Helping Seniors Live Healthier Lives

The Abortion Pill: What Every Woman Should Know

There are two main abortion procedures available in the United States today: surgical abortions and medical abortions. While both work well to terminate pregnancies, these two abortion types differ greatly and each has its unique advantages and disadvantages. 

Read on to learn more about medical abortions, including how they work, their advantages, and more. 

How Medical Abortions Work

Medical abortions can be performed until the 10th week of pregnancy. This abortion type starts with a trip to a medical professional who typically first examines a patient to confirm that she is pregnant, then prescribes her two pills that work together to terminate her pregnancy. One pill contains the medication mifepristone, while the other contains a medication called misoprostol.

A woman typically takes the mifepristone pill inside of the administering doctor's office. This medication terminates the pregnancy. Then, 24- to 72-hours later, she returns to the physician's office to take the misoprostol pill, which encourages the body to expel the contents of her uterus. As the misoprostol pill performs this task, a woman typically experiences cramping and bleeding for two to four weeks. 

Finally, after bleeding and cramping have ceased, the patient returns to the doctor for a follow-up exam to ensure the medications worked effectively to terminate the pregnancy and the woman is experiencing no health problems as a result of the termination process, such as infection. 

Keep in mind that some states require pre-abortion counseling before every surgical or medical abortion is performed, so you may need to obtain this counseling before taking the abortion pill if it is required in your state. 

Medical Abortion Advantages and Disadvantages 

The abortion pill has advantages and disadvantages when compared to a traditional surgical abortion. 

Like surgical abortion, medical abortion is very effective when performed properly. In fact, when performed during the 9th week of pregnancy or earlier, the medical abortion has a 99.6 percent success rate. In addition, unlike during the performance of surgical abortion, there is no risk of uterine perforation when taking the abortion pill. Finally, many women simply prefer the medical abortion process, because it is considered less invasive than surgical abortion. 

However, many women experience more cramping and bleeding during a medical abortion than they experience after a surgical abortion is completed. In addition, in the rare case that the abortion pills do not work as effectively as they should, a surgical abortion is often required to complete the pregnancy termination process. 

Every woman today should understand how the abortion pill works and the advantages and disadvantages of medical abortions when compared to their surgical pregnancy termination. The abortion pill has a high pregnancy termination effectiveness rate and is a good option for women who would prefer a less-invasive abortion option.