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8 Things to Know About the Abortion Pill

When making a decision, one of the most important things we can do is get as much information as possible about that decision. It’s especially important when considering a decision that has to do with our health and well-being.

If you would like to talk with someone about an abortion decision you are facing, please consider calling Avenue Women’s Center. Each of our compassionate team members is here because we care about providing women with excellent early pregnancy support. As a Chicagoland nonprofit, we are able to offer free consultations. To schedule one, or to learn more, please contact us today.

Whether to take the abortion pill is one of those decisions when it’s important to be well-informed since it is a serious medical process. Maybe you or someone you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy, and is contemplating moving forward with the abortion pill. Here are 8 things to know about the abortion pill:

  1. The abortion pill can be taken up until 10 weeks along in a pregnancy. Pregnancies are typically dated from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period. Dating is most accurately confirmed via ultrasound.
  2. While referred to as “the abortion pill”, a medication abortion is often the combination of two pills being used in conjunction: Mifepristone and Misoprostol. Other US Brand names it may go by include Mifeprex or Korlym. It is also referred to as RU-486.
  3. The abortion pill is only legally available and distributed through a certified healthcare provider who meets FDA qualifications.
  4. The whole process of the abortion pill requires at least two doctor visits. It is important that women attend all scheduled visits. The first visit may involve the ingesting of pills. Additional pills are typically ingested hours later, often at the woman’s home. The final visit is a follow-up / check-up to make sure the pill worked in full.
  5. Bleeding and Cramping during the abortion process can last several weeks. Women need to communicate clearly with their doctors to assess whether their symptoms are normal or of concern.
  6. Some common side effects of the abortion pill are nausea, fever, chills and vomiting. Again, women must stay in communication with their doctors in order to know whether their symptoms are normal or of concern.
  7. While usually successful, the abortion pill does come with the possibility of failing to complete the abortion. The FDA Patient Agreement form states that the treatment will not work for approximately 2 to 7 out of 100 women, meaning those women will discover a failed abortion attempt and a continuation of their pregnancy. In such cases, some abortion clinics will opt for a second medication attempt. Other clinics may indicate a surgical abortion is necessary to complete the termination.
  8. There are some situations where the abortion pill will not be effective in terminating the pregnancy. When implantation occurs outside of the uterus this is referred to as an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies may be identified via ultrasound. The abortion pill cannot be taken to resolve an ectopic pregnancy; instead, medical help should be immediately sought.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when looking into taking the abortion pill. Your health and safety should always come first when making decisions about any medical procedure. We hope that this general information has been helpful to you, and that you would continue to honestly share with your doctor about your personal health situation.

Along with the physical considerations of a medical procedure, such as the abortion pill, it is also important to allow yourself space to process the emotional aspects as well. Many women facing an unplanned pregnancy find themselves feeling hopeless, scared and out of options. If you are one of these women, please know that you are not alone. Avenue Women’s Center is here to sensitively help you navigate your steps, and explore your options. Here at Avenue Women’s Center, we do our best to make sure you are getting the best support and care possible. We understand unexpected pregnancy decisions are not always easy, and we hope that you will look to Avenue Women’s Center for a helping hand. We care about you and your unique situation.

We have previously posted about “Benefits of the Abortion Pill.” Today we are posting “8 Things to Know About the Abortion Pill.” We always hope that our articles are helpful, but they are never a substitute for personal care. To talk through your pregnancy situation and decisions, we hope you will call or text us today.


  • Mayo Clinic. (2017, March). Mifepristone (Oral Route). Retrieved from:
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015, May). Induced Abortion. Retrieved from:
  • US Food and Drug Administration. (2016, March). Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information. Retrieved from:
  • US Food and Drug Administration. (2016, March). Approved Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS). Retrieved from:

Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.