Abortion Pills Are Safe… But For Everyone?
An abortion with pills is a safe and effective option for terminating pregnancy. In fact, the World Health Organization determined that the process was so safe and effective that “close medical supervision” during an abortion with pills was no longer necessary.1
But despite its widely recognized safety and efficacy, many woman still wonder who exactly can have a safe abortion with pills. Are abortion pills safe for everyone? Are there limits to when the pills can be used or special circumstances to consider beforehand?
Just like all medications, there are guidelines to follow when deciding if an abortion with pills is right for you. Below, we outline a few common concerns and considerations that arise when determining safe options.
Abortion With Pills And Gestational Age
Though an abortion with pills is a safe and effective method of pregnancy termination, it is critical that you follow the proper protocols. Misused abortion medication can jeopardize the success of the abortion and the safety of the woman.
The proper protocols for a safe abortion with pills are determined by the length of the pregnancy, also known as the gestational age. The farther along a pregnancy is, the more sensitive the body becomes to abortion medication. Thus, the dosage of medication has to be adjusted for the length of the pregnancy.
At HowToUseAbortionPill.org, we share safe information and instructions for an abortion with pills within the first 11 weeks. Our protocols are not designed to support an abortion past that timeline. However, there are still options for safe abortion after 11 weeks. They will just require different information and support. You can learn more about available resources in your country here.
Abortion With Pills And Ectopic Pregnancy
Pregnancies are typically housed inside the uterus, also known as the womb. However, on rare occasions the pregnancy may begin to develop outside of the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy.
Because the abortion pills work by acting on the uterus, they will not terminate a pregnancy that is growing elsewhere. Thus, an abortion with pills is not a safe or effective option to end an ectopic pregnancy.
If you are diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, your health care provider will speak to you about safe surgical methods for abortion. An ectopic pregnancy is not viable and is a serious risk to a woman’s safety. All ectopic pregnancies must be terminated, and this health care service is available in all countries- even where abortion is restricted.
Abortion With Pills After Previous Abortion Or Cesarean Section
Many women wonder if it is safe for them to have an abortion with pills if they have previously had an abortion with pills, or if they have had a cesarean section from a previous birth. The answer to both questions is yes: it is still safe to have an abortion with pills following either of those events. There is no need to adjust the protocol- women with either of these medical histories can simply follow the same instructions as everyone else.
An Abortion With Pills While Breastfeeding
Despite the myths, it’s important to remember that a significant number of women seeking abortion already have children. In fact, a US study showed that 59% of all women who had an abortion had previously given birth.2 Many women who seek abortion may be currently breastfeeding and will wonder if an abortion with pills is a safe option.
Abortion medication can cause diarrhea in breastfeeding infants, though that does not mean women who are breastfeeding cannot use the pills safely. To avoid passing the medication through breastmilk, feed the baby before beginning the abortion process. Use the medication as directed but wait four hours before breastfeeding again. This will give the medication enough time to be processed by your body and reduce transfer through milk.
To learn more about whether an abortion with pills is right for you, you can visit the Considerations section of our website our Frequently Asked Questions page. You can also send us an email at email@example.com or follow us on social media: we’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Claire is a teacher, reproductive rights advocate, and the manager of https://www.howtouseabortionpill.org/
- 1 “Medical Management of Abortion.” World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/medical-management-abortion/en/
- 2 “Induced Abortion In The United States.” Guttmacher Institute. https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states