At Planned Parenthood we are proud of the care we provide, including safe and legal abortion. There are two types of abortions: in-clinic abortion and medication abortion (also called the abortion pill). Both are safe, effective, and very common.
Our staff is trained to answer your questions and provide you with the information and support you need to make an informed decision regarding your pregnancy.
Medication Abortion – The Abortion Pill
“Abortion pill” is the common name for using two different medicines to end a pregnancy. The first (mifepristone) blocks a hormone needed for your pregnancy to continue. The second (misoprostol), taken either right away or up to 48 hours later, causes the uterus to cramp and bleed.
Most people pass the pregnancy in 4-5 hours, but it may take longer. You will have bleeding and cramping that will likely be heavier than your usual period. Afterward, the cramping and bleeding slows down but some light bleeding and spotting may last for a week or two.
You can usually get a medication abortion up to 11 weeks after the first day of your last period. Medication abortion works about 91-98 out of 100 times, depending how far along you are in your pregnancy when you take the medication.
Follow-up is required to ensure the process is complete and that you’re healthy. A small number of people taking these medications will need an in-clinic suction procedure either because the pregnancy did not completely pass or to stop bleeding.
Medication abortion is provided at all of our health centers.
Abortion Pill via telemedicine: The TelAbortion Study
The purpose of this study is to evaluate a service through which a patient can obtain medical abortion pills by mail without coming in person to the clinic. Each study participant will be evaluated by videoconference, then obtain an ultrasound and other tests at facilities near home before and after the procedure. The study will use the same medicines that are used for all medical abortions at PPCW. The purpose of the study is to improve access to abortion for people who may find it challenging to come to clinics due to distance, the costs of travel, the need for childcare, lost wages, or for other reasons. The study has been approved by an ethics board. It is being coordinated by a nonprofit research organization. Participation in the study is confidential. Participant names will not be included in study data or be shared with anyone besides PPCW providers.
You may qualify for this study if you:
- Are pregnant and want a medical abortion
- Live in Oregon or Washington
- Are not more than 69 days pregnant (10 weeks)
- Have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a webcam and microphone
- Can read English
If you would like to find out more, please call PPCW at 1-888-576-7526 to make an appointment with our study coordinator.
Suction abortion (also called vacuum aspiration) is the most common type of in-clinic abortion. It uses gentle suction to remove the pregnancy from your uterus. Medications are given to control pain and/or anxiety, if needed. The abortion itself takes 5–10 minutes, but your appointment will take longer because you’ll have an exam, review paperwork, and stay in the recovery room for up to an hour after.
During the procedure, and for a short time after, you may experience strong cramping. Bleeding like a period or spotting may last for up to two weeks after the procedure.
In-clinic abortion works more than 99 out of every 100 times.
In-clinic abortions up to 17 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy are provided at several of our health centers.
What to Expect
Pregnant patients are counseled on all of the options available to them for the pregnancy. Each patient is given specific and detailed information on the abortion procedure they have chosen.
Your health history will be reviewed to screen for any possible health problems. An ultrasound is done to determine how many weeks pregnant you are. Blood will be drawn to check your Rh Status and to check for anemia (low iron). Other testing may be done if needed.
All patients are offered a birth control method (contraception) and instructed in its use so you can start using it as soon as the abortion is completed. In certain situations, multiple visits may be required.
Full payment is expected on the day of the abortion. We do not accept checks. If you have private health insurance, Oregon Health Plan (OHP), or Washington State Medicaid (DSHS), please call our Patient Access Center at 1.888.576.7526 for assistance.
What to expect before or after having an abortion?
You will get written after-care instructions and a phone number you can call if you have any questions or concerns. You may have to come back for a checkup or lab work after your procedure.
Plan on resting after your abortion. You can usually go back to work, school and most other normal activities the next day. Avoid hard work or heavy exercise for a few days. You can use pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup for any bleeding — whatever is the most comfortable for you. Your provider may recommend you use pads so you can track how much you’re bleeding. You can have sex as soon as you feel ready. If you’re not feeling well after a couple of days, call us.
It’s normal to have a lot of different emotions after your abortion. Everyone’s experience is different, and there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to feel. Most people are relieved. Others may feel sadness, guilt, or regret. These feelings aren’t unique to having an abortion – people feel many different emotions after giving birth, too. If your mood keeps you from doing the things you usually do each day, call us for help. You can also call Exhale or All-Options for free, confidential, and non-judgmental emotional support after an abortion – no matter how you’re feeling.
Pregnancy After Abortion
Early, uncomplicated abortion does not affect your ability to become pregnant in the future. In fact, you could become pregnant again at any time if you are not using contraception. Menstrual periods usually return in about 4–8 weeks after the abortion.