Abortion Pill Online: What are the Risks?

abortion pill online what are the risks

Scared. It is a feeling women facing an unexpected pregnancy share. Know that you are not alone if you have discovered you are pregnant and are fearful and confused about what to do next.

Since you are reading this, it means you are educating yourself, and we applaud you for that. You have pregnancy options that you may not have considered, and you are here seeking answers.

During your internet research, you may have come across the possibility of purchasing the abortion pill online. And perhaps you thought to yourself, “This sounds easy!” 

American women have been purchasing abortion pills online from other countries for several years because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed it illegal to obtain them over the internet. But, in April 2021, the FDA stated that they would use discretion to enforce their safeguards during the pandemic by allowing telehealth visits and mail-order abortion pills.

The FDA’s ruling opened doors for women in many states to receive the abortion pill online without seeing a healthcare provider in person.

But is it safe? Accurate information is power, so read on to learn more.

What Is the Abortion Pill?

Medical abortion (or medication abortion) and surgical abortion are two ways to end an unwanted pregnancy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the abortion pill for medical abortions up to seventy days since the first day of your last period (LMP). 

The term “abortion pill” sounds like you are only taking one pill. But in reality, a medical abortion requires taking multiple pills of two different abortion medications; mifepristone and misoprostol.

The first abortion medication, mifepristone, is taken to block progesterone. When progesterone is blocked, the uterine lining breaks down, and the embryo’s heart stops beating.

The second medication, misoprostol, is taken approximately 24 hours later. Misoprostol causes the embryo to detach from the uterus and be expelled by producing heavy uterine cramping.

Risks of Medical Abortion

Online purchase of abortion pills is marketed to women in crisis as an easy solution. Some providers attempt to lure you in by claiming that a medical abortion is nice to have in the comfort of your own home or that it is safer than taking Tylenol. But these claims can be misleading. You deserve a complete picture to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

At first glance, just taking some medication seems so much easier than a surgical procedure, but there are known side effects and risks to consider.

When you take abortion pills, your medical abortion happens at home, which can feel scary if you are not prepared for the possible side effects, including:

  • Visualizing the gestational sac/pregnancy pass
  • Painful uterine and abdominal cramps
  • Back pain
  • Heavy bleeding and passing blood clots
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low-grade fever (under 100.4°)
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Sore breasts
  • Fatigue

In addition to unpleasant side effects, there are also serious risks needing medical attention to consider, and they could include:

  • Incomplete abortion requiring a follow-up surgical abortion
  • Heavy bleeding that doesn’t stop
  • High fever
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • An undetected ectopic pregnancy (a medical emergency)
  • Future infertility
  • Death

Now that you understand the risks of taking abortion pills, we will discuss the added risks of purchasing abortion pills online.

Risks of Purchasing Abortion Pills Online

Purchasing abortion pills online means you do not have an opportunity to be examined by a licensed healthcare provider. As a result, you are put at greater risk for complications by prescribing abortion medications without having all the necessary information obtained by ultrasound.

Here are four risks of purchasing abortion pills online.

  1. You could be further along in your pregnancy than you think.

The FDA has approved abortion pills for up to ten weeks of pregnancy because the need for medical care from complications increases the further along you are. However, the only accurate way to know how many weeks pregnant you are is by ultrasound.

Whether you speak to a healthcare provider through telehealth or not at all, you are left relying on the dates of your menstrual period to determine how far along you are. This information can be inaccurate for several reasons:

  • You may have counted implantation bleeding as a period, causing you to be several weeks further into your pregnancy than you realized.
  • You ovulated earlier in your cycle than expected. If your periods are irregular, it is more difficult to predict when you conceived, and your pregnancy could be further along.

2. You could have a non-viable pregnancy.

A viable pregnancy has a reasonable chance of ending in a live birth. A non-viable pregnancy has zero chance of survival, and it is more common than you might think. Up to 20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage, so do not risk putting yourself through a medical abortion if it is not necessary.

Only an ultrasound can tell you if your pregnancy is viable or not.

3. You will not know if you have an ectopic pregnancy.

An ectopic pregnancy happens outside of the uterus, most often in a fallopian tube. An ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed by ultrasound, but if it isn’t detected, the fallopian tube can burst, and this is a life-threatening emergency.

Taking abortion pills can mask the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy because you are told to expect pain during a medical abortion. This may cause you not to realize that you need immediate medical care because you think the pain is abortion-related rather than a medical emergency.

4. You cannot know what you are purchasing.

You have no way of knowing for sure where abortion pills are coming from when you purchase them online. Therefore, it is impossible to know if they are safe, effective, or made from quality ingredients.

You Are Valuable

You are too valuable to be put at risk. At Willow Womens Center, we offer the no-cost pregnancy services you deserve, so you can be confident that you have made your decision with accurate information regardless of what you decide.

Contact us today for your confidential appointment. Willow Womens Center is judgment-free, and you can trust that you will be treated with dignity and compassion.