If you're in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy, you might find yourself dreaming of just wishing it all away — if only a fairy godmother would just show up and make all of your problems disappear.
For many women, ordering the abortion pill online feels like the closest thing to "wishing it all away," however, as with any medication, it's important to use caution. Like most medical procedures, the abortion pill comes with a list of risks and side effects, but possibly even more so when ordered online.
In order to understand the risks you might encounter, it's important to first understand how the process works.
The abortion pill is a two-step process using the drugs Mifepristone (Mifeprex®) and Misoprostol. The first pill terminates the pregnancy by stopping the production of the pregnancy hormone called progesterone. Misoprostol, the second pill, then causes contractions in the uterus to expel the embryo from the womb.
Typical side effects include diarrhea, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, or indigestion.(END NOTE 1) In addition to these side effects, there are other more serious risks discussed later in this blog.
Because of these risks and possible side effects, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that the abortion pill "must be ordered, prescribed and dispensed by or under the supervision of a healthcare provider." (END NOTE 2)
2. Ordering the abortion pill online bypasses important safeguards designed to protect your health
Any medication has possible side effects, but the risk increases significantly when the medication is purchased over the internet. Many online sites sell abortion pills from foreign sources which are not approved by the FDA and may not be safe possibly leading to additional complications and side effects.
The FDA warns specifically "You should not buy Mifeprex over the internet because you will bypass important safeguards designed to protect your health."[i](END NOTE 2)
The FDA warns of risks of serious complications including "fatal infections or bleeding", and requires that the abortion pill be available only through a "restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy."(END NOTE 3)
Patients must be advised about the "risk of these serious events" and know whom to call and what to do in the event of sustained fever, severe abdominal pain, prolonged heavy bleeding, or fainting, or general malaise (including weakness, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea) for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol.
It is recommended that women have an ultrasound exam before terminating a pregnancy to ensure that they are not within a higher risk category. Health conditions such as ectopic pregnancy can cause severe outcomes.
The emotions experienced by a post-abortive woman range greatly. While some experience an initial sense of relief, there can be longer-term effects on a woman's psyche and/or her physical health that surface months or years later. (END NOTE 4 AND 5)
A study on abortion and mental health reveals a "moderate to highly increased risk of mental health problems after abortion.(END NOTE 6)
One important consideration for the emotional impact of the abortion pill is that since the gestational age for when the abortion pill can be taken was increased from 7 weeks to 10 weeks, it becomes more likely a woman will recognize the expelled baby. The impact of this is unknown.
5. An ultrasound is the only sure way to know if the pregnancy is early enough for the abortion pill to be effective
The abortion pill is given to women within the first 70 days (or 10 weeks) of gestation.2 In later stages of pregnancy, the fetus will be too far along in development.
Before taking the abortion pill, a limited OB ultrasound exam is highly recommended. This exam will determine three key things about a pregnancy: 1) Is the pregnancy located in the uterus (if not, that can be fatal to the mother), 2) Is there fetal cardiac activity (if not, the pregnancy may end on its own), and 3) How far along is the pregnancy.
An important first step°
If you are considering terminating your pregnancy, it's important that you gather all of the information on your pregnancy — how far along you are, whether the pregnancy is viable, and what options are available to you.
At the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic, we provide the services needed to help you make a fully informed choice. From clinical pregnancy testing, to ultrasound scans, to options counseling, all of our services are provided on a no-cost and confidential basis so that you can make a fully informed decision for your health and your future.
Contact us today and let us help.
END NOTE 3: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/mifeprex-mifepristone-information
END NOTE 4: Thorp JM, Hartmann KE, Shadigian E. Long term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion: review of the evidence. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003;58(1):67-79.
END NOTE 6: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/abortion-and-mental-health-quantitative-synthesis-and-analysis-of-research-published-19952009/E8D556AAE1C1D2F0F8B060B28BEE6C3D