How to Get Abortion Pills Online by Mail

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common abortion pill questions:

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Finding abortion pills

Where can I find abortion pills?

For information about where to find pills near you, visit our Guide to Pills.

Abortion pills are available from:

In-person clinics: Have an in-person visit with a clinician. Get pills to take home. Take the pills at home. Phone/text follow up support, if needed.

Online clinics: Do a medical consultation using your phone or computer (online form or video visit). Receive the pills by mail. Take the pills at home. Phone/text follow up support, if needed.

Websites that sell pills: Some international websites sell abortion pills. No prescription is needed. No medical screening or advice is given. Receive the pills by mail. Take the pills at home. Free phone/text follow up support available through, if needed.

Community support networks: Some state-based abortion support groups, like Red State Access and others, provide free support to those looking for abortion options. Receive the pills in-person or by mail. Take the pills at home. Free phone/text follow up support available through, if needed.

Other countries: Some people find abortion pills in pharmacies in other countries (like Mexico). Take the pills at home. Free phone/text follow up support available through, if needed.

Do I need to get any medical tests?

Most people use a pregnancy test to confirm that they are pregnant. Most people do not need any other medical tests to get abortion pills. The clinic or telehealth service may ask you to get additional tests if:

  • You are unsure of when you had your last period
  • You have any history or symptoms of ectopic pregnancy (like pelvic pain)

Can I buy abortion pills now to use later? How long do pills last?

Yes, you can buy pills now to use later.

Some people who are not pregnant get abortion pills to keep in their medicine cabinet just in case their period is late. They can then take the pills right away without having to wait a long time for shipping. Some services listed in our Guide to Pills let you order pills in advance (both Abuzz and Aid Access offer "advance provision").

If you decide to use pills later, the services will still help you with instructions and follow up support.

How long do pills last? 

After receiving your medications in the mail, it is recommended to store your medications at room temperature and in their original, unopened packaging.  

Mifepristone has a shelf-life of about 5 years. Misoprostol tablets have a shelf-life of around 2 years.

Experts recommend you check your medicine’s expiration date before taking them. It is not recommended to take expired mifepristone or misoprostol because they may not work as well or (be less effective).

Are abortion pills covered by insurance or Medicaid?

Some insurances and some Medicaid plans cover abortion pills. But not all providers accept insurance or Medicaid. Our Guide provides information about financial help available from individual providers. The best way to know if you can use your insurance or Medicaid is to contact the provider directly. They can help you figure it out.

Can I buy abortion pills from Amazon?

No, you cannot buy abortion pills from Amazon online.

There are many online services that sell abortion pills. Our Guide provides more information about these online services, which ship pills to all 50 states.

What are online "pharmacies," or websites that sell pills? How can I order from them?

Many online services calling themselves "pharmacies" sell abortion pills. They do not do a medical consultation. They do not require a prescription. They ship to addresses in all US states.

Are these websites real? Yes, many are real commerce sites. But, they are not regulated by the US government. They sell generic abortion pills that have not been inspected by the US government.

Plan C regularly tests these websites by buying pills from them. The services we list in our Guide all shipped pills to a home address. The pills were real (based on laboratory testing). But, we do not operate these sites and cannot guarantee they will be reliable in the future.

Here is how online pill stores work:

  • The buyer selects the desired product (often called an MTP Kit, for “medical termination of pregnancy”). Our test buyers looked to make sure there was one pill of mifepristone and four pills of misoprostol. Some services sold only three misoprostol pills, which is not the medical standard. [NOTE: People who are more than 9 weeks pregnant sometimes also buy 4-8 extra misoprostol pills to have on hand in case they need them to complete the abortion.]
  • The buyer fills out their address and payment information.
  • The buyer choses the type of shipping they want. In our tests, “express” shipping was usually mailed from the United States and arrived in 4-6 days. “Regular” shipping was mailed from abroad and took several weeks.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT PAYMENT: It is very common for these websites to email or call soon after they get the order and request a different form of payment. They often say the credit card did not go through. They often ask the buyer to use a PayPal account in a person’s name or in the name of another business. These payment requests do seem unusual, but they worked every time we tested them.
  • The pills usually arrive by US Postal Service. They usually do not require a signature.

Online pill stores may not follow strict digital security protocols. Many people use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) before visiting or ordering from these sites to protect their private information.

Learn more about potential legal risks of accessing pills through online pill stores by reading our FAQ. You can also contact the free, confidential Repro Legal Helpline (online or at 844-868-2812) to discuss your specific situation.

