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Is At-Home Abortion Safe?

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you’ve likely heard the term “at-home abortion”. You may be wondering how it works, what your options are, and if it’s the right choice for you. 


It’s crucial to get all the facts, so you can make a fully informed decision. In this blog, we’ll explore at-home abortions—including how they work and if they’re safe, legal, and right for you. Keep reading to learn more! 


How Does an At-Home Abortion Work? 

An at-home abortion is exactly what it sounds like—an abortion done at home. Some women attempt at-home abortions by ingesting a mixture of herbs (more on that in a moment). Others take the abortion pill (also known as medication abortion). 


Although it’s called the abortion pill (singular), there are actually two pills in the abortion pill regimen: mifepristone and misoprostol. 


Mifepristone is taken first, usually in a clinic. This pill cuts the supply of the hormone progesterone to the embryo, which is needed to continue the pregnancy. The embryo stops growing without a steady supply of progesterone.


Misoprostol is taken 24-48 hours later at home. It causes the uterus to cramp and expel the embryo, which ends the pregnancy.


Are At-Home Abortions Legal?

You can’t take the abortion pill beyond 10 weeks of pregnancy (or 70 days since the first day of your last menstrual period)[1]per FDA guidelines. Currently, you can have an abortion up to viability in California[2].


California state law doesn’t require an ultrasound prior to an abortion. However, we recommend receiving free pregnancy testing and ultrasound at Pregnancy Care Center to determine how far along you are. If your ultrasound determines that you’re too far along for the abortion pill, we will provide factual information and education on all your pregnancy options, so you can make the best choice for your health and future!


Are At-Home Abortions Safe?

At-home abortions are not without risk. After taking the abortion pill, you could experience severe side effects, such as: 


  • Hemorrhaging. It’s normal to bleed for a while after taking the abortion pill. However, if you soak through two full-size sanitary pads per hour, for two or more hours, you could be hemorrhaging[3].


  • Anaphylactic Shock. You could go into anaphylactic shock if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients in misoprostol[4].


  • Incomplete abortion. Incomplete abortions occur when some pregnancy tissue remains in the uterus after misoprostol has been taken. You may need emergency surgery to remove the remaining tissue and prevent an infection[5]


  • Infection. If you experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever for more than 24 hours after taking the second medication, an infection may have developed. You may need antibiotics or even surgery to treat your condition[5].


Herbal abortions are also incredibly dangerous. You may have seen videos on social media talking about how easy and convenient they are. However, there isn’t enough scientific evidence available to suggest that they actually work. Additionally, medical professionals warn that they can cause permanent infertility, significant sickness, organ failure, and even death[6]


Abortion Information in Fresno, CA

We get it—an unplanned pregnancy can leave you feeling desperate. Many of us at Pregnancy Care Center have been there ourselves. It’s our mission to help you protect your health and make a safe, informed decision! We provide abortion information, free pregnancy services, and a nonjudgmental space to explore your options and process your emotions. 


Give us a call at (559) 237-0683 to schedule your free appointment! All services are free and confidential.


Please be aware that Pregnancy Care Center does not provide or refer for abortion services.

Sources

  1. FDA. (2023, September 1). Questions and Answers on Mifeprex. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/questions-and-answers-mifeprex  

  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016, May 16). Mifepristone (Mifeprex). MedlinePlus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a600042.html 

  3. Shin, Hyun Joo, et al. “Anaphylactic Shock to Vaginal Misoprostol: A Rare Adverse Reaction to a Frequently Used Drug.” PubMed Central (PMC), 9 Aug. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137020

  4. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, July 29). Medical Abortion. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/medical-abortion/about/pac-20394687

  5. Wancour, B. (2022, July 19). Medicine’s Ryan Marino discussed the dangers of “herbal abortions.” Case Western Reserve University. https://thedaily.case.edu/medicines-ryan-marino-discussed-the-dangers-of-herbal-abortions/  

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