How the Abortion Pill Works
Mifepristone is also known as the abortion pill or RU-486 and is prescribed by a doctor within the first seven to ten weeks of pregnancy. Most women don’t really know how it works. Many physicians will tell you that mifepristone is a “light procedure”; or is “relatively quick” and “easy.” That is not always the case. It isn’t light, quick, or easy.
Mifepristone is a drug that blocks the effects of progesterone—a hormone your body needs to grow a healthy baby.
Mifepristone blocks the nurturing effects of progesterone which leads to the death of the developing baby, the embryo or fetus.
The Abortion Pill Process
- A doctor will give a woman considering medical abortion a physical exam to determine if she is eligible for this type of medical abortion procedure. A woman is not eligible if she has any of the following: ectopic pregnancy, ovarian mass, IUD, corticosteroid use, adrenal failure, anemia, bleeding disorders or use of blood thinners, asthma, liver or kidney problems, heart disease, or high blood pressure.
- She may be given antibiotics to prevent infection.
- She will be given an oral dose of mifepristone during her first office visit.
- Misoprostol tablets are taken orally or inserted vaginally about 36 to 72 hours after taking the mifepristone. The tablets will cause contractions and expel the remains of the baby. This process may take a few hours or as long as a few days. The woman will need to be examined by her doctor two weeks later to ensure the abortion was complete and to check for complications.
The procedure is unsuccessful approximately 5-10% of the time with the potential of requiring an additional surgical abortion procedure to complete the termination.
A woman considering medical abortion should also read up on the many side effects and risks of mifepristone and misoprostol.