NOTE: If you have a problem with one of the online pill stores listed on our website, please contact them directly to request help. We do not operate these sites. We cannot help you with refunds or shipping issues.

What does "sliding scale" mean?

Sometimes a clinic or telehealth service will advertise that they offer a “sliding scale” for fees.  But what does that mean?

In simple terms, this means that the provider offers some sort of financial discount to help make the service more affordable. Sliding scales are a patient-centered approach to making sure the cost of abortion doesn’t prevent you from getting care.

The specifics of how this works can vary from place to place. Some providers will ask you for proof that you need a discount, and only offer discounts to people who meet certain income requirements. But, some providers just trust you to tell them what you can afford.

On abortion telehealth websites, it can look a few ways:

  • Either a slider tool or form, where the patient can enter what they are able to pay, or
  • Patients need to actively ask for a discount if they can’t afford the full price. This is sometimes done through back and forth emails.

How much should you pay?

Everyone should decide for themselves how much they can pay, but sometimes it is helpful to put it in perspective. Questions you might ask yourself before deciding how much you can pay:

  • Do I have access to financial resources?
  • Am I making more money than I need to live?
  • Do I come from family or inherited wealth?
  • Have I been impacted by an economic crisis?

The more people who can pay the full or partial cost of the service, the more sustainable this model can be. Providers who offer sliding scales are often covering the rest of the cost from their own funds or sometimes get help from abortion funds or charitable contributions, if they are available.

Let’s pay as much as we can to help these providers continue to offer a sliding scale so that anyone who needs care can get it.

About abortion pills

How do abortion pills work?

Abortion pills (also called medication abortion) is a combination of two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol.

First you take mifepristone, which blocks progesterone, a natural hormone in your body necessary for supporting a pregnancy. Without progesterone, the development of the embryo stops, and the lining of your uterus thins, which prevents the embryo from staying implanted in the uterus. When you take misoprostol, 24-48 hours after taking mifepristone, it makes your uterine muscles contract the same way they do during your period, miscarriage, or childbirth. These contractions cause your uterus to expel the pregnancy.

What is "abortion with pills," or a medication abortion?

The “abortion pill" or "abortion with pills” is a modern option for ending an early pregnancy safely and effectively. It is also called "medication abortion." It uses two kinds of pills: mifepristone and misoprostol (or misoprostol only, if mifepristone is not available).

Method 1: Mifepristone + Misoprostol

This is the most common method of abortion with pills. You take a mifepristone pill first, followed by misoprostol pills 24 to 48 hours later. This is the most effective method of abortion with pills (95-98% of the abortions are successful). It has the fewest side effects. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is the type of abortion with pills provided by clinics like Planned Parenthood and recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Method 2: Misoprostol Only

Abortion with pills can also be done using only misoprostol pills (click here to read our blog about it).  This is endorsed by the World Health Organization in places where mifepristone is not available.

Do I need a prescription?

Yes, and no. Abortion pills are prescription medications in the US. But, it is also possible to get them from some places without a prescription.

People can get a prescription for the pills from abortion clinics, telemedicine services, and some medical offices. Click on "find pills" to learn how to get pills in your state.

We also know that many people are buying abortion pills from online services without a prescription. Some people also find the pills in bodegas or across the border in Mexico. Finding and using pills without consulting a medical provider is often called "self-managed" abortion. Our Guide to finding pills provides information about how people are doing this. It is important for those considering this option to understand any legal risks (see below--Can I Get in Trouble?).

How far into a pregnancy can I use abortion pills?

Abortion pills work best in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Using pills later in pregnancy is more painful and less effective. The risk of complications also goes up as the pregnancy grows. Many providers also follow a 12 week guideline, which is the World Health Organization's recommendation.

This calculator can help you know how many weeks pregnant you are. It is based on the first day of your last normal period. People who don’t know the first day of their last period or who have periods that don’t come regularly may need to have an ultrasound or pelvic exam to find out how many weeks pregnant they are.

How much do abortion pills cost?

Abortion pills can cost anywhere from $40 to $600 or more:

  • Online ordering services and new telehealth abortion services charge $150 and up.
  • The in-clinic option costs $600 on average.
  • The Misoprostol-only method can be found online, in bodegas, or in other countries. It costs between $40 to $300.

Many services accept insurance/Medicaid or offer discounts to those who can't pay. Just ask.

Is this the same as Plan B, the morning-after pill?

No. Plan B is emergency contraception. You can take it up to 5 days after having sex without using birth control. Plan B prevents pregnancy.

