How does the abortion pill compare with emergency contraception? Just the thought of an unintended pregnancy can literally spin women’s heads. In fact, nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute (Aug 2011). When you say unintended pregnancy, it just means that the pregnancy was mistimed or unwanted at the time of conception and it may be because of the failure of the birth control method used or there was no contraceptive use at all. If faced with an unintended pregnancy, what choice do women have if they want to end their pregnancy?
Time is of the essence when you decide to end the pregnancy. Not only does it cost more every day that you delay the procedure but it will also make it harder for you to get the procedure done because of legal restrictions that you may also have in your State. For the earliest pregnancies, you have two choices. You can either opt for the emergency contraception method or the abortion pill.
Emergency Contraception Emergency contraception is actually equivalent to taking birth control pills after unprotected sexual intercourse. Also called the "morning-after pill", these emergency contraception pills contain short-lived hormones that stop ovulation and inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg. These are ideally used immediately after unprotected sex, for up to 5 days, but to achieve the highest effectiveness for these pills, you should take them within 72 hours (3 days). It is important to distinguish the morning-after pill from the abortion pill. These pills are not meant to abort already existing pregnancies; rather, they attempt to prevent a possible pregnancy from occurring. The success rate of the emergency contraction ranges between 75%-89%.
Most women opt for the emergency contraception method for the following reasons: (1) The contraceptive fails, like if the condom breaks or their diaphragm slips out of place; (2) The contraceptive was used incorrectly, like if you forgot to take your birth control pill or you didn’t get your updated Depo-Provera shot; and (3) there really is no contraception used, like if the sexual intercourse was not planned or there was sexual assault.
The pills, which are to be taken in 2 doses within 12 hours, are available by prescription only from most clinics, hospitals, health centers and private doctors’ offices.
Abortion Pill If the emergency contraception method prevents a possible pregnancy, the abortion pill will end any existing pregnancy provided it is still below 9 weeks of gestation from your last menstrual period (LMP). The abortion pill is actually a non-surgical abortion which many women favor over having a surgical abortion. It consists of two medications, which is why it is also called "medical abortion", Mifepristone and Misoprostol.
Mifepristone is given orally in the clinic by a physician, after determining that you’re within the limits prescribed for the abortion pill. It works by breaking down the uterine lining thereby stopping the pregnancy. The 2nd medication, Misoprostol, is given to the patient to be taken home. When used, it expels all the pregnancy tissue which is why you’ll experience some bleeding and cramping for a week or two after that, but the pregnancy will have passed within 48 hours.