- The abortion pill is two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol.
- The abortion pill is typically prescribed for up to 11 weeks of pregnancy.
- Mifepristone blocks progesterone, a hormone needed for a healthy pregnancy.
- Misoprostol — typically taken 48 hours after the first pill — induces early labor to expel the growing embryo. Misoprostol is a medication originally intended to prevent ulcers.
Many board-certified OB/GYN physicians caution taking mifepristone for use at home without on-site medical supervision. Dr. Catherine Stark, an OB/GYN physician who has cared for thousands of pregnant women over the past 25 years, warns that the rapid expansion of the availability of this strong drug “disregards patient safety and ignores the well-documented side effect profile of this drug.”
A recent study from Canada showed about 10% of women who had at-home abortions with this method required an emergency room visit within six weeks of taking the abortion pill.
The abortion pill process results in symptoms similar to miscarriage: heavy bleeding and spotting for an average of two weeks and cramping.
About half of women taking the abortion pill experience:
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Weakness or fatigue
- Fever, chills, or headaches
Serious side effects include:
- Infection and sepsis
- Ruptured ectopic pregnancy
- Death (28 women have died from taking mifepristone.)
The abortion pill fails in approximately 5% of cases, at which point a surgical abortion is then often recommended.
Women who begin the process of chemical abortion may experience feelings of regret and severe anxiety.
If you have already taken mifepristone, the first of the two pills, but have not yet taken the second pill, it may not be too late. A progesterone treatment commonly used to prevent miscarriages may be able to help.