Plan C is our term for abortion pills. These are taken after a missed period (up to 77 days from the first day of your last normal period).

We believe that everyone should have access to all options: 

  • Plan A is birth control to prevent pregnancy.
  • Plan B is emergency contraception (also to prevent pregnancy)
  • Plan C is abortion pills.

Using abortion pills

Where can I find instructions for using the pills?

Many groups provide information about how to take abortion pills. provides excellent instructions for mifepristone plus misoprostol abortion and misoprostol-only abortion. The instructions are available in 27 languages. The website also includes a live chat feature.

The Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline also has instructions for how to take the pills in English and Spanish. You can also text or to talk to a clinician if you have questions.

The Reprocare Healthline has peer counselors and doulas who can help walk you through the steps of finding pills, taking them, and follow up.

What can I expect after taking abortion pills?

The website has great information about what to expect when you take the pills and how to manage side effects. This fact sheet in English and Spanish provides a good summary of what to expect and when to seek additional care.

Common symptoms:

Abortion pills cause bleeding and cramping. This is part of the abortion process and shows that the pills are working. Many people do not have any symptoms after taking the first pill (mifepristone). The bleeding and cramping usually start soon after taking the second set of pills (misoprostol).

The bleeding may be heavier than a normal period. The cramping can be mild to severe. This can vary for each person. It also depends on how far along the pregnancy is.

Other common side effects are feeling sick to your stomach, throwing up, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and fevers.

Severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention:
  • bleeding that soaks through more than 2 maxi sanitary pads per hour for more than 2 hours in a row, OR
  • fever of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours, OR
  • fever of more than 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit for any length of time

The Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline is a free service staffed by licensed clinicians. They can help answer medical questions about miscarriage and abortion.

How to prepare:

To prepare for taking abortion pills at home, recommends gathering the following supplies in advance:

  • A heating pad
  • Comfortable clothes, including comfy underwear
  • Super absorbent maxi pads
  • A blanket in case of chills
  • Ice chips and/or popsicles to suck on in case of nausea or vomiting
  • Easily digestible food like plain crackers, white rice, bananas, broth, and plain white bread
  • Something distracting, like movies, tv, magazines, coloring books, or video games
  • A friend or other support person to help, if needed

What is the difference between getting pills from a medical service or getting them from alternative suppliers?

The two main ways to access abortion pills in the United States are through:

  • A licensed medical provider. This means you get the pills after a consultation with a doctor or nurse practitioner. This can be in a clinic or through an online telehealth service. Telehealth services mail you the pills after an online medical consultation. You then use them at home.
  • Alternative providers. This means you get the pills from a website that sells pills or a community network that provides pills. These access routes are not part of the regular medical system and don't involve consulting a medical professional. You then use the pills at home.

Examples of medically-supported access include: 

Examples of alternative ways to access pills include: 

  • Buying and taking pills from a website that sells pills (online pharmacy)
  • Getting pills through volunteer networks, like Las Libres or Red State Access
  • Finding pills in a bodega
  • Purchasing pills from a pharmacy in another country, without a prescription

Both ways to access pills are safe, but using alternative suppliers may have some legal risks. See our section "Can I get in trouble for using abortion pills?" for more information about the legal considerations for using alternative suppliers.

Is there someone I can talk to during my abortion?

Yes. There are many free services that can help support you during your abortion. The Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline provides free, confidential medical information and support by phone and text. Other services, like the Reprocare Healthline, can provide emotional support and practical information about what to expect by phone or text during your home abortion. There are even some chatbots and apps (like Euki and Safe Abortion App) that can help guide you.

Visit the support section below for more information.

Safety considerations

Are abortion pills medically safe? What are the health risks?

Using abortion pills is very safe. Abortion pills are safest and most effective for pregnancies of less than 13 weeks. This means less than 91 days counting from the first day of the last regular period. The World Health Organization provides guidelines for safely self-managing abortion up to 12 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period.

The rate of major complications during an early abortion is very low. Having an abortion is safer than continuing a pregnancy and having a baby.

One risk is that abortion pills may not work (they may not end the pregnancy). The pills are less effective when taken later in pregnancy. You can take a pregnancy test 3-4 weeks after taking the pills to make sure they worked:

  • If the test is positive, it is important to get follow-up care.
  • A pregnancy test done earlier than 3-4 weeks after an abortion may show a false positive. This is because it takes time for the pregnancy hormones to leave the body.
  • Most people can tell they are no longer pregnant soon after the abortion because their symptoms of pregnancy go away.

