The Abortion Pill

Also Known as RU-486 or Medical Abortion

Gestational Age: Within 10 weeks

Typical Cost of Abortion Pill in Illinois: $450-$700

Abortion Pill Procedure

The abortion pill is a form of induced abortion caused by the combination of two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol. According to the FDA, the use of the abortion pill is approved for use only if a woman is within 70 days of the first day of her last menstrual period.

The FDA approved regimen 1 for RU486 is a three-visit process:

  1. Mifepristone is given orally during the first office visit (600 mg). Mifepristone blocks progesterone from sustaining the pregnancy, thereby ending the life of the baby.
  2. Misoprostol tablets are given orally (400 mcg) during the second office visit which occurs 36-48 hours later. The patient will then return home where the misoprostol will cause contractions to expel the baby’s remains. This may occur within a few hours or up to two weeks after taking misoprostol.
  3. A physical exam is given two weeks later to ensure the abortion is complete and there are no immediate complications. If the abortion pill fails to induce an abortion, a surgical abortion is needed.

When used appropriately, mifepristone and misoprostol are 95-97% effective within two weeks. 2

Cautions for Use of the Abortion Pill

Many women’s healthcare providers will offer the abortion pill past the FDA approved time limit of 49 days (7 weeks) after the first day of the last menstrual cycle; some providers and clinics will offer it up to 10 weeks.

It should be noted that:

“The safety and effectiveness of other Mifeprex dosing regimens, including use of oral misoprostol tablets intravaginally, has not been established by the FDA.”

Women who have chronic medical conditions involving heart, liver, kidneys, or lungs; who are insulin-dependent; are severely anemic; are heavy smokers; or are over the age of 35 should be treated with extra caution when considering the abortion pill. 2

Side Effects of the Abortion Pill

Approximately 90% of women who take the abortion pill report minor adverse reactions within about three days after taking the pill. 1 The most common side effects are:

  • abdominal pain/cramping
  • heavy uterine cramping
  • vaginal bleeding
  • nausea
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • fatigue.

Other, more rare complications may include:

  • allergic reactions
  • sepsis

Fetal Development by 7 weeks

The following describes some of the developmental steps of the baby during the time frame when a woman is eligible for a medical abortion. 5

  • Week 5 Brain, spinal cord, heart, and other organs begin to form.
  • Week 6 Neural tube is closing. Heart is pumping blood. Arm and leg buds are beginning to form.
  • Week 7 Nostrils can be seen. Eye lens is forming. Facial features are developing.

Abortion Pill Reversal

It is possible to reverse the effects of the abortion pill; however, this process must be started within 72 hours of taking the pill.

If you have taken the first part of the abortion pill procedure but are now having second thoughts, call the Abortion Pill Reversal hotline at 877-558-0333 or visit right away for more information.

Are you considering the abortion pill? Schedule an appointment for a free Pre-Termination Evaluation at White Oak Women’s Center to find out if you qualify for the abortion pill and to learn about your other options.

More Information about Abortion



  1. Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. The Abortion Pill: Medical Abortion with Mifepristone and Misoprostol. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. The Abortion Pill: Medical Abortion with Mifepristone and Misoprostol. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  4. Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  5. Fetal development: The 1st trimester – Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved from