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The Abortion Pill: What You Need to Know

If you’re visiting this page, you probably received a flyer entitled “The Abortion Pill: What You Need to Know.” This flyer was published by the Pro-Life Action League to share the facts about medical abortion with the American people.

You can order copies of this flyer from the Pro-Life Action Store.

How do abortion pills work?

The abortion pill—or medication abortion—is the common name for using two different medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, to cause an early abortion. It should not be confused with Plan B, the “morning after pill,” or other forms of emergency contraception.

In a medication abortion, a pregnant woman first ingests a tablet of mifepristone, also known as Mifeprex or RU-486, which blocks her body from producing progesterone. Without progesterone, the lining of her uterus breaks down, effectively starving her embryo or fetus and causing its death.

Then, within 48 hours, she takes a dose of misoprostol, causing heavy contractions which expel the contents of the uterus, including the embryonic or fetal remains. (Note: It is also possible to cause an early abortion with misoprostol alone, though this is uncommon in the U.S.)

The abortion pill now accounts for more than half of all abortions in the U.S. But are there any possible complications? What is it like to undergo a medication abortion? What else do women need to know?

How safe is the abortion pill?

While it is often claimed that abortion pills are safe, we don’t actually know how safe these drugs are. In fact, the FDA stopped tracking non-fatal complications associated with mifepristone in 2016. Moreover, independent investigators report that abortion clinic staff routinely instruct women having problems during a medication abortion to seek help elsewhere, and say they’re just having a miscarriage.

In addition to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever, serious complications of the abortion pill include: incomplete abortion, retained products, ectopic pregnancy rupture, uterine rupture, hemorrhage, sepsis, and death. Studies reveal that as many as 20% of all medication abortions result in such complications—four times more than the rate for surgical abortions. And the rate of complications has been increasing in recent years. 

The risk of complications is significantly higher when these pills are dispensed by telemedicine—without a physical exam—or when intentionally prescribed beyond the FDA recommendation of 70 days gestation. Both of these situations are becoming more common.

Finally, loosened FDA restrictions have allowed abusers to slip the drugs into a pregnant woman’s food or drink without her knowledge, exposing her to all these risks, and causing an abortion she does not want. 

Can medication abortion be reversed?

It is possible to reverse the effects of the abortion pill mifepristone, as long as a woman has not already taken the second medication, misoprostol. If after taking the first pill, a woman regrets that decision—as many do—its effects can be reversed with doses of progesterone, allowing the pregnancy to continue.

This protocol is effective in 60% or more of cases. Over 4,000 children have been born as a result of this abortion pill reversal protocol. Learn more at AbortionPillReversal.com.

What is it like to take the abortion pill?

Undergoing a medication abortion is an extremely painful and distressing experience. A Finnish study found that 58% of women feel pain so intense they describe it as “severe.” One woman called it “the most painful experience ever in my life.” Another described “unimaginable agony that had me screaming and thrashing about in desperation and horror.”

The abortion pill causes far more bleeding than a surgical abortion, and may even lead to hemorrhaging. Said one woman, “Clots the size of lemons were falling out of me.” 

Perhaps most upsetting, many women undergoing medication abortion will be confronted with the sight of their unborn child’s remains in their toilet or sanitary pad. 

What about the embryo or fetus?

Medication abortion ends the life of a human being by starving the growing embryo or fetus of nourishment and then expelling its body from its mother’s womb. 

At this stage of human life, facial features and fingernails are forming, the heartbeat can be heard on an ultrasound, and brain activity can be detected.

What can you do to fight medication abortion?

There is a great deal of misinformation about the abortion pill. Most Americans are shocked when they learn that this painful and distressing exposes women to a host of risks, including death. And in every case, it kills an innocent unborn human being.

What can you do about it? Here are some practical suggestions: