Open Arms Blog

What is a ''Medical'' Abortion?

Understanding the possible risks, side effects and alternatives is the best way to ensure you are making a fully informed decision.
What is a ''Medical'' Abortion?

To put it simply, a medical abortion uses medication rather than surgery to end a pregnancy. The procedure is done either in a clinic or at home depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. If you were to choose a medical abortion, the risk is lowest during the first trimester of your pregnancy. Having an ultrasound is the most effective way to determine how far along you are in the pregnancy and whether or not the pregnancy is viable, so we highly recommend having an ultrasound before scheduling an abortion. Understanding the possible risks, side effects and alternatives is the best way to ensure you are making a fully informed decision.

The Abortion Pill

To put it plainly, the abortion pill ends a pregnancy within the first 11 weeks. It's a two-step process that uses two different medications. The first drug, mifepristone (Mifeprex) is given at the abortion clinic. This drug blocks the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to thin. A thinner lining prevents the embryo from staying implanted and growing. The second drug, misoprostol (Cytotec) is taken at home within 48 hours after the mifepristone. This drug causes cramping and bleeding to empty your uterus.

Plan B

This drug is often referred to as the "morning after pill." It's designed to decrease your odds of getting pregnant in the first few days after unprotected sex. It works by preventing or delaying ovulation. Depending on where you are in your monthly cycle, conception can occur anywhere from minutes up to 5 days after unprotected sex. As a result, Plan B will not help if ovulation or implantation has already occurred.

Plan C

Currently, Plan C is illegal in the United States. Since the abortion pill isn't available to purchase at your local drug store, many advocates are pushing for Plan C. This plan would allow you to order abortion pills over the internet. Without a pregnancy test and subsequent ultrasound, you won't know whether this form of abortion will be successful or not.

Abortion Pill Reversal

If you have begun the process of a medication abortion and are having second thoughts, there is a procedure known as the abortion pill reversal (APR) that has a high level of success in saving the pregnancy if taken after the first drug is given. 

Your Best Option

Before scheduling an abortion, whether it is a medical or surgical abortion, it is important to have an ultrasound to determine how far along you are and to confirm a viable pregnancy. The Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic offers free and confidential pregnancy testing, ultrasound and options consultation so you can make a fully informed decision regarding your pregnancy. Call or text 818-626-9400. We're here to help.

Information for this post was taken from

Photo Credit:  Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash


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