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The Abortion Pill | Planned Parenthood Video

The abortion pill is a medicine called mifepristone that ends an early pregnancy. In general, it’s used up to 77 days — 11 weeks — after the first day of your last period. Patients over this mark can have an in-clinic abortion procedure.

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In the United States, abortion is a safe and legal way to end a pregnancy. There are two kinds of abortion: in-clinic abortion and medication abortion, also known as the abortion pill.

You can usually take the abortion pill during the first 11 weeks of pregnancy. If you’re more than 11 weeks pregnant, ask your nurse or doctor about in-clinic abortion.

On screen question: What happens when I take the abortion pill?

When you use the abortion pill, you actually take 2 different medicines to end a pregnancy: mifepristone and misoprostol.

First, you’ll take mifepristone. Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone, which stops your pregnancy from developing.

Then you take the second medicine, misoprostol, either right away or up to 2 days later. This causes cramping and bleeding that empties your uterus. The cramping and bleeding can last for several hours, so plan ahead to make the process more comfortable. You can be at home, or wherever is comfortable for you to rest. Taking a hot shower, using a heating pad, or taking ibuprofen or medicine from your nurse or doctor can help with cramps. Your nurse or doctor will give you written instructions and a number you can call with any questions, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For most people, the process takes about 5 hours, but it may take up to 24 hours to be totally finished. The abortion pill process is very similar to an early miscarriage. It’s normal to have lots of cramping and bleeding, and to pass clots and tissue — like a really heavy period. You may also have an upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness, or a mild fever.

You may be tired and have a little cramping for a day or two afterwards, but you can go back to work or school the next day if you feel up to it.

The last step is a follow up with your nurse or doctor to make sure the abortion worked and that you’re healthy.

On screen question: What else do I need to know about taking the abortion pill?

Before your abortion, you’ll have an exam and lab tests, and possibly an ultrasound. And you’ll meet with a nurse, doctor, or other staff to talk about your options, and make sure abortion is the right decision for you.

Sometimes the decision to have an abortion is simple, other times it’s more complicated. But either way, it’s your decision. Only you know what’s right for you.

Abortion is very common. It’s also very safe, and serious problems are extremely rare.

Laws about abortion are different depending on the state you live in. There may be waiting periods or other restrictions before you can get an abortion. So if you’re considering abortion, talk to a health care provider as soon as you can, so you can have as many options as possible.

The caring staff at Planned Parenthood are experts at providing safe abortion and supporting you throughout the process. They can answer your questions, give you accurate information about all of your options, and offer non-judgmental support — no matter what you decide to do about your pregnancy.

To find out more about your abortion options, call your local Planned Parenthood health center or visit
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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


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