Now Is the Time to Learn About Self-Managed Abortions, a.k.a. Abortion Pills

Using medication like abortion pills to terminate a pregnancy at home without a doctor’s supervision or outside of a traditional health care setting is referred to as self-managed abortion. Studies have proved the effectiveness of using pills to have an abortion at home, and these medications have been recommended by organizations including Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organization.

Bear in mind, as the laws across the country continue to shift rapidly, some means of accessing medication may not remain legal indefinitely. Glamour spoke with a leader in reproductive law and consulted peer-reviewed research to bring you everything you need to know about abortion pills.

About the pills:

Mifepristone and misoprostol are both FDA-approved medications that are proven both safe and highly effective at inducing miscarriage within 10 weeks of pregnancy. In the United States they are usually prescribed as a pair when used for self-managed abortion. However, evidence shows that misoprostol—which is much cheaper and easier to obtain—is also effective for first-trimester self-managed abortion when used alone. Misoprostol has other common uses as well, such as for the treatment of ulcers, which is part of why it is so much more widely available.

How the pills work:

Mifepristone blocks the progesterone hormone, thereby keeping pregnancy from progressing, while misoprostol induces uterine contractions to expel the pregnancy. This is not the same thing as Plan B or other morning-after pills, which forestalls a pregnancy by preventing the egg from being released by the ovary or a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Abortion pills essentially induce a miscarriage, and in the 1% of cases of cases where medical intervention becomes necessary, treatment is the same.


Studies indicate that abortion pills successfully end a pregnancy with no complications in about 95% of cases, while fewer than 1% of cases require medical intervention for complications. In 2018 the FDA reported that the mortality rate for mifepristone comes to 0.35 deaths out of 100,000. For scale, erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra have a mortality rate of 4 out of 100,000. The maternal mortality rate in the United States is 18 out of 100,000 live births nationally, and 40 out of 100,000 for Black women.

That said, abortion pills are not recommended for people on blood thinners or who show signs of a potential ectopic pregnancy.


People who live in states where abortion is banned or severely restricted—such as Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Oklahoma, or Texas, among others—can still obtain pills through a variety of means. One resource is Plan C, a well-known abortion access advocacy organization. The site offers practical guides and tools for obtaining abortion pills in all 50 states, including through telehealth.


您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注