How Effective is Medical Abortion?


Getting an abortion is never an easy topic to talk about. In fact, there are a lot of stereotypes and stigma surrounding it. But thankfully, nowadays there are a lot of helpful articles that can guide you through the process, as well as blogs and forums that can answer some of the most commonly asked questions like how effective is medical abortion? If you’re looking for answers just know that we have them for you! Here is all that you should know about abortion, and more specifically on the topic of abortion pills.

How effective is medical abortion? Top 4 things to know


Methodology and success rates

Medical abortion generally comprises a two-step process utilising two types of medication: Mifepristone and Misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone, crucial for sustaining pregnancy, while Misoprostol induces contractions to expel the pregnancy. The success of medical abortion is highly contingent on the gestational age of the pregnancy.

Studies indicate that medical abortion is most successful when administered within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, with success rates around 98%. As the pregnancy progresses past 10 weeks, surgical abortion is the preferred method due to pain and increased risks associated with medical abortion at this later stage of pregnancy.

The safety profile of medical abortion

Medical abortion stands out for its relatively low-risk profile compared to surgical alternatives. Serious complications are rare, and the majority of women can safely complete the process at home. Nevertheless, like any medical procedure, it is not without potential risks and side effects.

Common side effects can include cramping, bleeding, nausea, and fever. While serious complications are uncommon, they can include excessive bleeding or incomplete abortion, necessitating additional medical measures in the form of manual vacuum aspiration. Although these risks are minimal, it’s essential to consider them when evaluating the overall safety of medical abortion.


Emotional and psychological considerations

In addition to the physical considerations of getting an abortion, the emotional and psychological factors should also be carefully considered, no matter your age, relationship status, or the number of kids you may already have. All women are unique and individuals, making the emotional toll different for each person. It is normal for women to experience a range of emotions both during and after the procedure, including relief, sadness, guilt, or empowerment. Recognising these factors, getting support, and making use of mental health resources are integral to feeling suitably supported throughout a medical abortion.

What to know about accessibility and legal considerations

The accessibility of medical abortion is subject to global variations influenced by legal restrictions, healthcare infrastructure, and cultural attitudes. In regions with legal restrictions on abortion, women may resort to unsafe practices, heightening health risks. The effectiveness of medical abortion extends beyond medical considerations to encompass socio-political factors, emphasising the importance of comprehensive reproductive healthcare policies.

FAQ about abortion


1. How effective is the abortion pill?

The abortion pill, comprising Mifepristone and Misoprostol, is considered to be very effective, when administered during the initial 10 weeks of pregnancy. The success rate in this timeframe is around 98%. The abortion pill is the most common choice for women terminating pregnancy in the UK, 87% of abortions are medically induced. Individuals contemplating this method must seek advice from healthcare professionals who can evaluate medical history, any existing conditions that may have an impact, and offer support and guidance on the suitability and potential success of the abortion pill for their situation.

2. What is the safety of the medical abortion pill like?

Medical abortion pills are generally considered safe, boasting a low-risk profile. Common side effects such as cramping, bleeding, nausea, and fever are typically transient and manageable. Though serious complications are rare, they can happen and may include excessive bleeding or an incomplete abortion, requiring medical attention. If you are considering a medical abortion, it’s crucial to be aware of these potential risks and side effects. While most women can safely complete the process at home using pills by post, maintaining open communication with healthcare providers and adhering to prescribed guidelines is vital. It’s important to note that the safety of medical abortion extends beyond physical aspects to encompass emotional and psychological wellbeing. In summary, the safety of the medical abortion pill hinges on appropriate medical advice and supervision, timely intervention should any complications arise, and importantly, comprehensive emotional support.


3. How easy is it to access medical abortion pills in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, obtaining medical abortion pills has become more accessible due to recent legal provisions during the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare advancements that have happened in recent times and within recent years. Since 2020, individuals can have a telemedicine consultation with a gynaecologist, and then receive the abortion pills, Mifepristone and Misoprostol, in the post. This approach allows for the termination of pregnancies in the comfort and privacy of one’s own home, significantly improving accessibility while also allowing women to feel comfortable without any guilt or shame.

4. What is the cost of medical abortion pills in the UK?

The cost of abortion pill in the UK varies depending on whether you prefer to access the service through the National Health Service (NHS) or via a private abortion clinic. The NHS provides free access to abortion pills, however, there can be a waiting list and limited appointments, meaning it can be a couple of weeks before you are seen. Many women prefer to opt for a private abortion clinic, despite the cost, due to the lack of waiting lists, better availability of appointments, and the ability to choose your preferred clinic and doctor. Private medical abortion pills by post in the UK can cost around £500 depending on your clinic of choice.


Having said all of that

If you had any doubts or questions when you started reading this article, we hope that we’ve answered them, provided valuable insight, and given you peace of mind. If you are considering medical abortion, the most important things you can do are to get support from people close to you, and to seek advice from a trusted medical professional who can assess your health and provide neutral guidance and advice.