An unplanned pregnancy starts you on an unexpected journey that you hoped you would never have to take. There is nothing easy about the process of deciding to have an abortion.
Your mind is flooded with questions.
You doubt one minute and feel confident the next.
You gather information, weigh your options, and come to the best choice for you.
The decision to have an abortion is never made lightly, but sometimes women are not given all the information they need, leading to regret down the road. Empower yourself with all the facts you deserve by getting the answers to as many questions as you need to ask to feel that you are equipped to make a confident decision.
Confusion between the morning-after pill and the abortion pill is widespread, so we will break it down for clarity. We will also answer a common question we are asked, which is, “Where can I get the abortion pill?” Read on to learn more.
The Morning-After Pill
The morning-after pill is also called Levonorgestrel or Plan-B. It can cause an abortion by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterine wall, but it is not the abortion pill.
The name can be misleading – you don’t have to wait until the morning after unprotected sex; you can take it right afterward. The morning-after pill is most effective the sooner you take it, but it should be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex. It should not be used as a routine birth control method because it contains high doses of hormones and comes with risks.
The morning-after pill works differently depending on when it is taken during your cycle. It works in one of three ways:
- It may delay or prevent ovulation.
- It may alter the lining of the uterus, which prevents implantation of a fertilized egg.
- Or it may prevent the fertilization process.
It is important to understand that the morning-after pill does not work if the fertilized egg has already implanted in the uterus. It does not stop the development of a fetus. That is, if you are already pregnant, this medication won’t work. The morning-after pill is most easily accessible because it is readily available at most pharmacies.
Also known as RU-486, the abortion pill is taken when pregnancy has already occurred. It induces a medical abortion up to ten weeks after the first day of your last period. The name, abortion pill, is misleading as it is actually a combination of two different medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, which are taken about a day apart. Mifepristone, the first medication, is taken at a clinic. It blocks progesterone to end the pregnancy. The second medication, misoprostol, is taken up to 48 hours later at home and causes intense contractions to expel the pregnancy from your uterus.
You can expect to experience heavy cramping, bleeding, nausea, diarrhea, and other symptoms during the abortion. Risks can include damage to the uterus, pregnancy tissue left behind (incomplete abortion), infection and sepsis, severe pain, and in rare cases, death.
It is critical to make an appointment for a medical exam, which includes a detailed medical history, lab work, and an ultrasound exam to confirm you have a viable pregnancy. Lastly, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) test is crucial to prevent pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and long-term complications.
Where Can I Get the Abortion Pill?
Until recently, you could only access a medical abortion through a medical doctor. But now new and risky options have become available. These unsafe options include obtaining the abortion pill medications over the internet or through telehealth visits online.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is illegal to order mifepristone over the internet. It is not available in retail pharmacies. You can only legally obtain it in healthcare settings, specifically clinics, medical offices, and hospitals, by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber.
You might be wondering what is so bad about the two alternate options to obtaining the abortion pill when they seem so convenient. The perceived convenience is not worth risking your life by ordering the abortion pill online or getting them through an online medical visit. There are many reasons why it is so dangerous to your health and potentially life-threatening.
- If you experience an incomplete abortion without follow-up care, it will lead to serious, even life-threatening complications.
- If you have an ectopic pregnancy, it is a medical emergency, but there is no way of knowing with an online physician visit. The abortion pill won’t help an ectopic pregnancy.
- If you take the abortion pill while you have an undiagnosed and untreated sexually transmitted infection, it could lead to pelvic inflammatory disease or death.
- Medications ordered online are not regulated by the FDA.
What Is Your Next Step?
If you are considering a medical abortion, start by making an appointment at Willow Womens Center. Our caring team will try to answer all your questions to equip you with the information you need to make good decisions on how to proceed.
We will determine if you have a viable pregnancy and explain everything you need to know about abortion procedures and risks. We will also tell you how far along you are and which options are available to you. Since most STIs are symptomless for women, we also offer testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia with a simple urine test. An undiagnosed STI can lead to PID and other medical and reproductive problems. If your test is positive, we can also refer you for treatment with medication.
You are not alone. Our licensed healthcare professionals at Willow Womens Center are passionate about empowering women like you who face unexpected pregnancies. We can walk you through the entire process, one step at a time. We know this is not an easy decision, and we are available to compassionately walk with you through each step so you can make a confident decision that is right for you. For your confidential, no-cost appointment, give us a call today at 608-312-2025.