Is an abortion with pills safe?

Medical abortion within the first trimester (12 weeks) is proven to be 95-98% effective. It entails a safe procedure with few risks of complications. These risks are the same as when a person has a natural miscarriage and can easily be treated by a doctor. Further medical care consists of vacuum aspiration or medication for a continuing pregnancy or an incomplete abortion.

Medical abortion is safer than childbirth and the use of antibiotics, penicilin or Viagra. In countries where childbirth is safe, 1 in every 15.000 women dies during childbirth. The risk of fatal anaphylaxis with penicillin has previously been estimated to be around 1 in 100 000. Fatal reactions to penicillin occur in 1 case per 50,000-100,000 courses. Viagra, a drug that treats erectile dysfunction and as of early 2000s, approximately 11 million prescriptions have been written for Viagra. Based on the number of prescriptions, the mortality rate of people using Viagra is approximately 1 in every 20,000 prescriptions. Mortality of medical abortion is less than 1 per 200.000.

Medical abortion with Mifepristone and Misoprostol is used in most European countries. In France alone more than 2.000.000 abortions have been done with Mifepristone and Misoprostol since 1992 and no deaths have occurred. Mifepristone and Misoprostol are listed on the Core Model List of Essential Medicines of the World Health Organization.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), individuals can safely and effectively self-manage their abortions within 12 weeks at home without the direct support of a healthcare provider. WHO Guidelines on Self-Care Interventions: Self-Management of Medical Abortion suggests that “Self-management can be appealing for several practical reasons including lower costs, ease of scheduling, reduced transport needs, ability to manage stigma, and quicker termination of pregnancy. Individuals also value the sense of control over the abortion process and the ability to maximize comfort and support.