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Medication Abortion


Medication Abortion (First Trimester – Available up to 11 Weeks LMP, 12+ weeks in some locations)

The abortion pill goes by many names, including medication abortion, early medical abortion, RU-486, Mifeprex (Mifepristone) and Misoprostol. Women who had their last period within the past 11 weeks (77 days) may choose to terminate a pregnancy through chemical abortion. When used beyond the first trimester, laminaria (small rods) may be used to dilate the cervix.

 Note: Mifepristone is approved by the FDA for use up to 10 weeks after your last menstrual period, but abortion providers may choose to offer the procedure later than that. Misoprostol has not been approved for use in pregnancy.

A chemical abortion, often referred to as the abortion pill, typically requires taking two drugs; the most common drugs used are mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone lowers  progesterone to unsafe levels in pregnancy. Progesterone is a hormone that plays an important role in sustaining a pregnancy and in a baby's development. In a chemical abortion, mifepristone is followed by misoprostol, which brings on labor-like symptoms such as severe cramping and bleeding. When and how these medications are administered may vary based on the laws in your area, and the procedures of the clinic you choose. Women who choose chemical abortion are sometimes responsible for self-managing some (or all) of the procedure, so it’s important to gather as much information as possible as you make a decision about your pregnancy.

In order to make sure you’re protected, here are a few things you can do ahead of time:

Make sure that you are pregnant. Have you had a pregnancy test yet? If so, have you had an ultrasound? Some women seek abortion unnecessarily before finding out that they are pregnant. Since a medication abortion will not end a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy1, your life could be in danger if you do not confirm that you are pregnant with an ultrasound.2

If you’re not sure whether you are pregnant, try our free online pregnancy quiz.

Know how far along you are. Always ask for a doctor or other qualified medical professional (registered nurse or sonographer) to do an ultrasound to make sure you’re pregnant and within the 10 weeks the FDA requires. 

Not sure where to get an ultrasound? Use our locator or call now.

Learn about the procedure. Ask the abortion provider what their procedure is for chemical abortion.

Our free pregnancy help centers can offer education about abortion.

Know your options. Making an abortion decision is not easy, and you do have alternatives. Educating yourself on all options is empowering.

Whenever you need us, we can help. Chat, send us a message, or call/text Option Line 24/7 at 1-800-712-4357.

Stay Safe. Seek medical attention after an abortion if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Heavy bleeding — soaking two or more pads an hour for two hours
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Fever lasting more than 24 hours
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge

 If you’ve already experienced a chemical abortion, learn about support resources in your community. 

If you have recently taken the abortion pill, it may be possible to undo the effects of abortion drugs. Learn more here.

Note: Option Line and our network of participating pregnancy centers offers peer counseling and accurate information about all pregnancy options; however, these centers do not offer or refer for abortion services. The information presented on this website and given through contacting Option Line is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.

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