What is the difference between emergency contraception and the abortion pill?
The two medications are very different. Emergency contraception (also known as Plan B or the "Morning-After Pill") is high dose progesterone (a hormone which is also found in birth control pills). It helps to prevent pregnancy by delaying ovulation or preventing an egg from implanting in the uterus. If you take emergency contraception but become pregnant anyway, the medication does not harm the embryo, and if you choose to continue the pregnancy there is no higher risk of complications.
The abortion pill (also known as mifepristone, mifeprex, RU486, or medication abortion) is a progesterone blocker. It terminates a pregnancy that has already been implanted. The abortion pill has a 96-99% effectiveness rate. If the abortion fails, serious birth defects could result; for this reason, patients must be prepared to complete the abortion with an aspiration procedure.
The following chart explains differences between these two medications in more detail.
Emergency Contraception vs. the Abortion Pill
(Source: The Reproductive Health Access Project, www.reproductiveaccess.org)
Copyright © 2006, 2007 Choice and Health (C&H)
This site is best viewed using medium text size-- for help changing your text size click here.
This site is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
This site may not be distributed, downloaded, transmitted, or displayed without the express prior written permission of C & H.
Reproduction of this site in any form, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.