The Supreme Court has overturned its landmark decision in Roe v. Wadewhich provided a national constitutional right to an abortion.
The ruling, decided in a 6-3 vote on the court, rocked the United States from coast to coast. It allows states to protect abortion rights for people or implement bans and restrictions. The decision also drew attention to how abortion procedures have changed since the court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.
Though there are multiple kinds of abortion procedures, online interest in mifepristone spiked after the court’s Friday decision.
But what is mifepristone? How does it work to end a pregnancy? Here’s what you need to know.
What does mifepristone do to a pregnancy?
Mifepristone is used with another medication called misoprostol to end a pregnancy that is less than 70 days developed. The pills are taken about two days apart.
Mifepristone stops the “supply of hormones that maintains the interior of the uterus. Without these hormones, the uterus cannot support the pregnancy and the contents of the uterus are expelled,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
Sometimes called a “medicinal abortion” or “pill abortion,” the approach was first authorized by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000.
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How do I get mifepristone and misoprostol?
The medicine must be prescribed by a doctor. It is not available over-the-counter in pharmacies or other stores, although in some places only a telemedicine visit is required to obtain mifepristone and misoprostol.
Though the requirements for obtaining the medications have changed frequently in recent years, in December 2021, FDA officials allowed “abortion pills” to be available by mail and prescribed via telehealth medical appointments.
Is it legal in my state?
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Friday decision, you can see what abortion laws look like in your state here.
Abortion laws by state 2022: Searchable database of state-by-state abortion limits and protections
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday noted that “the FDA has approved the use of the medication Mifepristone.”
“States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy,” he said.
How long does it take to work?
The process when a person starts takes the first pill, mifepristone. Between 24 and 48 hours after, the person takes misoprostol, which typically comes in four tablets.
to patient may either put two in each cheek and let them dissolve, or the pills can be inserted into the vagina. Within a few hours, the misoprostol will cause a person’s cervix to dilate and their uterus to contract, emptying the embryo from the person’s uterus.
Symptoms can include cramping, bleeding, chills, nausea and vomiting. The most significant pain and bleeding will last no longer than one to two hours, and the process is completed within 24 hours, though some bleeding is normal for about two weeks.
Is the abortion pill dangerous?
No, health officials say. When used within the first 10 weeks, mifepristone and misoprostol safely terminated 99.6% of pregnancies with low rates of complications. Abortion by pill is used in approximately 54% of terminated pregnancies in the US, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute.
Contributing: Elizabeth Weise
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism