Is the Abortion Pill an Option for Me?
Whether you’ve recently missed your period, or you are beginning to experience pregnancy symptoms, your concerns are realized soon after taking a pregnancy test. When considering whether the abortion pill is an option for you, it is important to be fully informed before making this decision.
Did you know that a pregnancy test does not confirm pregnancy? This is a common misconception. Pregnancy tests, specifically over-the-counter tests, detect the presence of the hCG hormone in your urine. This hormone is only present in women who have a fertilized egg, but pregnancy tests don’t determine whether the pregnancy is viable. For a pregnancy to be viable, there must be implantation in the uterus and a fetal heartbeat. If implantation occurs outside the uterus, this is considered an ectopic pregnancy and requires immediate medical attention. If there is not a fetal heartbeat, your body will naturally expel the embryo through miscarriage. Blood tests can measure the levels of hCG hormone in your body; an increase in the hormone levels early in pregnancy is an indication that the pregnancy is progressing. However, only an ultrasound can determine pregnancy viability.
Medical abortion, or the abortion pill, is only an option for women who are less than 10 weeks gestation. Unless you diligently track your period cycle on an app or calendar, it’s very easy to forget or lose track of time. Ultrasounds not only confirm that a pregnancy is viable, they also help in determining gestation, or how far your pregnancy has progressed. Did you know that Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRC) offer limited (non-diagnostic) OB ultrasounds free of charge? An ultrasound can typically run between $100-$150 without insurance. After administering a pregnancy test, PRCs can schedule an ultrasound to confirm the viability of your pregnancy and gestation (how far along you are). If your pregnancy is not viable, then your body should naturally miscarry the fetus. Ultrasounds are also vital in ruling out ectopic pregnancies, where an embryo has implanted outside the uterus. Not only is this pregnancy not viable, but ectopic pregnancies can cause serious and potentially life-threatening complications if not addressed immediately!
It is your right to be fully informed. Each state has different laws regarding abortion procedures and patient rights in an abortion. In Oklahoma, you have a right to know the medical risks associated with an abortion and the medical risks associated with carrying a pregnancy to term. Women sometimes experience pressure from their parents or partners to abort. However, it is against the law to force someone to have an abortion against their will. By law, the father of the baby is responsible to help financially in supporting his child. Oklahoma law also states that abortions cannot be performed on minors, anyone under the age of eighteen, without the written consent of one parent. For more information about medical abortion, Oklahoma law, and your rights go to: https://www.awomansright.org/MedAbort.html
The abortion pill is actually two pills. Mifepristone, or Mifeprex, is the first pill administered at the abortion clinic. This pill blocks your body’s production of the hormone progesterone. The second pill, Misoprostol (also known as Cytotec), is typically taken at home between 6-48 hours after the first pill. While the first pill blocks progesterone, the second pill expels the embryo from your body. This process can take anywhere from a day to three weeks to be completed. It is important to keep your follow-up appointment to confirm whether the abortion was complete. On average, most women experience cramping as well as bleeding, which can last anywhere between 9-45 days. Cramping and bleeding can range in severity and women may experience other side effects, such headache, nausea, and flu-like symptoms. The FDA warns about purchasing the abortion pill online, as these drugs have safety restrictions on how they can be distributed to the public. For more information about the abortion pills go to the FDA’s website: Mifepristone (link to: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/questions-and-answers-mifeprex) and Misoprostol (link to: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/misoprostol-marketed-cytotec-information)
You are not alone. Telling a friend or family member what you’re going through can help you process through your feelings and be able to think about what is the best decision moving forward. PRCs not only provide free services to women facing unplanned pregnancies, they provide a safe space to explore your options. The staff are kind and caring; they are available to listen to your story, answer your questions, educate about the options available to you, and provide connections to resources and support groups within the community. PRCs listen without judgement and love without agenda. It’s normal to feel anxious, scared, and confused. But don’t let those feelings stop you from getting the information you need. There is help. And hope.