That is a great question. Like many prescription drugs there are considerations and questions that need to be asked to determine if this is an option for you. Here are five different considerations that every woman should be aware of before taking the abortion pill.
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside of the uterus, most commonly in a fallopian tube (1). This occurs in 1 out of 50 pregnancies according to the March of Dimes (2). When an ectopic pregnancy occurs, a woman will still have a positive pregnancy test and may think that she’s having a normal pregnancy. Severe complications can arise if it is left untreated, however. The only way to know if you have an ectopic pregnancy is to have beta hCG levels drawn and to verify the location of the pregnancy through ultrasound (3). An ectopic pregnancy is a life threatening condition.
The Abortion pill is contraindicated by the FDA and should not be taken if you have an ectopic pregnancy (4). The abortion pill does not end an ectopic pregnancy. The woman remains in grave danger of rupture of the fallopian tube and hemorrhage (5). Maternal death is a major risk factor with any ectopic pregnancy (5).
Most women discover their pregnancy through an over the counter urine pregnancy test. These tests measure the levels of a hormone called hCg. This hormone can be found in urine after 12-15 days of pregnancy (6). While these tests can indicate a pregnancy, they do not indicate how many days/weeks/months a woman has been pregnant. That is why many obstetrician offices choose to use an ultrasound to determine the measurements of the baby and the yolk sac and then date the pregnancy off those measurements (7).
The FDA has approved the abortion pill for pregnancies less than 10 weeks from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period (8). Even with accurate dating, you cannot predict with certainty the age of the baby based on the last menstrual period alone.
The CDC estimates that 1 out of 5 people have an STI (9). The most common, Chlamydia, often does not produce any symptoms. In fact, according to two different studies, 70-95% of women and 90% of men do not know they have Chlamydia (10). Studies have shown that if a woman has an STI, abortion increases the risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) (11). PID is the cause of many long-term complications including infertility and pelvic pain for women (12).
Another complication with the abortion pill is something referred to as “incomplete abortion”. This means that the pill did not complete the removal of the pregnancy. This is a serious complication. One study suggested that up to 30% of medically induced abortions (abortions that occur from the abortion pill) result in an incomplete abortion (13), requiring surgery to complete the removal of tissue and prevent infection.
Some women opt to order the abortion pill online and have it delivered to their home. The FDA warns against this (14), as this is not a drug you should take without the supervision of a medical professional.
A recent longitudinal study found a 500% increase in Emergency Room visits following a medically induced abortion from 2002-2015 (15). The complications are real.
As medicine advances, the understanding of holistic care is continuing to gain traction. As humans there is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspect to each of our lives, and we must address the mental health effects of medication abortion.
A Study published October 2022 states that “for six out of ten women, medication abortion is a traumatic experience that can include physical pain, emotional distress, and lasting feelings of isolation for which they desire help, but most don't know where to turn.”(16)
At Metro Women’s Care we often receive calls from women who took the abortion pill and are suffering from complications-physically and mentally. In speaking with them we find that many of them were not aware of the possibility of these complications when they were prescribed the abortion pill. We hope you found this helpful and we recognize you may have other questions. Please call us at 703-354-7272 for an appointment where we can confirm your pregnancy and discuss your concerns, questions, and options.