While you may have an abortion at home and come through the process safely, an at-home abortion is never truly “safe.” Abortion is a serious medical procedure that comes with risks. The procedure is safer when you follow state guidelines, take preliminary precautions by having an ultrasound screening, and have essential medical supervision.
However, you can never guarantee 100% safety for any medical procedure. Instead, you must know the facts and weigh the benefits and risks before proceeding.
Attempting an abortion at home, without medical supervision, can be an overwhelming and even scary experience. You may be unsure about what to expect or experience more pain and bleeding than is normal. Without medical oversight, you could end up experiencing a medical emergency and not be certain about how to proceed.
What Is Online Abortion and At-Home Abortion?
“Online” and “at-home” simply describe characteristics of the abortion pill or medication abortion.
Since medication abortion only consists of two drugs to end a pregnancy, these drugs can easily be mailed after a legal online order or telehealth appointment in some states. These drugs are generally taken at home, or you take the first dose in a clinic and then finish at home. This is where the term “at-home” abortion comes from.
In Pennsylvania, medication abortion must be prescribed by a licensed physician. However, there are not many restrictions regarding how the drugs are delivered. Some states have banned abortion telehealth because it sometimes bypasses the critical in-person ultrasound step to confirm a woman is truly eligible for medication abortion.
How Does Medication Abortion Work?
Medication abortion terminates a pregnancy using the drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol.
Mifepristone blocks the uterus from absorbing the necessary hormone, progesterone, to end the pregnancy. Misoprostol triggers contractions to expel the pregnancy from the vagina through cramping and bleeding. This procedure has been compared to a heavy period, but the experience differs for every woman.
Safety Issues with Online Abortion or Telehealth
Before choosing medication abortion, you should confirm how far along you are, the viability of your pregnancy, and if it’s located inside the uterus.
Medication abortion is only FDA-approved for the first ten weeks or seventy days of pregnancy. After this time, you may need another type of abortion procedure. Taking a drug later than the time recommended by the FDA could increase the risk of incomplete abortion. Taking pills designed to end your pregnancy could also result in delivery of a fetus that is much larger and further along than you anticipate if you do not first confirm and date your pregnancy with an ultrasound.
Also, an ectopic pregnancy, or a pregnancy located outside the uterus, could go undetected without an ultrasound. Medication abortion works to empty your uterus, but it will not treat anything outside the uterus. It’s essential to identify this quickly with an ultrasound so you can seek treatment and avoid a medical emergency.
In addition to the risks of moving forward without an ultrasound, beware of online abortion pill providers. You don’t know what you’ll get when you purchase an unregulated drug. It could be the wrong dosage, contaminated, or a different medication altogether. You may also end up with an infection or other post-abortion complications without a medical provider to lean on for help.
Risks of Medical Abortion
Finally, you should be aware of the potential risks of every medical abortion. These include incomplete abortion, ongoing unwanted pregnancy, heavy and prolonged bleeding, infection, fever, and digestive system discomfort.
Risks cannot be completely eliminated, so consider them carefully.
No-Cost Ultrasounds at Alpha Omega Center