Medication Abortion Pill Information

RU-486, also known as the Abortion Pill, is the name commonly used for an artificial steroid that blocks progesterone, a hormone needed to continue a pregnancy. Approved for use with pregnancies within 70 days of the last menstrual period and considered unsafe beyond that time. The pill, or mifepristone, causes an abortion by blocking the hormone progesterone, which is necessary for pregnancy to continue. The abortion pill is administered in three doses, along with another drug, misoprostol, and usually requires three clinic visits. On the first visit, the woman takes three mifepristone abortion pills, which results in the death of the fetus. On Day 3, she takes the second abortion pill, misoprostol, which will cause cramping to expel the fetus. A follow-up visit is required two weeks after taking the abortion pill to ensure that the pregnancy has terminated. If an ultrasound scan shows that the fetus has stopped growing but not been expelled, a surgical abortion will be required.


Mifepristone is the generic name for RU-486. In the U.S., RU-486 is sold under the brand names Mifeprex® and Early Option®.

An RU-486 abortion involves two drugs

When taken alone, RU-486 causes a complete abortion only about 60% of the time. A second drug, a prostaglandin, is given 48 hours later to increase the abortion pill’s effectiveness. The prostaglandin causes uterine contractions to help expel the embryo.Misoprostol (brand name Cytotec) is the prostaglandin used with RU-486 in the U.S.

Medication Abortion: 

If you’re considering a medication abortion, it’s essential to be aware of certain conditions that may make the procedure unsafe. Our center offers some preliminary medical services that should be completed before taking medication abortion.

Do not take the abortion pill if:

You are unsure you are pregnant. Our center can provide you with a free medical-quality pregnancy test to help determine if you are pregnant.

You may have experienced a miscarriage, or you could have an ectopic pregnancy. An ultrasound can help determine whether these conditions apply. Our center can provide an ultrasound free of charge.

Your pregnancy has progressed beyond ten weeks from your last menstrual period (LMP). An ultrasound can help determine how far along you are in your pregnancy. Our center can provide an ultrasound free of charge.

You are currently using an intrauterine device (IUD). It’s recommended that you have your IUD removed before attempting a medical abortion as it can be painful and may become partially expelled during the process.

If you suspect that you’re pregnant, it’s best to schedule an appointment with our center to learn about your options and make the best decision for yourself.

Ordering medication abortion online without consulting a healthcare provider can lead to unwanted complications.

It’s important to note that if the medication abortion fails to work, a surgical procedure may be necessary. This may result in additional costs and add to the risk of complications from an incomplete abortion, including heavy bleeding/hemorrhage, anemia, and ongoing pregnancy.

Failures, which are defined as cases requiring surgical procedure for medical reasons or because the patient requested it, the abortion was incomplete, or the pregnancy was ongoing, increase with longer durations of pregnancy. Women must be informed to return for a clinical examination in cases of acute or prolonged bleeding, pain, or fever, as these signs may be indicators of failure or other complications that need treatment.

Sources of information include the FDA, reputable healthcare websites, and abortion care providers. It’s important to seek out reliable sources of information and consult a healthcare provider before making any decisions about medication abortion.


Doctors calculate the length of pregnancy by counting from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP), that is, about two weeks prior to conception (fertilization). So “up to 70 days LMP” means up to 9 weeks after conception. Our Pregnancy Resource Center offers individual consultation and accurate information about all pregnancy options including abortion procedures and risks; however we do not recommend, offer or refer for the Morning After Pill, Abortion Pill (RU486) or any other abortion-causing drug or procedure.