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The Abortion Pill

RU- 486, also called Medical Abortion

Up to 9 weeks from last period

The abortion pill (also known as mifepristone, misoprostol or RU-486) is an abortion method where certain drugs are used to terminate an early pregnancy. The FDA recommends these medications are used within the first 49 days after a woman’s last menstrual period, but in practice they are given up to 63 days (9 weeks from last period).

Different combinations of medications are used. These drugs cause labor to occur and stop implantation of the embryo. Compared with surgical abortion, medical abortions take longer to complete, require more active patient participation, and are associated with higher reported rates of bleeding and cramping.  The embryo will be expelled at home, and a few women will still require surgical evacuation to complete the abortion. This does not require surgery or anesthesia, but does require multiple visits to the doctor.

Risks & Complications

The drugs used will cause bleeding and cramping. According to Planned Parenthood, it’s normal to have some bleeding or spotting for up to four weeks after the abortion.

The drugs may also cause side effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever and chills.

If a woman is still pregnant after trying a medical abortion, she will have to have a surgical abortion.

For more information on First Trimester Abortions and other pregnancy and sexual health concerns check out http://americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/medical-abortions/ 

Our appointments are confidential.  Every year we help hundreds of women facing unplanned pregnancies, and understand the importance of privacy.

We’re here for you. Call North Care Women’s Clinic at 215-855-2424 to schedule an appointment to get your questions answered.

“Frequently Asked Questions: 168: Pregnancy: Pregnancy Choices: Raising the Baby, Adoption and Abortion.”  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.acog.org. February 2013. Web. January 27, 2015.
“Frequently Asked Questions: 043: Special Procedures: Induced Abortion.”  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. acog.org. October 2011. Web. January 26, 2015.
“Practice Bulletin: Medical Management of First-Trimester Abortion.”  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. acog.org. March 2014. Web. January 27, 2015.
“Methods and Medical Risks.” Department of Health and Hospitals, State of Louisiana. dhh.louisiana.gov. Web. January 28, 2015.
Breborowicz, GH. ”Limits of Fetal Liability and its Enhancements.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. January 5, 2001. Web. January 27, 2015.
Boonstra, Heather. “Medication Abortion Restrictions Burden Women and Providers-and Threaten U.S. Trend Toward Very Early Abortion.” Guttmacher Institute. Guttmacher.org, Winter 2013.Web. January 27, 2015.
Brown, Haywood L. “Stages of Development of the Fetus.” The Merck Manual Home Edition .MerckManuals.com April 2014. Web. January 27, 2015
Templeton, Allan and Grimes, David. “The New England Journal of Medicine: A Request for Abortion.”  nejm.org. The New England Journal of Medicine. December 8, 2011. Web. January 25, 2015.
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