less, it works about 98 out of 100 times. From 8-9 weeks pregnant, it works about 96 out of 100 times. From 9-10 weeks, it works 93 out of 100 times.

The abortion pill usually works, but if it doesn’t, you can take more medicine or have an in-clinic abortion to complete the abortion.

When can I take the abortion pill?

You usually can get a medication abortion up to 70 days (10 weeks) after the first day of your last period. If it has been 71 days or more since the first day of your last period, you can have an in-clinic abortion to end your pregnancy.

Why do people choose the abortion pill?

Which kind of abortion you choose all depends on your personal preference and situation. With medication abortion, some people like that you don’t need to have a procedure in a doctor’s office. You can have your medication abortion at home or in another comfortable place that you choose. You get to decide who you want to be with during your abortion, or you can go it alone. Because medication abortion is similar to a miscarriage, many people feel like it’s more “natural” and less invasive.

Your doctor, nurse, or health center staff can help you decide which kind of abortion is best for you.

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