Abortion Pill or Birth Control
Although most elective abortions are performed for birth control, they are by no means contraceptive.
Abortion involves ending the life of a developing human being through surgical or medical techniques.
Medical Abortion and Emergency Contraception Compared
You may have heard a lot about "abortion pills" or "morning-after pills." There are many important
differences between these two regimens. Below is an overview of each.
|Your doctor may call it
||Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs)
|Main chemicals used
(also known as)
|High doses of estrogen/progestin pills (Plan B or oral contraceptives)
||Mifepristone (Mifeprex, RU486) and Misoprostol (prostaglandin)
||Within 72-120 hours of unprotected intercourse
||5-7 weeks into pregnancy (counted from the first day of your last period)
|How it works
||ECPs work in the same way as other hormonal methods of birth control, by suppressing ovulation
if it has not yet occurred. If fertilization has occurred, the drugs work by making the uterus
inhospitable to the embryo, preventing implantation and causing the embryo to be expelled (aborted).
The drug also interferes with the natural movement of the ovum.
||This chemical causes an abortion by interfering with the function of
the placenta, starving the fetus to death. Prostaglandins, a chemical
which causes uterine contractions, are then administered to expel the unborn child.
This method of abortion takes place over the span of several days or sometimes weeks.
|How effective is it
||Your risk of becoming pregnant during your most fertile days (halfway between two
menstrual periods) is as high as high as 30%. Using the Emergency Contraception Pill decreases
your chance of becoming pregnant by about 75%.
||A medical abortion is less effective than a surgical one. Up to 10% of women fail to
abort and must have an additional surgical abortion to end the pregnancy or stop the bleeding.
|What is involved
||A single dose, or two doses of pills taken 12 hours apart.
||Three visits to the clinician, including two visits where pills
are given and a follow up visit two weeks later.
|Health risks &
|Common side effects are nausea and vomiting.
Health risks include possible increased risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
||Common side effects include abdominal pain, bleeding, and gastrointestinal distress.
The average woman having this type of abortion bleeds heavily for 9-16 days,
but some women bled for up to 30 days.
Because mifepristone is a newer method, long term health risks are not yet known.
The following links are provided as an informational resource or counterpoint and are not necessarily endorsed by this site:
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