When many people picture abortions, they picture surgery—or, in the gruesome cases of east-roe country, coat hangers and other equipment turned to desperation. But now the most common way to terminate a pregnancy is through medication. It’s safe, effective and, in some states, accessible from the comfort of your couch.
But with greater awareness of the benefits of drug abortion, the onslaught of anti-election lawmakers and advocates is high. In recent months, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona and several other states banned telehealth for drug abortion, also known as abortion pills. And this leak was preceded by a Supreme Court draft opinion, which revealed that the High Court in Roe v. Wade, a decision that expands access to abortion nationwide.
With an impending Supreme Court ruling just weeks away, many abortion advocates and opponents are preparing for a post-cry world. And all eyes are on drug abortion.
HuffPost answers some basic questions on drug abortion, including what it is, how it’s used and the future of the abortion pill as the country barrels toward a postwar reality.
What is drug abortion?
Drug abortion, also known as abortion pills, is the use of two different drugs — in combination or alone — to induce abortion: mifepristone and misoprostol. A person may use misoprostol or a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol to induce an abortion.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol as a drug abortion in 2000. Both Mifepristone and Misoprostol are on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.
Mifepristone and misoprostol combination is widely used for abortion and abortion care – accounting for approximately 60% of all abortions in the US. Available through, and can be used during, the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. If someone has passed 10 weeks, they can still have a surgical abortion.
How can it be used?
Most clinics across the country offer a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol to induce abortion. 24 hours later one mifepristone pill followed by four misoprostol pills — placed between the gums and cheeks with two on each side — will cause cramping and bleeding that will cause the uterus to empty.
Misoprostol alone can also be used to induce abortion, although it is not used in an in-clinic setting because it is not approved by the FDA. This method is often used in countries abroad or when people are forced to manage their own abortions at home. The misoprostol-only method is less effective than the mifepristone and misoprostol combination method. Twelve misoprostol pills — four tablets dissolved under the tongue every three hours over the course of nine hours — will induce abortion and cause similar cramping and bleeding that will end the pregnancy.
Many people compare this feeling to heavy period cramps, although medication affects everyone differently. The results are very similar to those of an early miscarriage.
Is it safe and effective?
When used together, mifepristone and misoprostol are more than 95% effective And safer than Tylenol. Misoprostol used alone is also extremely safe, but less effective: somewhere between 80-85% effective.
Is this legal?
Drug abortion is legal, and is commonly prescribed by abortion clinics and certified providers nationwide.
Some states allow patients to obtain prescriptions for drug abortions through telehealth. Others require patients to visit clinics in person. Telehealth abortion is illegal in some states, such as Texas, South Carolina, and Florida, which means that US doctors are not legally allowed drug abortions by mail or telehealth in those states.
GOP lawmakers have tried to restrict drug abortion by enacting laws that ban sending or prescribing pills in the US, but people can circumvent US laws by buying abortion pills from foreign pharmacies like Aid Access.
Is a drug abortion the same as Plan B?
No. A drug abortifacient is a substance that induces an abortion when a person is pregnant, while Plan B is an emergency contraceptive, often referred to as the morning-after pill.
Plan B can be taken up to 72 hours or up to three days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Plan B is more effective the sooner it is taken, and it is less effective if a woman is over 155 pounds. Other emergency contraception, such as Ella, are more effective: Ella can be taken 120 hours or up to five days after sex and is most effective on women under 195 pounds.
The discussion of drug abortion has created confusion about Plan B. Earlier this week, people on Twitter stood up after misinformed That Tennessee banned emergency contraceptives like the morning-after pill or Plan B. In fact, the governor of Tennessee had Really banned drug abortion,
Where can you get abortion pills?
Abortion pills are available in abortion clinics around the country and in some hospitals and physician’s offices.
Despite the widespread use and safety of abortion pills, the FDA has banned one of two drugs used in the abortion drug, mifepristone, for decades. For years, the FDA required that mifepristone be delivered individually and that patients could not obtain it from a pharmacy—a sharp departure from how people get most other drugs.
But in April last year, the FDA announced it would temporarily lift the in-person dispensing requirement as part of broader efforts to limit face-to-face interactions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Biden Administration Announces That the FDA Will Review Restrictions on Mifepristone, and by December FDA has decided That he would no longer require individual delivery of the drug.
This means that most people seeking an abortion before 10 weeks are able to get the abortion pills they need online or from certified pharmacies after a telehealth visit with a provider.
“Abortion pills take all the politics and stigma out of the experience for the patient. Right now, when you’re going to an abortion clinic you’re targeted by anti-abortion protesters, you’re embarrassed and stigmatized,” says Alyssa Wells , Co-Founder and Co-Director plan can advocacy organization that provides information to people about how to get abortion pills, told HuffPost In December. “If you’re sitting in your house, at your computer or phone, and then you go to your mailbox, it’s nobody’s business what you’re doing.”
In states where telehealth is permitted, abortion drugs are available through organizations such as abortion on demand And hey people — Services that surfaced in the past year or so during COVID. The Services are fully compliant with all the rules, regulations and medical protocols made by the FDA. They offer the pills online or through video consultations and then the organization sends them directly to an individual’s home.
But other states ban the use of telehealth for abortion care. In those states, there is still access to abortion pills by mail, but it is “through the alternative system, not the mainstream health system,” Wells said.
Some of these “alternative mechanisms” include organizations such as: help accessAn international non-profit organization that ships abortion medicine to all 50 states in the U.S. Aid Access also offers advanced provisions, meaning patients can order drug abortions to be stored in their medicine cabinets and Can be placed before an unintended pregnancy. In general, the shelf life of mifepristone is about five years and misoprostol is about two years.
Online pharmacies like Hey Zhen usually have a delivery time of one to five days, depending on where the medicine is being shipped. Since aid access is international, delivery times can be long depending on the state. For example, in California it takes about two to three days to receive a drug abortion from Aid Access, but in Texas or South Carolina – states that restrict access to abortion telehealth – shipping can take up to 14 to 21 days. could.
Plan C, A The organization that helps patients navigate the various restrictions on telemedicine for abortion has more information about the legal parameters in each state.
How much do abortion pills cost?
The cost of a drug abortion can range anywhere from $40 to $600 or more, depending on what drugs are purchased, where they are purchased, and if a person’s insurance covers the drug.
In-clinic costs average $600, but this can vary by state and does not include money for travel, accommodation, and other logistics costs. Telemedicine services can cost up to $750, depending on whether they require bloodwork or additional tests before prescribing a drug abortion.
Online pharmacies like Hey Jane and Abortion On Demand range from $150 to $600. Aid access is between $100 and $150. The misoprostol-only method can be found online or in other countries as well and generally costs less, ranging from $40 to $300.
What is the future of drug abortion if the row is reversed in June?
If the cry falls, 26 states Abortion is likely to be banned immediately. Those restrictions would include surgical abortion as well as drug abortion.
With more than half of states likely to ban abortions in the coming months, advocates and experts agree that more women and those giving birth are likely to self-manage their abortions at home using drug therapy. .