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The abortion pill goes by many names. RU-486, medication abortion, and medical abortion are all used to describe this abortion method. Most people think because it involves taking pills and is earlier in a pregnancy that it’s a less intense kind of abortion. The reality is, abortion in any form is a serious medical procedure with potential side effects and risks.

If you need help understanding your options when it comes to abortion or unplanned pregnancy, we can help! We offer free and confidential pregnancy services and options counseling so you can make an educated decision.

What Is The Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill is actually a series of two pills prescribed by a doctor at a clinic or hospital.

The first pill, mifepristone, is taken at the clinic where the abortion is prescribed. It causes the lining of your uterus to thin so the fetus cannot remain implanted. This ends the pregnancy.

The second pill, misoprostol, is taken anywhere from 24-48 hours later at home. It causes contractions so your body can expel the pregnancy. Misoprostol causes bleeding and cramping that can start as soon as 30 minutes after you take it and last for several hours or more.

Abortion Pill Risks & Side Effects

Because the abortion pill is a prescription and not surgical, many women don’t understand or know that there are risks involved. To make a fully-informed decision, it’s important to know about every potential risk and side effect so you can be prepared and make the decision that’s best for you now and in your future.

Side Effects

You can experience these side effects right away and they can last several hours or a couple of weeks. If they last longer than two weeks, you should contact your doctor immediately.

  • Bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blood clots
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Mild fever


In addition to the above side effects, there are also short- and long-term risks you should be aware of:

  • Infection
  • Long-lasting fever
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Blood clots in your uterus
  • Incomplete abortion

Every now and then a medication abortion doesn’t work. In this case, you will likely need to have a surgical abortion to complete the procedure.

When Can I Take The Abortion Pill?

RU-486 was created for early pregnancy termination. FDA guidelines restrict the use of the abortion pill for the first nine weeks of pregnancy. After that, the pregnancy will be too developed and require a surgical abortion to complete.

Knowing the timing and location of your pregnancy is extremely important before taking the abortion pill. If you are more than nine weeks into your pregnancy, you will need a surgical abortion which is more invasive and can be more expensive.

Can I Order IT Online?

While many websites claim to sell RU-486 online, it actually isn’t safe or legal to order it this way. The FDA stipulates that a doctor must prescribe the abortion pill, which doesn’t always happen when ordered online.

Additionally, there’s huge potential for scam when ordering the abortion pill online. You can’t guarantee the country of origin for the drugs, that they will be in the correct dosages, or that they will arrive in time.

You may feel a sense of urgency and think ordering the abortion pill online is the most efficient and best way to proceed, but it comes with too many risks to your health. You deserve better than the potential serious side effects involved. Your health is too important to risk taking fake or faulty pills.

What Should I Do Before Taking The Abortion Pill?

If you are considering taking the abortion pill, the first thing you should do is get an ultrasound. We offer them for free at True Care Women’s Resource Center.

An ultrasound is important because it will tell you how far along you are and where the pregnancy is located. The timing of your pregnancy matters because if you take the abortion pill too late it won’t be effective. You can sometimes guess how far along you are based on the date of your last period, but an ultrasound will let you know with much more accuracy.

The location of the pregnancy matters, too. While rare, sometimes the embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus, most often in the Fallopian tubes. This is called an ectopic pregnancy, which requires immediate medical attention. 

Before Taking The Abortion Pill — We Can Help!

We’re here to help you navigate the options you have for your unplanned pregnancy. Please contact us today to schedule a free ultrasound or appointment to talk about your other options. We’re here for you!

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