How Does the Abortion Pill Work?
Although it’s referred to as a pill (singular), the abortion pill actually consists of two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol.
Mifepristone is taken first, usually in a clinic. This medication cuts the supply of the hormone progesterone to the embryo, which is needed to maintain the pregnancy. Without a steady supply of progesterone, the embryo stops growing.
Misoprostol is taken 24-48 hours later at home. This medication causes the uterus to contract and expel the embryo, which ends the pregnancy.
How Late Can You Take the Abortion Pill?
You can’t take the abortion pill beyond 10 weeks of pregnancy (or 70 days since the first day of your last menstrual period). This is because it becomes less effective the farther along you are. If you take the abortion pill later on in your pregnancy, you could experience serious complications and may need emergency surgery to complete the procedure.
Is Abortion Legal in Iowa? Do I Need an Ultrasound Before Taking the Abortion Pill?
At the time of writing (July 2023), abortion is legal up to 20 weeks gestation in Iowa. However, laws are currently being debated, so this may be subject to change. You are also required to receive an ultrasound prior to abortion in Iowa.
You may be wondering why you’d want an ultrasound, especially if you’re thinking about terminating the pregnancy. The answer is that ultrasounds provide the insight needed to make an informed and empowered decision for an unexpected pregnancy. They determine two key things about your pregnancy: viability and gestational age.
What is Pregnancy Viability?
A viable pregnancy means that the pregnancy is progressing properly. For example, at about six weeks, the embryo should have a heartbeat. The goal is to rule out a nonviable pregnancy, such as a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy—in either case, abortion isn’t needed.
What is Gestational Age?
How far along am I? Your ultrasound can answer that question. It’s important to know how far along you are (also known as your gestational age) because you can’t take the abortion pill past 10 weeks of pregnancy, as mentioned earlier.
Before spending your money only to find out you aren’t eligible for abortion, consider receiving a free ultrasound at Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center. If your ultrasound determines that you’re too far along for abortion, our compassionate client advocates will help you explore all of your pregnancy options, so you can make the best choice for your health and future.
Do I Need a Prescription for the Abortion Pill? Can I Get the Abortion Pill Over the Counter?
Certain pharmacies are now authorized to sell the abortion pill over the counter. However, the FDA requires a prescription from a qualified physician in order to take it.
Can I Order the Abortion Pill Online?
The FDA advises against ordering the abortion pill online. Many online abortion pill providers are located overseas, so the pills they provide may not meet FDA standards. These pills could be counterfeit, expired, or even tampered with. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid ordering the abortion pill online.
Abortion Pill Information in Cedar Rapids, IA
When those two lines first appear, it can be easy to panic. Don’t let fear make the final decision for you. Get the care and support you deserve at Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center. We offer free pregnancy resources, so you can make an empowered decision for your unplanned pregnancy:
- Free pregnancy tests
- Free ultrasounds
- A safe, non-judgemental place to explore your pregnancy options and share what’s on your mind
Call or text us at (319) 364-8967 or request your appointment today. All services are confidential and free of charge.
Please be aware that Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center does not provide or refer for abortion services.
- Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2023, January 24). Mifeprex (Mifepristone). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/mifeprex-mifepristone-information
- Iowa Pro-Life Laws. Americans United for Life. (2022, November 10). Retrieved from https://aul.org/law-and-policy/state-spotlight/iowa/
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, September 3). Slide Show: Fetal Ultrasound. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/multimedia/fetal-ultrasound/sls-20076294?s=3#
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Bridgehaven Pregnancy Support Center
4250 Glass Road NE, Suite 100
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Bridgehaven is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.