Morning-After Pills vs. Abortion Pills

mardi, avril 23, 2019 blog Share

One prevents pregnancy right after sex. The other ends pregnancy weeks later. Know the difference!

Different pills

With graduation season coming up fast, I've been having a lot of conversations with friends who are sending their young adult children out into the world. My friends have really impressed me by making sure their kids have a supply of emergency contraception (EC), also known as the morning-after pill. So the last time the subject came up, I asked if they would be interested in teaching their kids about abortion with pills, too.

Imagine my surprise when my ordinarily well-informed friends all said, "Isn't that the same thing?"

No! They're not the same thing at all! Here's a simple summary of the differences. It's important to understand and share this information — it could be the difference between having and not having an unwanted pregnancy, especially for someone who doesn't know which one they need or how to get it!

Emergency contraception

Prevents pregnancy.

Does not end an established pregnancy.

Called the morning-after pill because you have to take it within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

Usually levonorgestrel, one of the common ingredients in hormonal birth control pills.

Usually taken in a single dose.

Available over the counter at pharmacies or even from Amazon.

Medication abortion

Ends a pregnancy of up to 12 weeks.

Does not prevent pregnancy.

Should not be taken unless a person knows they are pregnant.

Usually misoprostol (also known as cytotec) or misoprostol and mifepristone.

Usually taken in several doses on a specific schedule over several hours.

Not available over the counter in the United States, although there are several other ways to get it.

At, we believe you deserve accurate, up-to-date information about how medication abortion actually works and how to have a safe self-managed abortion. Read our Frequently Asked Questions and share the information with anyone you think might need it – even people you think already know it!