The Facts On The Abortion Pill

Ann Friedman observes how, in “the absence of a rational dialogue about the pros and cons of all abortion methods, it can be hard to know where the truth lies.” She addresses the misinformation surrounding mifepristone, the abortion pill:

[T]here’s a general false perception among women that medication abortion will be quicker and easier than a surgical procedure. “The majority think, ‘Hey, I’m gonna pop a pill and that’ll be it,’” the receptionist at an abortion clinic in Nebraska told me. With an early surgical abortion, a woman goes into a clinic and is sure she’s no longer pregnant when she comes out a few hours later. With medication abortion, the process can take up to 48 hours. Even after counseling at a clinic, many women are unprepared for the experience. “I took one pill at home, and I remember at one point actually feeling my cervix open. It was a terrifying feeling,” says Katie, who had a medication abortion in 2004. Another woman described pain that was “so intense that it’s hard to really remember. You sort of feel like you’re tripping or something.” A nurse at an abortion clinic once told me, “Women who have done both will go back to surgical. I’ve never had anyone who’s done both go back to medical.”

But, even if the medication isn’t particularly pleasant, it is quite safe for the woman:

Of the 1.52 million women who have had a medication abortion, there are eight cases of women dying from an infection after taking mifepristone.