Reversal of “Abortion Pill” Mifepristone (RU-486)

Is it possible to reverse or block mifepristone or Mifeprex once a woman takes it for an abortion? My friend recently went to a clinic for an abortion, and she was given a prescription for this drug. I talked with her this morning, and she told me she had just taken the drug. But she said she thinks she might have made a terrible mistake and regrets choosing to abort her baby.

The brief answer is yes, it is possible to prevent mifepristone from ending an unborn life. But action must be taken quickly. We urge your friend to contact the nurse counselors at as soon as possibleTheir 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.

What is mifepristone (Mifeprex)?

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’s approved by the FDA for use up to 70 days from the first day of the last menstrual period, although some abortion providers use 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. 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.

Can mifepristone (Mifeprex) be reversed?

Some women, like your friend, experience a change of heart after taking the first of these two drugs. When this happens, it is possible to counter the effect of mifepristone (and so allow the pregnancy to continue) by giving her multiple doses of progesterone.

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. This work has been recognized and endorsed by several pro-life professional groups, including the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists.

Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council has considered the available information about mifepristone reversal. They acknowledge that while progesterone treatments (such as outlined in the research referenced here) 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 it’s given in a timely manner.

It’s not known whether exposure to mifepristone early in pregnancy could potentially cause defects that might be seen at birth or later in life. However, limited case reports to this point haven’t noted such abnormalities.

Next steps

Yes, mifepristone can be blocked or prevented from causing an abortion, although treatment outcome isn’t guaranteed. But timing is critical – so your friend should immediately get in touch with the nurse counselors at Again, their hotline number in (877) 558-0333.

And after she’s made the call to save her pre-born baby’s life, she might want to talk with someone about her situation. We’d be glad to hear from her (and you)!

Call Focus on the Family’s Counseling department for a free over-the-phone consultation. Our licensed or pastoral counselors can also put you or your friend in touch with a pregnancy care center or a medical professional who can give further information.


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