Another risk is if the pregnancy is outside the womb. This is called an ectopic or tubal pregnancy. This is very rare (only about 2 of every 100 pregnancies). Because ectopic pregnancy can lead to serious health consequences, it is important to:

  • Always do a pregnancy test 3-4 weeks after taking the pills
  • Immediately seek follow up care at any medical facility if the test is positive
  • Seek care if you have any continued signs or symptoms of pregnancy after the abortion. Common signs of ectopic pregnancy are severe and increasing abdominal pain, particularly if it is one sided.

Can I get in trouble for using abortion pills?

No one should ever be punished for providing their own medical care. Yet, from 2000 to 2020, at least 61 people who have self-managed an abortion or have helped someone else are known to have been arrested or prosecuted. It is unknown how recent changes in abortion laws will affect future criminalization of people who self-manage their abortions. Those who are already at greater risk of criminalization because of their race, gender identity, economic status, or other factors may have a higher risk of prosecution. People who live in very conservative states also may face a higher risk of prosecution. A few states even have laws that say that self-managing an abortion is illegal.

Plan C believes that each person should have access to information to make their own decisions about risk, including legal risk. The information below is not intended to endorse self-managed use nor is it legal advice. It is what we know from the experiences of people who have self-managed their abortions.

The Repro Legal Helpline provides free and confidential legal advice that can help people better understand the laws and legal risk they may face. Contact them online or call 844-868-2812.

Why have some people gotten in legal trouble?

Self-managed abortion is not a criminal act, and restricting abortion access is considered by leading justice organizations to be a human rights violation. However, some people who have used abortion pills on their own have gotten in legal trouble in the United States. Between 2000 and 2020, there have been at least 61 cases where people have been prosecuted for self-managing their abortions (charges have varied from concealing a birth to homicide) or helping someone else self-manage an abortion. During that same time, research suggests that a hundred thousand (or likely more) people have self-managed their abortions. We do not know how new laws about abortion will affect the criminalization of people for self-managing an abortion.

These examples can help you understand the ways in which people have gotten in legal trouble in the past:
Example 1: “I went to urgent care because I was scared about the bleeding, and my doctor reported me to the police.”

Everyone should be able to access urgent care when they are concerned about their health. But, in a few cases urgent care staff have called the police on people who have taken abortion pills that they purchased online. This is not ethical and should not happen. When seeking urgent or emergent care, people are not required to report to clinicians that they have used abortion pills. The symptoms after taking abortion pills are the same as a miscarriage. Blood tests do not reveal any differences between a miscarriage and a medication abortion. Medical providers can safely and effectively care for patients who have used abortion pills without needing to know their full medical history.

Federal law (EMTALA) also says that clinicians must provide abortion care to address a medical emergency for all patients who present at a hospital emergency department. This applies even in states that have restrictions on abortion.

People can often avoid the need for urgent care by consulting with a knowledgeable clinician by phone. The Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline offers free text and phone assistance to anyone who has medical questions.

Example 2: “The tissue that came out was bigger than I expected and I didn’t know what to do with it.”

Sometimes people have been reported to the police because of the way in which they disposed of the miscarriage tissue. Most early abortion tissue is just blood and clots (like a heavy period) that can be flushed down the toilet. But sometimes when abortion pills are taken later in pregnancy there is more tissue. It can be hard to know how to dispose of it (this is true when someone has a miscarriage, too). Some people have been discovered when tissue has been found in the public sewer system, when they have told friends about their situation and the friends have reported them to the police, or when they have shared information with their medical provider and been reported.

Example 3: “My boyfriend found information in my search history and reported me.”

Digital communications (like email and texts) can be used as evidence against someone who has done an abortion on their own (without a prescription). People often use Incognito Mode (also called a Private Window) when searching for sensitive information. Most private browser settings/incognito window searches won’t retain your cookies, browsing history, search records, passwords, or personally identifiable information. Some people protect their digital privacy by using free VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) or by using the TOR Browser. VPNs can be used on computers and phones. When used in combination with Private Windows or Incognito Mode, they can keep your identity and location private when you search for information and make purchases (like buying abortion pills online), as long as you aren’t logging into accounts which are linked to you. People also use encrypted email (like Proton Mail) and secure texting (like Signal) to keep online communications private. Some people use a public library computer to avoid a data trail (ask your library if they delete search histories and have systems in place to protect your confidentiality). Some people try to keep online purchases discreet by using online currency such as Bitcoin, but without some complicated additional steps those purchases can still be linked to an individual person. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has some additional tips about data privacy here.

