What are the risks of the abortion pill?

The abortion pill is comprised of two different, powerful drugs that are associated with physical and mental health risks. It's essential to be informed of these risks to help protect your health.

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Facts About Medical Abortion You Might Not Know

A medical abortion, also known as the “abortion pill,” is the process of terminating a pregnancy with drugs.

The “abortion pill” is actually two different drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, taken in succession. These drugs are powerful used to terminate and expel a pregnancy from the body.  Medical abortion presents risks that range from mild to severe.

As with any medical procedure or drug, it’s essential to first understand the potential risks to your health so you can make an informed decision.

Physical risks of the abortion pill

After taking the abortion pill, there’s a chance you might experience the following risks:

  • Incomplete abortion
  • An ongoing pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort

The abortion drugs are only FDA-approved up to ten weeks (70 days) of gestation. If you attempt to take these pills and your pregnancy is beyond this timeframe, you’re more likely to experience these risks. 

Mental health risks of abortion

Abortion is a decision that affects each woman differently. While some women might feel immediate relief, others could experience complicated feelings weeks, months, or even years later.

Many factors go into how a woman will feel after abortion, but according to a report looking at the link between abortion and traumatic stress, if you feel pressured into having an abortion, you’re more likely to experience mental health risks. 

The study found that roughly 64% of women who had an abortion felt at least subtly pressured into having one—and many of these women reported adverse mental outcomes afterward, including1

  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Regret
  • Self-hatred
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Thoughts or attempts of suicide
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Be informed

Being as informed as possible about the potential risks of abortion, as well as your other options (which include adoption and parenting), will help you make the best choice for your future. 

  1. The course of mental health after miscarriage and induced abortion: a longitudinal, five-year follow-up study – PMC (nih.gov)

    Associations between abortion, mental disorders, and suicidal behaviour in a nationally representative sample – PubMed (nih.gov)

    The abortion and mental health controversy: A comprehensive literature review of common ground agreements, disagreements, actionable recommendations, and research opportunities – PMC (nih.gov) ↩︎