What Is The Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill often gets confused with the morning after pill, which is very different.  In this article we’re going to cover exactly what the abortion pill does and how the two differ.  I’ll also describe my single experience with the abortion pill at the end for a bit of reference.  Fair warning, it was not a great experience…

So, the abortion pill is a combination of two different medications to stop an existing, early pregnancy.  These two medications are Mifepristone and Misoprostol.  Mifepristone is taken first and blocks the body’s production of the hormone progesterone.  Misoprostol is taken 6-48 hours afterward and causes bleeding and cramping, ultimately causing a miscarriage (abortion). 

This version of abortion works better the earlier it is taken in a pregnancy, and has a success rate of 91-99%.  The pill can be used up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy, but after that, a surgical abortion is recommended.  There are also rare cases when the pills do not fully abort the fetus, and a surgical abortion has to be done anyway. 

If you read my Plan B article, you’ll know that the medication in the morning after pill, Levonorgestrel, will not harm an existing pregnancy.  Plan B is only used to PREVENT a pregnancy from occurring.  This medication can be purchased without a prescription in person or even online, but the abortion pill must be prescribed by a physician.

Keep in mind that you legally cannot force anyone to take any medication, like the morning after pill or the abortion pill, and you cannot force a woman to get an abortion.  That’s called “Reproductive Coercion” and is considered an act of domestic violence, not to mention outright rude.  You can strongly suggest a woman get an abortion, but you cannot (and should not) force her or trick her into doing it.  You also shouldn’t have to because you should have had a talk with her about the possibility of an accidental pregnancy, and you should both be on the same page with these issues (although it’s never a guarantee either of you will feel the same if something actually happens).

So what was my experience with the abortion pill?  First off, it was awful.  And I’m a man, I didn’t even have to take the stuff!  I was called by a very good friend to come support her and be with her while she was going through a medical abortion at home.  And no, before you ask, I didn’t get her pregnant.

When I arrived, she had already taken the pills and was sitting on the couch waiting for them to kick in.  When they did, she experienced the worst “period cramps” of her life along with heavy bleeding and many trips to the bathroom.  Shortly after, the pain was so intense she ended up vomiting repeatedly, while still having to run to the bathroom to bleed into the toilet.  This is not normal period blood mind you.  Because there was a human growing inside her there is quite a lot of extra tissue that needs to be expelled. There are very large chunks that look like they should never come out of a person’s body.  This can be pretty alarming.  She kept her routine of throwing up and sitting on the toilet for a couple hours before falling asleep on the couch from exhaustion. 

During this whole time I felt so bad for her, and there was very little I could do aside from stroking her hair with her head on my lap and making sure she has food and the supplies she needs.  It was extremely difficult to see someone I deeply care about in so much pain.  I can only imagine how horrible I would have felt if it was me who got her pregnant.  God damn.  I would never want to put someone through that if I could help it, which is another good reason to follow safe sex rules and be very careful with birth control.

The whole thing lasted about 12 hours or so, and I stayed the night to make sure she was ok.  She was on quite a few painkillers so she was pretty out of it.  The next day she went to the gynecologist to see if the abortion had worked, which unfortunately it hadn’t.  She was one of the rare cases that ended up having to have a surgical abortion even though she had taken the medications like she was supposed to.  What a terrible couple days.  Even months afterward, she still felt depressed and guilty about having the abortion and ended up seeing a therapist because of it.  These kinds of things can have a serious, long-lasting psychological effect on some women. 

She’s ok now, don’t worry.  She says she doesn’t regret her decision and is happy she didn’t end up with a child from that pregnancy.  Every woman is different though, and some women regret it for the rest of their lives.

What’s the lesson of this story?  Don’t cause an unwanted pregnancy!

-Freeman

Resources

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/the-abortion-pill

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3395931/

Freeman