The US Supreme Court, effectively ending the constitutional right to an abortion, which had been in place since 1973. The majority opinion in doesn’t criminalize abortion on a federal level, but it leaves the decision on allowing access to abortion up to individual states (for more information, check out CNET’s list of ).
In-clinic abortions were targeted by the Supreme Court ruling, but it’s still possible and legal to obtain what’s commonly known as the abortion pill — actually two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, which are taken one after the other and can be used at home.
“Both methods of abortion are safe and effective, and it’s important that my patients be able to choose the method that is right for them,” Dr. Nisha Verma, Darney-Landy Fellow at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in a statement. “Some of my patients prefer the abortion procedure, knowing that when they leave my care, they are no longer pregnant. Others prefer to be able to take the pills needed for medication abortion in the comfort and privacy of their own home. Both choices are great choices, and both methods should be equally available to all of my patients.”
On June 24, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said that states can’t ban the medications based on disagreement with the Food and Drug Administration’s judgment on their safety and efficacy. US President Joe Biden also said that his administration would protect access to the FDA-approved oral abortifacient medications, as well as to contraceptives.
Despite that, many states have banned or placed heavy restrictions on. For example, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that prohibits pregnant people getting the abortion pill through the mail. According to the bill, anyone who mails the abortion pill risks a $1,000 fine and up to six months in prison.
“Women in states that ban abortion will still be able to end unwanted pregnancies with abortion pills ordered online from overseas, though the legal situation is murky and carries potential risks,” CNBC reported on June 27.
Since the overturning of Roe, Biden has signed anaimed at making the abortion pill “as widely accessible as possible.”
Here’s what you need to know about medication abortion:
What’s the abortion pill?
The abortion pill actually consists of two medicines, taken one after the other, that are used to terminate a pregnancy: mifepristone and misoprostol. According to Planned Parenthood, the pill is recommended for up to 11 weeks of pregnancy. After 11 weeks, the side effects of the pill, like cramping, nausea and chills, may be more intense.
“Data indicates that medication abortion can be used for abortions after 70 days gestational age,” said Verma. “A different medication regimen may be used to increase the effectiveness of the process after nine weeks from the last menstrual period.”
How does the abortion pill work?
Once people obtain the medication, they take mifepristone first. This pill blocks the body’s production of progesterone, a hormone required for a pregnancy to develop normally. Next, they take the second pill, misoprostol, up to 48 hours later. Misoprostol essentially induces the cervix and uterus to relax and expel the contents of the uterus.
After taking misoprostol, people may experience heavy cramping and bleeding, similar to a miscarriage. According to Planned Parenthood, if there’s no bleeding within 24 hours of taking the second pill, people should call their nurse or doctor.
To ensure the medication worked, take a pregnancy test, or follow up with your doctor. According to the National Library of Medicine, the abortion pill is 99.6% effective at nine weeks of gestation or less.
“The current evidence shows that most people are able to safely and effectively manage their abortions using mifepristone and misoprostol when they acquire these medications from reliable sources,” said Verma. “Medication abortion is an extremely safe medical intervention.”
How can I get the abortion pill?
There are a number of ways to get the abortion pill. In states where abortion has been banned, it’s possible to get the medication by using mail forwarding. Here are a few resources:
You can obtain the abortion pill at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center. Use the Find a Health Center locator on Planned Parenthood’s website. Once you find a nearby clinic, you can call 1-800-230-PLAN or book an appointment online. The locator will let you know what services the clinic offers, what the hours are and information about insurance and payments.
Plan C is an information campaign with the goal of normalizing the self-directed option of the abortion pill by mail. Visit the website, click Find Abortion Pills and choose your state. Plan C will let you know if abortion is banned in your area, inform you of available services for accessing the pill by mail with clinician support, and give you information on prices, delivery time frames and more.
You can also find a nearby abortion provider through abortionfinder.org. As with Planned Parenthood, you’ll need to input some information (which the site says is kept private and confidential), like your location, age range and the first day of your last period (it’ll still work if you’re unsure). Click Find a Provider to view a directory of verified providers in the US, as well as articles about abortion and a guide to abortion laws by state.
Abortion on Demand
Abortion on Demand is an organization dedicated to delivering the abortion pill to people in need, quickly, easily and safely. Visit the website and click Schedule Visit. You’ll be guided through a short questionnaire and set up a telehealth appointment with a doctor. If you meet Abortion on Demand’s requirements, the service can overnight the abortion pills to you in discreet packaging along with medications to help with cramping and nausea. After you’ve taken the pills, the organization will check on you and offer follow-up doctor support.
How much does the abortion pill cost?
According to Planned Parenthood, the medication costs about $750, but price varies based on your state, health center or applicable health insurance. You can find it several hundred dollars cheaper through some providers, like Aid Access, Abortion Telemedicine and Forward Midwifery.
According to Planned Parenthood, the abortion pill may be free or cheaper with health insurance, but some plans don’t cover it. To find out for sure, you’ll need to call your insurance provider.
If your insurance doesn’t cover the pill, or you need more assistance, you can look into abortion fund organizations like the National Network of Abortion Funds. On NNAF’s site, you can search your state to find a fund and see if it offers financial assistance. These funds can also help with child care, contraception, lodging, translators and more.
Is the abortion pill different from Plan B?
Yes.is an emergency contraceptive designed to prevent pregnancy before it begins. Abortion pills are used to terminate an existing pregnancy. Plan B is most often used by people who forgot a dose of their daily birth control, for example, and recently had unprotected sex.
Plan B, or levonorgestrel, temporarily delays ovulation and prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg. The abortion pill blocks the progesterone hormone, which is produced when someone’s already pregnant.
For more information, check outand .
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.