What Are My Abortion Options?
By Kathleen Morrison
Let’s get right down to it. When you need an abortion, you need info fast: how it works, where to get one, will it be safe and effective, and how much it will cost. We’re going to break down your options and answer some of the most common questions about abortion right here.
What are my safe and legal options for abortion?
You may have heard a lot about the abortion pill in the news recently, but that’s not your only option for safe and legal abortion care. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, you can choose from a few different options.
Medication abortions, also referred to as the "abortion pill" are very common and are often easier to access than in-clinic procedures. They are used early on in the pregnancy (up to 77 days, or 11 weeks, after the first day of your last period). Despite being called the abortion pill, medication abortion actually uses two different medicines: mifepristone and misoprostol. These medicines are extremely safe (4 times safer than aspirin). They are taken at the same time or 48 hours apart according to your doctor’s instructions. Rules around medication abortion vary from state to state so your healthcare provider will give you detailed instructions about when, where, and how to take the medicines. According to the CDC, this type of abortion makes up 42.3% of all abortions in the US.
Wisp delivers telehealth medical abortion services to 9 states.
Suction abortion, also called vacuum aspiration, is an in-clinic abortion option. It can usually be used up to 14-16 weeks after your last period and uses gentle suction to empty your uterus. Although the number of people choosing medication abortion is increasing every year, suction abortions before 13 weeks are still the most common, representing 49% of all US abortions.
Dilation & Evacuation
Dilation & Evacuation (D&E) is another type of in-clinic abortion procedure. This type of abortion uses a combination of suction and medical tools to empty the uterus and can be used if you are further than 16 weeks into your pregnancy. Surgical abortions beyond 13 weeks are relatively uncommon, constituting 7.3% of all abortions.
There is a lot (and we mean A LOT) of misinformation out there about abortion. Abortions performed by medical providers are extremely safe, and in fact, are 14 times safer than giving birth in the US. Remember: your decision about your pregnancy is personal and you are the expert when it comes to what is right for you.
How does the abortion pill work?
Let’s break down exactly what happens in your body during a medication abortion. As mentioned above, you will first take a medicine called mifepristone. Mifepristone blocks the progesterone from your body, a hormone that is necessary for a pregnancy to progress normally. When progesterone is blocked, the pregnancy stops growing. Next, misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus. Some people describe it as a heavy, crampy period, and the experience is similar to the natural miscarriages that are very common early in pregnancy. As with all medical procedures, there are risks, but complications from the abortion pill are extremely rare. Millions of patients have had safe and successful medication abortions and these medicines have been used safely in the US to perform abortions for over 20 years.
How effective is the abortion pill?
The effectiveness of the abortion pill depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy.
- For people who are 8 weeks pregnant or less, it works about 94-98% of the time.
- For people who are 8-9 weeks pregnant, it works about 94-96% of the time.
- For people who are 9-10 weeks pregnant, it works about 91-93% of the time. If you're given an extra dose of medicine, it works about 99% of the time.
- For people who are 10-11 weeks pregnant, it works about 87% of the time. If you're given an extra dose of medicine, it works about 98% of the time.
Ultimately, you can talk to your healthcare provider about what options will work best for you to decide on the option that is the best fit for your situation.
How do I get an abortion online?
You can request abortion treatment online right here with wisp. Answer a few questions about your health and order your medication. If you are eligible, you’ll receive our Medical Abortion Kit which includes abortion medicines, anti-nausea meds, painkillers, and a pregnancy test. You’ll also have 24/7 support from our medical team and the ability to connect with your doctor at any time to ask questions. We’ve always got your back—we’ll follow up 1 week and 4 weeks after treatment to check in on how you’re doing.