Abortion methods should not be confused with methods to prevent pregnancy (contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception). Contraceptive methods work by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg) or by stopping the egg and sperm from meeting. Contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception, cannot be used to terminate or interrupt an established pregnancy. You can visit www.findmymethod.org to learn more about contraceptive methods.
Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are a safe and effective means of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. They work by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg) or by stopping the egg and sperm from meeting. ECPs will not terminate or interrupt an established pregnancy. ECPs are different from medical abortion regimens (which include mifepristone and misoprostol). Both treatments are of critical importance for women’s reproductive health globally.
There are two common types of abortion methods: 1) Medical abortion: Medical abortions use pharmacological drugs to terminate the pregnancy. Sometimes the terms “non-surgical abortion” or “abortion with pills” are also used. 2) Surgical abortion: In surgical abortion procedures, a qualified professional will empty the uterus through the cervix to terminate the pregnancy. These procedures include manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and dilatation and evacuation (D&E).