You have important questions about the abortion pill.  Is it legal? Is it as easy as it sounds?  Is it the same thing as Plan B? What if I take the pill, then change my mind? At the Pregnancy Care Center, we want to help you get the answers you need to make an informed decision.

What is The Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill is currently legal for pregnancies of 10 weeks or less in Massachusetts from the first day of your last period, it requires a prescription from a doctor or medical professional, and–as with any abortion procedure–carries risks.  Also known as medical, chemical, or self-managed abortion, the abortion pill involves taking two different medications. Mifepristone, the first pill, prevents the womb from absorbing progesterone, the hormone needed for fetal growth. This causes the embryo to die. Misoprostol, the second pill, is taken up to 48 hours later and causes the uterus to contract and expel the embryo from your body. The procedure sometimes requires two office visits where you receive the medications, but can require one visit or none at all.  In each scenario, you are typically at home when the embryo is expelled. 

What are the risks and side effects of the abortion pill?

According to Mayo Clinic, in addition to the heavy bleeding that occurs as the embryo is expelled from the uterus after taking the abortion pill, side effects can include abdominal or back pain, cramping, diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, and headache.

Less common effects include severe bleeding that soaks more than two thick pads within an hour, a fever that lasts longer than 24 hours, vaginal discharge with foul-smelling odor, and severe back or abdominal pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

If[AM1] [FA2]  you have symptoms of a pregnancy or do not get your period after two months, contact your doctor.

Here is a list of the possible risks and side effects that all women should be aware of after taking the abortion pill.

  • An average of 9-16 days of bleeding (1 in 100 women bleed enough to require surgery to stop the bleeding)
  • Infection
  • Undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy
  • Failed abortion (live birth)
  • Incomplete abortion requiring surgery
  • Emotional trauma from seeing embryonic parts expelled
  • Feelings of sadness, stress, or guilt

Who can take the abortion pill?

The Cleveland Cliniclists that women with certain risk factors should NOT take the abortion pill. If you think any of these conditions apply to you, or are unsure, be sure to have an exam by your doctor to understand your personal risk factors.

  • A pregnancy that is beyond 10 weeks
  • An ectopic pregnancy
  • Currently using an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Hormonal imbalance (adrenal gland problems or long-term corticosteroid use)
  • Bleeding problems (clotting disorders, blood thinner use)
  • Allergies to mifepristone or misoprostol
  • Lack access to emergency medical care
  • Unable to have a follow-up visit

Should I take abortion pills that I ordered online?

Some websites allow women to order the abortion pill online and administer the pills at home without the in-person involvement of a doctor or medical professional. No medical exam beforehand. No ultrasound to confirm the stage of pregnancy.  No close medical supervision.  Consuming abortion pills ordered online without a prior in person exam and ultrasound or follow up appointment to assess bleeding, infection, and perform an exam can have serious health risks.

Second Thoughts?

If you have taken the abortion pill but changed your mind after taking the FIRST pill, it may not be too late. Using progesterone, doctors have successfully reversed the effects of the abortion pill, resulting in a continued pregnancy.  Again, this reversal is only possible after taking the first pill (mifepristone).  If you’re having second thoughts, act quickly. Go to, or call their 24/7 hotline at 877-558-0333.

Before You Decide

No matter what you decide, the most important first two steps for your health and safety are a pregnancy test and an ultrasound. These will confirm your pregnancy, determine how far along you are, and show if the pregnancy is located in your uterus.  The Pregnancy Care Center offers a free, self-administered pregnancy test with results available at the time of your visit. If your test is positive, you will be referred for a free ultrasound conducted onsite by medical professionals, often performed the same day. Your ultrasound will empower you with facts to help you make your decisionIt will help determine how many days or weeks pregnant you are and where the pregnancy is located. These facts will help you determine what options are the best for you and how much time you have to make your decision.

For confidential, compassionate support, someone to talk to about the decisions you’re facing, or for an ultrasound referral, schedule your free appointment today.