More and more, women are being prescribed the abortion pill online. Some say they are safe and effective, while others claim the risks of having an at-home abortion far outweigh the benefits. So, is the abortion pill online safe enough to take?
How Does The Abortion Pill Work?
When a woman is pregnant, her body releases a hormone called progesterone. It’s her body’s way of seeing the pregnancy and coming in to support it and keep it healthy. The first of the two-pill regimen – mifepristone – blocks the effects of the progesterone. This essentially cuts off nutrients to the fetus and stops it from growing.
With the pregnancy still in the uterus, the second pill (taken the next day) causes large contractions. This sets in motion what some doctors call “early delivery” and is similar to those of a miscarriage. Because the process is so intense, having an at-home abortion through the pill can be overwhelming.
Abortion Pill Online Safety
There are a few key differences in getting the abortion pill online versus in a doctor’s office. For one, there are risks that come along with not having an in-person visit before getting the pill, such as not knowing the gestational age of the fetus. Another con is not having a doctor in person to check in through an emotionally and physically heavy process.
Risks of At-Home Abortion
By skipping an in-person exam, risks increase, such as:
- dating a pregnancy incorrectly, which risks severe complications if taken after the 10-week limit from the FDA
- having an ectopic pregnancy, which risks missing the window for potentially life-saving treatment
- isolation during a traumatic procedure, which risks depression and suicidal thoughts (these are already extremely high after an abortion) and encourages a woman to go through it alone
- not seeing an ultrasound, which risks pressure into an abortion decision without knowing what’s going on in a woman’s body
Possible Complications of At-Home Abortion
The safety of the abortion pill online is minimal at best. While removing mandatory doctor’s appointments can be convenient, it also removes essential medical services from the abortion process. For example, someone can test positive on a pregnancy test but not know they have an ectopic pregnancy – which is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Forgoing an ultrasound and having an at-home abortion leaves a big risk of missing an ectopic pregnancy and not getting life-saving treatment in time.
Additionally, abortion complications are very common with the pill – about one in three women experience mild to severe physical side effects. In fact, the abortion pill actually has four times the amount of complications than surgical abortion. The abortion pill process should have more medical supervision, not less.
And this doesn’t even include psychological side effects: depression, nightmares and regret follow roughly one-third of abortions. There is also a double risk of suicide and five times the risk of substance abuse compared to someone who miscarries. Experiencing such a physically and emotionally heavy procedure alone would make it even harder than it already is and has the potential to harm your physical, emotional and mental health.
Preparing to Take the Abortion Pill Online
If you’re considering the abortion pill online, there are a few simple steps to start with. Though it may feel like a rush, you have time to ensure your health and safety.
First, go to a clinic and confirm the pregnancy. Pregnancy medical clinics offer pregnancy testing free of charge, and can usually fit you in the same day.
The next step is getting an ultrasound. This is by far the most important step before ordering the abortion pill online. Not only will it ensure the pregnancy isn’t ectopic or abnormal, but it is also a window into what is going on in your body. Women often feel hesitant to look and listen when seeking an abortion, but having all of the information will help you make the best possible decision.
After that, seek counseling. It’s okay to slow down and talk through the options because though it seems simple, ordering the abortion pill online, it comes with a lifelong impact.
We suggest going to your nearest pregnancy medical clinic as a first step. They can provide all of the above services and can typically fit you in the same day. They are nonprofits dedicated to helping women with unexpected pregnancy, and therefore don’t charge for services. Find the nearest pregnancy clinic here. If you aren’t ready to go to a clinic but still want to talk to someone, you can call us at 1-800-A-FAMILY to chat about options and how you’re feeling.
If you’ve taken the first of two abortion pills and changed your mind, there may still be time to reverse the effects of the pill and save the pregnancy. Learn more here.