Reversal of "Abortion Pill" Mifepristone (RU-486)

The brief answer is yes, it is possible to prevent mifepristone from ending an unborn life, but action must be taken quickly. We would urge your friend to contact the nurse counselors at as soon as possible. Their hotline number in (877) 558-0333. An on-call nurse will ask your friend some basic questions to see if reversal is possible. The nurse will then connect her with a doctor or medical provider in her area to start treatment.


Mifepristone, also known as RU-486 or by its brand name, Mifeprex, is frequently referred to as the "abortion pill," and is used for what is often called a "chemical abortion." It is approved by the FDA for use up to 70 days from the first day of the last menstrual period, although some abortion providers utilize it later in pregnancy. A chemical abortion involves the administration of two drugs:

  • Mifepristone blocks the effects of progesterone, which is necessary for maintenance of the lining of the uterus. Basically, this drug deprives the developing embryo of the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to survive.

  • Two days after mifepristone has been taken, the drug misoprostol (brand name Cytotec) is given. This drug produces contractions that will usually cause the embryo to be expelled from the uterus.

If this drug combination does not result in an abortion, the woman is offered a surgical procedure to terminate her pregnancy.

Some women, like your friend, experience a change of heart after taking the first of these two drugs. When this occurs, it is possible to counter the effect of mifepristone (and thus allow the pregnancy to continue) by giving her multiple doses of progesterone. In order to maximize the likelihood of success, the progesterone regimen should be started within 48 hours after mifepristone has been taken (and definitely before the second drug, misoprostol, has been taken).

In recent years, pro-life physicians have published case reports of apparent successful reversal of mifepristone using progesterone.George Delgado and Mary Davenport. Progesterone use to reverse the effects of mifepristone. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, December 2012. Delgado, et al. A case series detailing the successful reversal of the effects of mifepristone using progesterone. Issues in Law and Medicine, Spring 2018. This work has been recognized and endorsed by the National Institute of Family and Life Associates (NIFLA) and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists.

Focus on the Family's Physicians Resource Council has considered the available information about mifepristone reversal and acknowledges that while progesterone treatments such as outlined in the research articles referenced above represent an off-label use of this drug, this treatment poses little or no risk to the mother or the baby she is carrying, and could potentially save the life of an unborn child if given in a timely manner. It's not known whether exposure to mifepristone early in pregnancy could potentially cause defects that might be noted at birth or later in life, though limited case reports thus far have not noted such abnormalities.

That said, yes, it is possible for mifepristone to be blocked or prevented from causing an abortion, although there is no guaranteed outcome for the treatment. Time, however, is of the essence – so your friend should not wait to act.

While the first order of business should be making the call necessary to save her pre-born baby's life, if she would like to talk with someone about her situation, we would be happy for her to call Focus on the Family's Counseling department. Both the phone call and the consultation are free-of-charge. Our counselors can also put you or your friend in touch with a pregnancy care center or a medical professional who can provide further information.


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The Abortion Pill

This information has been provided and approved by the Physicians Resource Council of Focus on the Family.

The information provided here is for general informational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional for specific questions regarding your particular situation.

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