Example 4: “I told my friend and she reported me to the police.”

When facing an unplanned pregnancy or self-managing an abortion, it is reasonable to want support from friends. Unfortunately, sometimes people have been criminalized for self-managing an abortion when a friend or acquaintance has reported them to the police. Reports by friends and acquaintances accounted for more than a quarter of the 61 known criminalizations between 2000 and 2020.  

Have Legal Questions?

Once someone has decided to have an abortion, they should be able to do so safely, effectively, and with dignity. No one should be arrested or jailed for ending their own pregnancy. But, if someone who chooses to use abortion pills outside of the established medical system gets into trouble it is important for them to get legal help. Organizations that can help people get legal help are:

  • Repro Legal Helpline provides free, confidential legal support online or at 844-868-2812. They also defend people who are prosecuted or threatened with prosecution for self-managing their abortion. This fact sheet also has some great information about legal issues.
  • National Advocates for Pregnant Women: NAPW defends women who are pregnant and attempt to have abortion, actually have an abortion, or are mistaken as someone who has had an abortion.
  • Between 2000 and 2020, at least 61 people have been arrested and prosecuted for self-managing their abortion or helping someone else. It is unclear how new abortion laws will affect the future criminalization of people for self-managing an abortion.
  • Those who choose to use abortion pills on their own do not have to tell anyone that they took abortion pills (and doing so may increase the risk of prosecution).
  • There is no way for a medical provider to know whether someone took abortion pills. The bleeding looks the same as a miscarriage.
  • Medical providers can give appropriate follow up care for bleeding and pain without knowing whether someone took abortion pills.
  • Some people use VPNs and other technology to protect their privacy.
  • Legal assistance is available to those who need it.

What do I do if I am a minor but I live in or am seeking abortion care in a state where I need to get parental notification or consent for an abortion?

Some states require that parents be notified or give consent for a  minor to get an abortion. Your provider can help you understand what the law is in your state and how parental notification or consent works. If you do not feel comfortable or safe involving a parent or guardian in the decision to have an abortion, you have two options: 

  • request service from a provider (like Aid Access) who does telehealth from a state with special laws, called “shield laws” 
  • obtain a judicial bypass (permission from a judge)

Both options are explained in this FAQ.

36 states require parental consent or notification for minors seeking abortion care.  Parental consent means one or both of your parents or  legal guardian(s) has to sign paperwork saying that it is OK for you to have an abortion. Parental notification means that the abortion provider must tell your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) about the abortion before it is done. Abortion providers must comply with these laws if they are serving a minor who lives in a state,  travels to a state, or uses a telehealth provider in a state that requires parental consent or parental notification for abortion.  In these states, providers cannot help you if you do not have parental notification or consent. 

If you do not feel able to involve your parent(s) in your decision, there are two options you can use: 

  • If you are less than 13 weeks pregnant (counting from the first day of your last period), you can get abortion pills mailed to you from Aid Access. They serve minors in all states and territories. They are able to serve minors without parental consent or notification because they operate from states with special laws that do not require them to do this.
  • You can get a judicial bypass (permission from a judge). The process to get a judicial bypass is free, but can be complicated and requires going through a court process that may take between 1-3 weeks. This usually involves going to a court to fill out forms before setting up a meeting to talk to the judge. The Judicial Bypass Wiki can help you learn how to get a judicial bypass. Organizations like If/When/How, the ACLU, and Jane’s Due Process, and other local organizations can also help you.

How can I avoid false information or abortion scams?

Misinformation on the internet is common. Misinformation is false, inaccurate, or misleading guidance shared with the purpose of confusing someone.

To avoid false information and abortion scams, beware of these two common tactics used to trick people looking for abortion information.

Abortion pill “reversal”

Abortion reversal claims are false -- you can not “reverse” an abortion. People who share this information claim that taking progesterone after taking the first abortion pill can make the pregnancy continue. There is no scientific evidence that progesterone will reverse the abortion process.

If you’d like to learn more, we recommend this resource created by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  

Fake abortion clinics

Fake abortion clinics are another method of tricking people looking for abortion information. Fake clinics are usually called "pregnancy centers" or "crisis pregnancy centers." They often use the same language and information-sharing techniques as real abortion clinics and resources. These sites trick people into thinking they are making an appointment for an abortion. This is harmful because it delays access to care.

The online Clinic Checker will help you check if a clinic is legitimate.