Medical Abortion / RU486 (“abortion pill”) is a safe and effective non-surgical abortion for women up to 10 weeks of pregnancy.
How it works
Medical Abortion / RU486 abortions are completed through combining two medications, Mifeprex and Misoprostol. The first pill, Mifeprex, is taken in the medical office, and blocks the action of progesterone, a hormone needed to continue the pregnancy. 12-48 hours after taking Mifeprex, a woman will take the second set of tablets, Misoprostol, at home. Misoprostol works to gently soften and open the cervix, so that the discontinued pregnancy can pass through.
Medical abortions are 95-98% effective in completely terminating a pregnancy. Rates of effectiveness can depend on the treatment regimen and length of pregnancy. Though most medical abortions are successful, incomplete abortions are safely completed with additional medication or a surgical D&C procedure.
Benefits to choosing medical abortion
Most women who choose medical over surgical abortions do so to avoid having surgery. These women often express that a medical abortion seems less invasive, that they feel more in control, and that they prefer to have their abortion experience at home. Many women also state that the medical abortion process seems to be more “natural” because it produces a miscarriage-like experience.
What to expect during a medical abortion
Every woman who opts for a medical abortion will participate in a detailed counseling session before going home so that she is clear about instructions and what to expect during her abortion. Though not every medical abortion experience is the same, most women report that bleeding and cramping begin within 2-7 hours of taking Misoprostol (the 2nd set of medication), and that the heaviest bleeding/cramping decreases within 24 hours.
All women are counseled on how to manage bleeding, and receive pain medication to help with cramping/discomfort. 10-15% of women may experience other side effects, such as nausea, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or chills. It is highly recommended that women choosing medical abortion have at least 1-2 days off (beginning with the Misoprostol/home portion of the abortion procedure). We also recommend having a partner, family member or friend with you during this process.
Detroit Patients: Medical abortions are done on Tuesdays by appointment. The wait time is very minimal (usually 1 1/2 to 2 hours).
Cost for medical abortions
The cost of a medical abortion will differ by medical facility and state. Contact your local office for more information on cost. For those with state insurance or medical insurance, if surgical abortions are covered, medical abortions are also likely covered.