What are the Side Effects of the Abortion Pill?

We spend hours and hours researching our next big purchase comparing brands, looking at photos, and reading reviews. It only makes sense you’re wanting to learn as much as possible when it comes to one of the biggest decisions you face to date. 

When it comes to your pregnancy options, abortion can often seem like the easiest route. For some, getting an abortion is like pushing a problem under a rug and hiding it so that nobody ever finds out. However, it’s important to remember abortion is a serious medical procedure that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

As you explore your pregnancy options, it’s important do the research necessary to understand the pros and cons of each choice, including the many risks and side effects that can accompany the abortion pill.

 

What is the abortion pill?

The abortion pill is a form of abortion that ends a pregnancy through chemical means. 


The abortion pill, also known as a medical abortion, uses two drugs to end a pregnancy within the first 11 weeks of development. The first drug, Mifepristone, stops the production of the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which inhibits the growth of the pregnancy. This drug is administered in a doctor’s office while Misoprostol, the second drug, is taken later at home. Misoprostol causes contractions to start, which forces the fetus from the uterus.



Are there side effects of the abortion pill?

With most abortions, whether medical or surgical, you can expect to experience some minor side effects like cramping, bleeding, abdominal pain, and discomforts like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

In addition to these common side effects, you should also be aware of some of the more serious risks associated with abortion.


1. The Abortion Pill Can Cause Issues with Future Childbearing

 

For women who don’t feel ready to have a child now but are hoping for future pregnancies, it’s important to understand the impact abortion might have on your future pregnancies. The abortion pill has been associated with the risk of spontaneous preterm birth and abortion pill complications, such as infection, have been linked to fertility complications.1



2. Medical Abortions are Linked to Mental Health Issues

Many women report that the abortion pill and their experience of completing the abortion at home have caused mental health issues. These include things like depression and anxiety. At-home abortions via the abortion pill have also triggered pre-existing mental health conditions.2

3. The Abortion Pill Can Increase Risk for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Have you recently been tested for STDs? Having chlamydia at the time of an abortion increases your risk of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) by 23%.3 PID is an infection in a woman’s reproductive organs that can cause abscesses, fertility issues, and chronic pain. 

4. Medical Abortions Can Cause Relationship Issues Related to Bonding

While some women never experience physical side effects, many women report dealing with relationship issues in the wake of their abortions. From difficulties bonding with future children to a 45-75% increase in breakup and divorce following the procedure, there is strong evidence the impacts of the abortion pill go far beyond the physical body and impact even our closest relationships.4

5. The Abortion Pill May Lead to Life-Threatening Complications

 

On occasion, medical abortions fail to fully expel the pregnancy from the uterus, leaving the woman at risk for what’s called an “incomplete abortion.” Incomplete abortions, if untreated, can lead to infection, hemorrhaging, and potentially death.

If you think you might be experiencing an incomplete abortion, call your doctor immediately. 



What should I do if I’m pregnant?

Unplanned pregnancies can be accompanied by intense feelings of dread, anxiety, and shame. Know this — there is no shame and you’re not alone in your journey! Millions of women have walked in your shoes and have gone on to live fulfilling and amazing lives!

Your friends at BsideU for Life are here to help you navigate your unplanned pregnancy — from equipping you with all of the knowledge you need regarding each of your options to providing you with no-cost resources and healthcare!



1. Bhattacharya, S. et al. Reproductive outcomes following induced abortion: a national register-based cohort study in Scotland. BMJ Open. 2, (2012).

  1. Reardon DC. The abortion and mental health controversy: A comprehensive literature review of common ground agreements, disagreements, actionable recommendations, and research opportunities. SAGE open medicine. 2018;6: 1–38. 10.1177/2050312118807624 . [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

  2. Westergaard L, Phillipsen T, Scheibel J (1982). “Significance of cervical Chlamydia trachomatis infection in postabortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, 68(5): 668-90; Ovigstad E, et al. (1983). “Pelvic inflammatory disease associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection after therapeutic abortion.” Br J Vener Dis, 59: 189-92; Heisterberg L, et al. (1987). “The role of vaginal secretory immunoglobulin a, gardnerella vaginalis, anaerobes, and Chlamydia trachomatis in post abortal pelvic inflammatory disease.” Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 66(2): 99-102.

  3. Ring-Cassidey, Elizabeth, and Ian Gentiles. “Women’s Health After Abortion: The Medical and Psychological Evidence”  The DeVeber Institute for Biothics and Social Research, Apr. 2002, www.deveber.org/womens-health-after-abortion/.