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Abortion Pill Facts

Are you looking into options for an unplanned pregnancy? If you or someone you know is seeking information about the abortion pill, here are some introductory abortion pill facts we hope you will find helpful. For further abortion pill facts, additional details, what to expect when using the abortion pill, and other questions you may have about the abortion pill or other abortion options, we hope you will contact us at Avenue Women’s Center.

Avenue Women’s Center is the first step for women in the western suburbs of Chicagoland who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. We have over thirty-six years of experience working with women of all ages in many different circumstances. Every woman’s situation is unique, and it is our commitment to meet every client with understanding, respect, and genuine compassion. We provide helpful information about all options, and a nonjudgmental listening ear to aid in the decision-making process. Many of our services are free, including a private, confidential pregnancy consultation with one of our caring client advocates. Please read through this article for basic abortion pill facts. Then we hope you will contact us for an appointment and allow us to serve you.

Abortion Pill Facts

1. The abortion pill is used in a medical abortion; it is an alternative to a surgical abortion procedure.

There are two options for abortion in the early stages of pregnancy. In a surgical abortion, generally speaking, the doctor dilates the cervix, the opening of the uterus, and uses surgical instruments (suction and/or curette) to remove the pregnancy. A medical abortion utilizes medications, first to stop the growth of the pregnancy, then to cause uterine contractions to expel the pregnancy.

2. The “abortion pill” is really more than just one pill.

The medical abortion with the “abortion pill,” also known as RU-486, actually uses a combination of two drugs. Most frequently used are Mifeprix (generic name: Mifepristone) and Misoprostol.

3. A medication abortion is a two-part process.

Mifeprix is typically administered first by a certified healthcare provider in an abortion clinic or medical office. Misoprostol is commonly taken at home 24-48 hours later, according to the doctor’s instructions. As there is typically a required return visit to the clinic two weeks after the procedure to confirm the abortion is complete, it may actually be considered a three-part process.

4. Distribution and use of the abortion pill is regulated by the FDA for consumer safety reasons.

For reasons of public safety, the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) has mandated certain protocols for distribution and use of the abortion pill. From the FDA document, Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information*, here are the details of the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for Mifeprex:

  • “Mifeprex must be ordered, prescribed and dispensed by or under the supervision of a healthcare provider who prescribes and who meets certain qualifications;
  • “Healthcare providers who wish to prescribe Mifeprex must complete a Prescriber Agreement Form prior to ordering and dispensing Mifeprex;
  • “Mifeprex may only be dispensed in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider;
  • “The healthcare provider must obtain a signed Patient Agreement Form before dispensing Mifeprex.
  • “Healthcare providers who prescribe Mifeprex are required under FDA regulations to provide the patient with a copy of the Mifeprex Medication Guide (FDA-approved information for patients).”

A specific prescribed dosage regimen for Mifeprex is to be followed by the provider.

5. The abortion pill is not advised for women in certain circumstances.

Mifeprix is approved by the FDA for use only up until week 10 of pregnancy (day 70 after the first day of the last menstrual period.) According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), medical abortion is not advised for women who are anemic, have bleeding disorders or are taking blood clotting medication, kidney or liver disorders, acute inflammatory bowel disease, a seizure disorder, or who are using an IUD (intrauterine device).

A medical abortion must not be used in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.

6. It’s important that you be aware of the potential side effects and risks before using the abortion pill.

Although a medical abortion is generally considered to be a safe means for terminating a pregnancy, as with any medical procedure the possibility of risks and complications needs to be recognized. As part of the medical abortion process, the following are anticipated, “normal” side effects: heavy bleeding, including the passing of tissue and clots, and intense cramping, stronger than a normal menstrual period. Additional common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mild fever or chills. Your doctor should advise you what to watch for that might indicate more serious complications.

It’s important to be aware, too, that a medication abortion may be unsuccessful approximately 2-8% of the time. That’s why the post-abortion check up at the clinic is required to be certain there is no pregnancy tissue remaining inside the uterus. If this is the case, a surgical procedure may be necessary to complete the abortion.

After reading this, you may have questions or want to process through your decision with someone. That’s why we so strongly encourage you to come and meet with a client advocate at Avenue Women’s Center at one of our locations in Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, or Wood Dale, Illinois—not only for abortion pill facts, but for all the support you need at this challenging time. Please contact us by call, text, email or chat. It will be our honor to assist and serve you!


  • US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2016, March). Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information. Retrieved from:
  • US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2016, March). Questions & Answers on Mifeprex. Retrieved from:
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (2015, May). Induced Abortion FAQ. Retrieved from:
  • American Pregnancy Association. (2017, April). Medical Abortion Procedures. Retrieved from:
  • American Pregnancy Association. (2017, June).Abortion Pill. 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.