You’ve just done a pregnancy test and it says positive. You might be feeling a range of emotions. Maybe you are excited if this is something you’ve been hoping and praying for. Or maybe you are scared, anxious, or surprised. Perhaps you are thinking “This isn’t a good time” or “I’m not ready to be a mom”. Then what? You start thinking “What am I going to do?” and you might start to think about abortion. You go to your computer and type in “abortion” and find out that the abortion pill (RU-486) is available online. Seems pretty easy and safe, right? But is it?

Risks of the abortion pill

The abortion pill comes with risks. In fact, the risk to the woman who takes the abortion pill is greater than the risk to a woman who undergoes a surgical abortion.

There is…

  • greater risk of hemorrhage (15.6% in a medication abortion and 2.1% in a surgical abortion),
  • greater risk of incomplete abortion which means tissue is left inside (6.7% compared to 1.6%), and
  • greater risk of emergency surgery (5.9% in medication abortion and 1.8% in a surgical abortion).

The risks associated with the abortion pill are so great, in fact, that when the FDA approved RU-486 for the medical termination of pregnancy, it put several restrictions in place.

These restrictions are called REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) and the FDA applies them in cases where the risks of a drug may outweigh the benefits (such as in the case of the abortion pill). Some of the restrictions that the FDA applied were:

-that the drug must be given to the patient by a qualified healthcare provider

-may be dispensed only in clinics, medical offices, or hospitals

This allowed for the patient who undergoes abortion to have her pregnancy verified, the gestational age established through ultrasound, and ectopic pregnancy ruled out by a qualified healthcare professional.

In 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficulty of many patients to access in-person appointments, the FDA modified the REMS requirements. Now, the abortion pill can be prescribed remotely and dispensed by a pharmacy. The patient can take the pills home and complete the abortion without ever being seen by a medical provider. This situation is very risky since gestational age has not been verified by an ultrasound and ectopic pregnancy has not been ruled out. In addition, she has no medical professional to call for an evaluation if she thinks something is wrong, if the bleeding is greater than expected, or if her pain is too great. If the woman is farther along than she thinks, or if she has an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy, her risk of emergency surgery and even death is greatly increased.

The FDA has the following warning on its website:

“You should not buy Mifeprex or its approved generic over the Internet because you will bypass important safeguards designed to protect your health.”

The abortion pill may seem like an easy answer to your difficult situation, but there is a real health risk involved, not to mention the emotional and psychological trauma of experiencing the abortion all on your own. But you are not alone, and there are other options for your pregnancy. Please contact BPC. We are here to help you.

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