What is a Chemical Abortion?

What is a chemical abortion? If you may be pregnant and considering having an abortion, if you have decided to have an abortion, or if you are looking for more information regarding a chemical abortion, we are here to answer your questions. A chemical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, RU-486, Plan C, Mifiprex or Mifepristone is a method used to end a viable pregnancy. This method involves two sets of medications that are administered to a pregnant individual. These pills are taken in order to end a viable pregnancy and expel the pregnancy after it has ended. Before you have a chemical abortion, it is critical for your health and safety to have a pre-abortion screening appointment. Your local pregnancy resource center offers this appointment to you for free and they do not profit from your decision. It is important to learn about the risks and side effects of a chemical abortion and what to expect after. The trained staff at your local pregnancy resource center are available to talk to you about your options and discuss an abortion with you.

What do I need to know?

Before you have a chemical abortion, it is important to have a pre-abortion screening appointment. This appointment is critical for your health and safety. During your pre-abortion screening appointment, you will meet with an advocate and a registered nurse. The registered nurse will go over your medical history and discuss ways to keep yourself safe and healthy until you have your abortion. You will have a limited ultrasound performed which will be reviewed by a doctor to determine how far along your pregnancy is, if your pregnancy is viable, and if your pregnancy is in your uterus. It is critical to find out how far along your pregnancy is as a chemical abortion can only be performed up to a certain point in your pregnancy. It is not safe to have a chemical abortion after a certain time so it is important to determine exactly how far along you are to ensure you are within the appropriate timeframe for this type of abortion.

The ultrasound will also determine if your pregnancy is viable. According to the Mayo Clinic it is estimated that 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. If you are having a miscarriage, you will need to see a doctor for follow up care for a miscarriage and you will not need to pay for an abortion procedure. It is also important for your safety to confirm that you have an intrauterine pregnancy before proceeding with a chemical abortion. If you have a ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy that is outside the uterus, medical management of your ectopic pregnancy will be required immediately. Having a chemical abortion with an ectopic pregnancy is not safe. It has been reported to the FDA that chemical abortions in conjunction with ectopic pregnancies have resulted in deaths. During your pre-abortion screening appointment, you will also have the opportunity to speak with the nurse regarding what to expect during a chemical abortion. The nurse will also discuss risks and side effects of the abortion pill and warning signs to watch out for during this type of abortion.

Is it safe?

The Food and Drug Administration  (FDA) “is responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs”. The FDA has stated that a chemical abortion is only safe up to a certain point during a pregnancy. The FDA has also provided a list of reasons why an individual should not have a chemical abortion. This list includes medical diagnoses, medications, and forms of birth control. The FDA has received reports of side effects and adverse side effects experienced by people who have had chemical abortions. Per the FDA, “heavy vaginal bleeding may need to be stopped by a surgical procedure.”  It has also been reported to the FDA that blood transfusions have been required due to blood loss experienced by patients.

Patients who have had a chemical abortion have also been hospitalized for sepsis, a severe infection, with some resulting in deaths which have been reported to the FDA. It is also important to participate in all follow up appointments recommended and scheduled by your abortion provider. These follow up appointments are scheduled to ensure your chemical abortion has been completed. Incomplete chemical abortions may require surgical procedures so it is important for your health to go to all of your follow up appointments.

Where can I get a chemical abortion?

It is important that you choose a licensed provider to prescribe your chemical abortion. While it may seem more private, easier, and more convenient to order an abortion online, the FDA has stated that individuals should not buy a chemical abortion over the internet. Purchasing an abortion online bypasses important safeguards which have been put in place by the FDA. Additionally, drugs purchased from foreign sources are not subject to FDA regulations. The FDA states that chemical abortions “may only be dispensed in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified health care provider.” Per the FDA, a chemical abortion “must be ordered, prescribed, and dispensed by or under the supervision of a health care provider who prescribes and who meets certain qualifications.” Your health care provider will have you sign a Patient Agreement Form before giving you a chemical abortion. It is important to remember that the health care provider who prescribes your chemical abortion is required under FDA regulations to provide you with a copy of the FDA approved medication guide.

What happens after a chemical abortion?

After your chemical abortion, you will need to participate in all your follow up appointments. The doctor may order another ultrasound to confirm that your abortion procedure is complete. If your abortion resulted in an incomplete abortion, you will need to have a surgical abortion procedure. This is important for your health and safety to ensure you do not experience adverse side effects. It is important for you to know that a chemical abortion can be reversed. You can call the Abortion Pill Reversal Hotline at 877-558-0333 anytime after taking the abortion pill and their trained staff can walk you through the reversal process. After your abortion, it is common to experience emotional side effects including feelings of grief, loss, and regret. Some people have experienced suicidal thoughts or actions. You are not alone. If you experience suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. If you are looking for additional support after your chemical abortion, there are trained staff members available to talk to you at 844-289-4673 or at Support After Abortion.

Is it right for me?

Only you can know what the right decision is for you. No one can force you to make this decision and no one should pressure you into having an abortion. It is important to take your time thinking about a chemical abortion and not rush into any decisions. You can schedule an appointment to talk with a trained advocate and a nurse about your options. The staff are educated in all pregnancy outcome options so you can explore all your options including chemical abortionsurgical abortionadoption, and parenting. The staff at your local pregnancy resource center are there to support you in your decision. All information is kept confidential and the staff will ensure you feel safe and supported in your decision.