When faced with the reality of an unplanned pregnancy, women are faced with the difficult decision surrounding options of parenting, adoption or abortion. Many times this decision can be overwhelming due to questions, concerns and outside pressures.
For pregnancies that are 10 weeks along or less, those considering abortion may learn of a type of abortion known as the abortion pill.
What Is The Abortion Pill?
The abortion pill, sometimes also referred to as a chemical abortion or medical abortion, is a two-step process, usually completed at home. A woman takes two different chemical compounds over the course of 2 days. The first compound is Mifepristone, a synthetic anti-progesterone steroid. It essentially blocks the body from properly absorbing progesterone, a hormone necessary to maintain the proper environment for a pregnancy.
The second compound, misoprostol is taken approximately 2 days after mifepristone, and causes the uterus to contract and expel its contents, terminating the pregnancy. This step is non-reversible, and completes the abortion in the following 24-48 hours after it is taken.
Potential side effects of taking the abortion pill include heavy bleeding, blood clots, an incomplete or failed abortion, undetected ectopic pregnancy, pelvic pain, trouble sleeping, tiredness, back/leg pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting and intense cramping that may occur over a period of time.
But What If You Change Your Mind?
Many women do not realize or are not given the option to know that the first step in the abortion pill process is reversible. If proper action is taken soon enough through the use of the abortion reversal pill process, the pregnancy can be saved.
What Is Abortion Pill Reversal?
The abortion reversal pill is composed of increased progesterone, the “pregnancy hormone” which causes the lining of the uterus to thicken and prevents muscle contractions, preparing a habitable uterine environment for the implantation and growth of a fertilized egg. Without proper progesterone levels the embryo/pregnancy is unable to continue to viability. Therefore, the increased level of progesterone negates the effects of the mifepristone.
In order to effectively reverse the effects of mifepristone, the first pill taken for the chemical abortion, a woman would ideally begin the reversal protocol within 24 hours; though, there have been successful treatments that have begun 72 hours after the first pill. This protocol can occur after visiting a physician who can provide an ultrasound and prescribe an appropriate dosage of progesterone.
An observational study showed that intramuscular and high dose oral progesterone treatment had respective reversal rates of 64-68% and “no increase in birth defects” associated with its usage. The chemical abortion reversal process is based on well established medical science. For decades progesterone has routinely been used to protect pregnancies or related complications—for example, to prevent preterm labor.
Reasons For This Choice
The decision to take the abortion pill is personal and varies from woman to woman. In many cases, the decision can ultimately stem from the reality of financial, mental, physical, or emotional strain. Birthright St. Charles is here to assist women in addressing these issues through compassionate care, professional counseling and the provision of additional resources to ensure she is empowered to make a plan that fits best with her life.
Women who decide to not take the abortion pill after being prescribed it, or discontinue it once taken, will also do so for varying reasons, including: deciding to keep the child, creating an adoption plan, being high risk due to ectopic pregnancy, certain genetic conditions or bleeding disorders or those who currently have an IUD.
The decision to move forward with abortion pill reversal treatment can be an emotional one. Oftentimes, women who feel regret or that they have changed their mind following the ingestion of the initial abortion pill may be unsure where to turn, or if help even exists for them. The reality is, there are resources for the care and support of women who decide to pursue abortion pill reversal, including:
- Abortion Pill Reversal Helpline, 1-877-558-0333
- This resource will help you determine if a reversal is possible and connect you will local providers
- OptionLine, Text HELPLINE TO 313131 or call 1-800-712-HELP
- Missouri Department of Social Services’ Alternatives to Abortion Program
If you or someone you know is facing the reality of an unplanned pregnancy, or mental or emotional distraught stemming from a decision regarding pregnancy, Birthright St. Charles is here to help and provide support and partnership. No matter your thoughts or feelings regarding your pregnancy or decisions surrounding it, we are here to hear you.