The abortion pill seems to be shrouded in mystery. What is it? How does it work? Are there any side effects?

One thing’s for sure — abortion is a serious medical procedure and women who are facing an unexpected pregnancy should be empowered with the facts and information they need to make an informed choice.

Your friends at The Pregnancy Clinic are here to help!


What is the abortion pill? 

The abortion pill, also known as a medical abortion, is a chemical approach to ending a pregnancy within the first 11 weeks of gestation. A medical abortion uses two pills to induce a miscarriage and expel the pregnancy from the uterus.

How does the abortion pill work?

Mifepristone, the first medication, is usually administered at an abortion clinic or doctor’s office and prevents the production of progesterone. Progesterone is the naturally occurring hormone that keeps the pregnancy healthy and growing. Without it, the pregnancy cannot survive.

Once Mifepristone ends the pregnancy, the second medication, Misoprostol, is taken to force contractions and expel the pregnancy. Misoprostol is taken at home about 24-48 hours after Mifepristone, meaning the abortion is usually not completed in a medical setting.

Women can expect to pass the pregnancy tissue in the form of large blood clots, sometimes as large as a lemon.


What are the side effects of the abortion pill?

Women can typically expect to experience abdominal pain, intense cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding.

Additionally, the abortion pill can result in more serious, and sometimes fatal infections, and lasting mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.1

What should I do before I take the abortion pill? 

Women considering the abortion pill should first receive a lab-quality pregnancy test from their local pregnancy center. Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you should schedule a no-cost ultrasound, which will give you essential insight into your pregnancy that will help clarify your abortion options and identify any significant risks you should be aware of.

The Pregnancy Clinic is here to help you navigate this challenging season and provide you with no-cost healthcare and options counseling so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your future!

  1. Reardon DC. The abortion and mental health controversy: A comprehensive literature review of common ground agreements, disagreements, actionable recommendations, and research opportunities. SAGE open medicine. 2018;6: 1–38. 10.1177/2050312118807624 . [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]