Medical abortion has been available in the United States for over a decade. Like surgical abortions, it is a safe option that many women consider each year.
Medical abortion is actually a combination of two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol. It is safe and effective when used within nine weeks of pregnancy. Your doctor will explain to you how medical abortions works in more detail but generally when you take the mifepristone it blocks the hormone progesterone levels that are needed to maintain a successful pregnancy. Due to the blockage of this hormone, the uterine lining begins to shed, the cervix is softened and bleeding (an indication of abortion) may occur. The bleeding may be light much like spotting towards the end of a menstrual period or heavy. In some cases, you may experience no bleeding until you take the second pill, which is the misoprostol. Misoprostol will be taken orally or inserted vaginally within 48 hours of taking the mifepristone. It causes uterine contractions (cramps) and expels the uterine contents from the body.
Medical abortions are not recommended if you have certain medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, bleeding problems or hypertension or if you use an intra-uterine device. It is ineffective in the case of ectopic pregnancy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that 95 women out of every 100 have aborted successfully via a medical abortion in the first nine weeks of pregnancy. Moreover, with medical abortions, the risk of infection is very low and maternal death is virtually non-existent.
Medical abortions are provided through a doctor’s office or clinic. Many women choose it to avoid surgery. Others feel that a medical abortion is more private because they can end their pregnancy at home. Some feel that it is more natural than a surgical abortion. In addition, you must be able to commit to two or more visits to the clinic.
For a list of clinics that offer medical abortions go to: