Abortion Pill Myths Debunked
Taking a second look at some common misconceptions
Myth #1: "The abortion pill starves/poisons the fetus."
Fact: Mifepristone has two functions.
1. Anti-progestogen - Blocks progesterone, which is the hormone that causes the body to begin making the necessary changes for pregnancy. Some of these changes include:
▪ Changing the lining of the uterus to allow the pregnancy to implant.
▪ Suppressing the immune system so it doesn't attack the pregnancy.
▪ Relaxes the uterine muscle so it is less likely to contract and expel the pregnancy.
More simply, progesterone is your body's way of flipping the "we're pregnant" switch. A progesterone blocker is your way of flipping it back to "we're not pregnant." The birth control pill, levonorgestrel, is also an anti-progestogen. In smaller doses, mifepristone can be used as a normal or emergency contraceptive in a similar way to levonorgestrel. However, because of the increasingly high demand of mifepristone by people who need abortions, we recommend continuing to use levonorgestrel for routine birth control.
2. Anti-glucocorticoid - Blocks gluticocorticoids. Glucocorticoids promote the growth and development of fetal organs such as the lungs, brain, digestive system and kidneys. Blocking glucocorticoids prevents further growth. While this will in the majority of cases cause the death of the fetus, words like "starving" and "poisoning" are medically inaccurate and intended to provoke strong emotional reactions.
Myth #2: Medication abortion is dangerous and can harm fertility.
Because medication abortion induces the body's natural miscarriage process, the risks are similar to those of natural miscarriages. In less than one percent of cases, there may be serious complications such as severe hemorrhage, infection, or failure to terminate the pregnancy. Complications in spontaneous miscarriage happen at the same rate, less than 1%.
A person will be able to ovulate again within 2 to 3 weeks, and will need to use one or more birth control methods to avoid becoming pregnant again. If a person wishes to become pregnant at any point in the future, medication abortion won't hurt your chances. In the case that the abortion fails and the pregnancy continues, there is a small (less than 1%) chance that the fetus may develop abnormalities if misoprostol was used. However, if only mifepristone was used, research suggests that the fetus will continue to develop normally.
WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: These statements are based on general knowledge and may not be applicable to your individual health circumstances. While medication abortion is safe for the majority of people, we cannot offer personalized medical advice for legal and ethical reasons. If you have specific medical questions or concerns, or are experiencing a medical emergency, please consult your doctor or another qualified and trusted professional immediately. If you do not feel safe doing so, you do not have to tell anyone you took or are planning to take abortion pills.
Myth #3: Medication abortion can be reversed.
There is no evidence proving that medication abortion can be reversed after taking mifepristone. The studies that have been used to back this claim were not peer reviewed, and one study had to be ended early because 3 of the 12 women in the study had to be rushed to the hospital for the treatment of severe vaginal bleeding. This means that there is at least a 25% chance of needing hospitalization after abortion pill reversal, making it overwhelmingly more dangerous than medication abortion itself.
For more facts about self-managed abortion, please visit us at http://abortionpillinfo.org/