Want to learn more about at-home and self-managed abortion? Browse our curated collection of videos, podcasts, articles, and organizations.
Abortion pills are an essential modern health technology, one that has existed for more than 30 years.
Abortion pills are safe and 98% effective when used in the first trimester. When misoprostol is used alone, it is 80-85% effective in the first trimester. Serious complications occur in fewer than 0.4% of cases, making abortion pills safer than medications like penicillin and Viagra.
The method was first discovered in Brazil, where a women noticed the side effect of misoprostol as ‘inducing miscarriage.’ This discovery resulted in a private method of at-home abortion. Today, abortion pills are used by millions worldwide every year to self-manage early abortions (90% of abortions in Europe and Canada are with pills) and endorsed by the World Health Organization as an essential medication.
The first pill, Mifepristone, is taken to block the hormone progesterone which is important for maintaining a pregnancy. Then, 24 hours later, 4 misoprostol pills are taken uterine contractions which cause a period.
Medication abortions in the US are extemely common, accounting from 30-50% of all abortions. Self-managed abortions are harder to track in numbers, by nature of being self-managed: but people report choosing this option for many reasons, including cost, lack of access to clinic-based care - 90% of US counties don’t currently have an abortion clinic or provider - and the desire for increased convenience and control. Research studies show that people can accurately evaluate their eligibility for abortion pill use and complete the method successfully, without the need for an ultrasound or in-person consult.
But for reasons founded in politics not medicine, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restricts access to mifepristone, putting the U.S. radically out-of-step with international guidelines and preventing access for those who would need this method most of all. These restrictions could be changed by the FDA alone without needing any action from Congress.
To be clear, these are the same pills you would get in a clinic: they can be sent by mail and taken at home, as is done by millions of people all around the world each year. We know that approximately 300,000 - 400,000 abortions in the US are with pills every year; it is estimated that tens of thousands are self-managed with pills ordered online.
Educational resources to answer your questions about abortion pills and the self-managed abortion process. If you have additional questions you can get free text and phone support.
INTERNATIONAL: During COVID-19, safe2choose is continuing to work to ensure that women, especially vulnerable women and young women, are able to access crucial services including safe abortions. An average of 1,000 women from around the world connect monthly to their online abortion counselors, many requesting support with self-managed abortions. Half of the requests require a referral to a health care provider close to their home - for additional counseling, pills, or services.
SASS – Self-managed Abortion; Safe and Supported is a project of WOMEN HELP WOMEN, supporting the rights of people around the world to have information about and access to safe abortion with pills. Inquiries about using abortion pills can be made through a secure portal and are answered by the skilled counselors of Women Help Women.
The primary goal of SASS is to provide information and support to women in the USA around self managed abortion, to reduce any negative health impact associated with unsafe abortion methods, and to ensure that self-managed abortions are medically and legally as safe as possible.
SASS provides training for those who wish to learn more about abortion pills and support those in their community who are choosing to self-manage their abortions. SASS also supports Euki, a secure and private app available inEnglish and Spanish that includes information about a range of reproductive health topics, including abortion pills.
Groups fighting for better access to abortion pills.
The National Women’s Health Network (NWHN) was founded in Washington, DC, in 1975 to change the conversation about women’s health. They are consumer activists, supported by a national membership of thousands of individuals. They shape policy and support consumer health decisions; monitor the actions of Federal regulatory and funding agencies, the health care industry, and the health professions; identify and expose health care abuses; and mobilize grassroots action for women’s health.
Abortion Access Front is a coven of hilarious badass feminists who use humor & pop culture to expose the haters fighting against reproductive rights. Founded by Lizz Winstead (co-creator of The Daily Show), AAF’s vigilant, coffee-fueled abortion defenders create original rapid response media to fire back at the the daily assaults on abortion access AND share tools for everyone to join in the fight! AAF also raises awareness about & directly supports independent abortion providers, which bear the brunt of anti-abortion restrictions and harassment. We are Abortion AF! Learn more and take action with us at aafront.org.
More resources to answer your questions about obtaining and using abortion pills.
Cara is The one-stop app for finding genuine abortion clinics. Only connect you to clinics that offer genuine consultation, pills and surgery. Smartly pick the clinics based on where you are and how many weeks you've been pregnant. Exclude all political and religious organizations that disguise as abortion facilities.
This app provides comprehensive, user-friendly information on safe abortion. The app’s gestational calculator helps women determine their options, and clear, illustrated information describes what women can expect from safe abortions with pills, MVA, and D&E, and how to address possible complications should they arise. An extensive FAQ section addresses a broad spectrum of concerns regarding abortion.