Recently a federal judge in Maryland ruled that, due to coronavirus restrictions and the challenges they have posed, a woman does not have to see a doctor in person before taking the abortion pill. While many women see this as a victory to celebrate, giving greater access to “self-managed abortion care”1, we encourage you to take caution and seek out accurate information to make an informed decision before you obtain these medications. Here are some questions you might ask:
How does the abortion pill work?
The abortion pill, formerly known as RU-486, is actually two drugs taken in two separate doses. The first drug, mifepristone, blocks the body’s progesterone and subsequently stops the growth of the fetus. The second drug, misoprostol, is taken 6-48 hours later, and causes cramping and bleeding to expel the fetus from the uterus.
Is the abortion pill safe?
As with any medical procedure, there are risks that a person needs to be aware of. Statistics often show that these medications are “safe and effective”1; but this data can sometimes be misleading. Certain conditions render the abortion pill ineffective or could put a person at higher risk for complications2. Some of those include:
- being too far long in your pregnancy. Medical abortion should not be attempted if you are more than 9 weeks pregnant.
- having an intrauterine device (IUD).
- having and ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside the uterus).
- medical conditions such as bleeding disorders; heart or blood vessel diseases; liver, kidney, or lung disease; or an uncontrolled seizure disorder.
- taking blood thinners or steroid medications.
- inability to see a doctor for a follow-up visit or no emergency care access.
- allergies to the medications used for abortion.
Why is it important to see a doctor first?
With telemedicine on the rise, people have more options than ever before. But there some conditions that only a face-to-face visit with a doctor can confirm. FDA regulations (suspended in the July ruling by a Maryland judge), require a woman to see a doctor before obtaining an abortion pill prescription. The reasoning behind these regulations include2:
- an ultrasound is the only way to 100% confirm a viable pregnancy and how far along the pregnancy is.
- a doctor’s examination can determine if there are any medical conditions that would put a person at higher risk with a medication abortion.
- it better prepares a woman for what can happen and what to do in case of an emergency.
Get the facts before you get the abortion pill. For a free, confidential consultation to explore all of your options, call us today.
1”The Abortion Pill”; www.plannedparenthood.org
2 “What is Plan C?”; www.havenpregnancyservices.com