How are abortion pills different from Plan B? what to know

title=wpil_keyword_linkabortion rights demonstrate Wednesday, December 1, 2021 in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. A leaked Supreme Court opinion has revealed the court’s intention to have Roe v. Wade to overturn a landmark ruling that protected abortion rights nationwide. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)” title=”Supporters of abortion rights demonstrate Wednesday, December 1, 2021 in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. A leaked Supreme Court opinion has revealed the court’s intention to have Roe v. Wade to overturn a landmark ruling that protected abortion rights nationwide. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)” loading=”lazy”/>

Supporters of abortion rights demonstrate Wednesday, December 1, 2021 in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC. A leaked Supreme Court opinion has revealed the court’s intention to have Roe v. Wade to overturn a landmark ruling that protected abortion rights nationwide. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

AP

A leak of Supreme Court documents revealed that the court voted to have Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling protecting abortion rights. The leaked documents were a first draft of a majority opinion, meaning the decision isn’t official but could be made soon, Politico reported.

Medical abortion or the use of abortion pills could become a critical resource for people looking to terminate a pregnancy in a post-Roe America. The pill is already widespread — more than half of all abortions in 2020 were performed using abortion pills, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that advocates for abortion rights.

Abortion rights activists say demand for abortion pills will rise if Roe is knocked over. Rebecca Gomperts, a doctor who founded a nonprofit in Austria to make abortion pills available to US patients, told the Washington Post she saw this before Texas passed a controversial “heartbeat law” that made abortions after six weeks Pregnancy is strictly prohibited.

But what exactly is the abortion pill and how does it work? Here’s what you need to know.

Are Abortion Pills and Plan B the Same?

no Birth control pills and abortion drugs work in different ways and cannot be used interchangeably, according to Planned Parenthood.

Birth control works by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. According to Verywell Health, hormonal birth control methods like the pill, patch, IUD, and more prevent ovulation, or the process of releasing an egg from the ovary.

In other words, contraception ensures that there is no egg available for sperm to fertilize.

Emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill or plan B, works the same way. It needs to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and is more effective the sooner it’s taken, Healthline says.

According to Planned Parenthood, taking birth control pills in someone who is already pregnant will not cause a miscarriage.

On the other hand, abortion pills are used to prevent pregnancy and empty it from the uterus.

How does the abortion pill work?

A medical abortion requires the use of two types of pills – one containing mifepristone and the other containing misoprostol.

Mifepristone, the pill most people refer to when they use the term “abortion pill,” prevents a pregnancy from progressing by blocking progesterone, a hormone crucial for a pregnancy to develop, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Misoprostol, on the other hand, is taken 24-48 hours after mifepristone. The drug triggers cramping and bleeding that causes the uterus to contract and empty “similar to an early miscarriage,” the Kaiser Family Foundation said.

If you get a medical abortion through your doctor, you can take the mifepristone at his office and take the misoprostol home to administer later.

Misoprostol is usually taken in the form of four pills, Planned Parenthood said.

Cramps and bleeding can start two to four hours after taking misoprostol and last for several hours. According to Planned Parenthood, people can also experience side effects such as breast tenderness, fever, nausea, and fatigue.

Is the abortion pill safe?

Yes. The abortion pill is widely considered to be highly effective and with a very low risk of complications.

In fact, the abortion pill sends fewer people to the emergency room each year than either Tylenol or Viagra, Bloomberg News reported.

Medical abortion works in more than 95% of cases in early pregnancies, and a 2013 study reviewing data from 45,000 women found that only 0.3% of them were hospitalized after a medical abortion, reported the outlet.

Who Should Not Have a Medical Abortion?

According to the Mayo Clinic, medical abortions are not recommended for people who:

  • Are nine weeks or more into their pregnancy

  • Have an IUD

  • Do you have a suspected ectopic pregnancy or a pregnancy where the pregnancy is growing outside the uterus

  • Having certain medical conditions, such as B. various blood clotting disorders, severe lung, kidney or liver disease or uncontrolled seizure disorders

  • Take blood thinners

  • Are allergic to the drugs used

  • You do not have access to emergency care

In addition, the choice between a medical abortion and a surgical abortion or an abortion in the clinic lies with each individual.

Where can you get abortion pills?

According to Plan C, an organization funded by the nonprofit National Women’s Health Network, people who want a medical abortion may have multiple options.

Abortion pills may be available through clinics such as centers for reproductive health, family planning, or women’s health. They can also be ordered online through telemedicine services, which conduct a video or phone consultation before the pills are prescribed.

But that doesn’t mean they’re easily accessible to everyone. They can be expensive, according to Plan C, ranging from $40 to $600 or more. Thirty-two states only allow doctors to prescribe the pills, and six states make using telemedicine to obtain abortion pills illegal, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Fourteen other states require a doctor to be present when someone takes the first pill, meaning telemedicine for abortions is effectively banned there too, the organization said.

In the wake of such restrictions, some people have turned to online abortion pill suppliers in other states or countries to buy the pills without a prescription.

Will the abortion pill affect my fertility in the future?

no According to Planned Parenthood, a medical abortion is unlikely to affect a person’s fertility. It also does not increase the risks associated with pregnancy in the future.

Vandana Ravikumar is a McClatchy real-time reporter. Raised in northern Nevada, she studied journalism and political science at Arizona State University. She previously reported for USA Today, The Dallas Morning News and Arizona PBS.

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