Often, the discussion about abortion centers around surgical abortions that are performed in a clinic or hospital. It's easy to forget that there's another option – the medication abortion or medical abortion, which may be more commonly known as "the abortion pill." There's a lot of confusion about this type of abortion and what it does. Take a look at some facts that will help you understand this important medical option.
The Abortion Pill Is Not the Morning After Pill
When you think of the abortion pill, you may be picturing emergency contraception or the morning after pill. These two medications are not the same thing. The morning after pill is taken in the hours after unprotected sex. It's essentially a high-powered dose of birth control medication, and its purpose is to prevent ovulation, which stops a pregnancy from occurring to begin with. If you're already pregnant, emergency contraception won't help.
The abortion pill, which is really a combination of the two medications mifepristone and misoprostol, is used early in the pregnancy, but after conception has occurred and the pregnancy is underway. Mifepristone is a hormone blocker that blocks progesterone, a hormone that is necessary in order for a pregnancy to continue. Misoprostol, which is usually taken the next day after the mifepristone is taken, causes the uterus to contract and expel its contents, similar to what happens during your period.
The Abortion Pill Is Safe
The idea of taking a medication that can cause an abortion – something that you may be used to thinking of as a surgical procedure – can sound scary. But the abortion pill – and abortion more generally – is very safe. Studies comparing abortion (including medical abortions) to pregnancy have found that pregnancy has a mortality rate of 8.8 deaths per 100,000 live births, while abortion has a mortality rate of 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions. In other words, abortion by any means is safer than childbirth.
The medication used in a medical abortion causes your body to mimic the same things that would happen during a natural miscarriage. It's also less invasive than a surgical abortion. Still, you should never attempt a medical abortion without the oversight of a medical professional and a legal prescription for the required medications.
Access to the Abortion Pill Varies By State
You may be wondering where you can get the abortion pill, should you decide that you want it. The procedure that you need to follow to access the medication can vary depending on what state you're in and what the laws are in that state. Some states have very restrictive abortion laws, while others are more accommodating. However, the abortion pill is currently legal in all states.
You may want to start by asking your own OB/GYN. Some offer medical abortions and some do not. If your own doctor does not offer medical abortions, you can contact a Planned Parenthood or a similar clinic. In some locations, your county health department may offer the medication. There are online tools available to help you find an abortion provider in your area.
Some states require waiting periods or sonograms before you can have a medical abortion. In a few states, you may be required to remain in the presence of the doctor who prescribed the medication, rather than taking the pills in the comfort of your home. If you think you might need a medical abortion, or if you want to be prepared in case you should happen to need one in the future, it's important to research the requirements in your area so that you can plan accordingly.
A medical abortion is just one of several options that a pregnant woman can choose from. It's important to be informed about all of your options so that you can make the decision that's right for you. For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Aaron Women’s Center Houston.Share
20 March 2018
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