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)[1]. 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 Ohio? Do I Need an Ultrasound Before Taking the Abortion Pill?

Currently, abortion is prohibited in Ohio after 20 weeks post-conception (or 22 weeks from the last menstrual period)[2]. You are also required to receive an ultrasound prior to taking the abortion pill.  Getting an ultrasound before taking the abortion pill is best practice because it provides you with important information for your safety. The abortion pill is not a safe option for those who are too far along in their pregnancy, have a pregnancy outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy), who have an IUD, or who have certain health conditions, including bleeding disorders and adrenal insufficiency. An ultrasound is the most accurate way to determine how far along you are in the pregnancy and where the pregnancy is located.

Do I Need a Prescription for the Abortion Pill? Can I Get the Abortion Pill Over the Counter? 

Certain pharmacies are now authorized to dispense the abortion pill. However, you can’t purchase it in the same way you would Tylenol or allergy relief medications. The FDA requires a prescription from a qualified physician in order to take the abortion pill[1]

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[3]. 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 Athens, Nelsonville & Pomeroy, OH

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 the Pregnancy Resource Center. We offer free pregnancy resources, so you can make an empowered decision for your unplanned pregnancy! Give us a call at (740) 592-4700 or schedule your appointment today!  The Pregnancy Resource Center offers up-to-date, medically accurate information regarding all pregnancy options. However, this center does not offer or refer for abortion services.


  1. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2023, January 1). Questions and Answers on Mifeprex. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from
  2. Section 2919.201 | Abortion after gestational age of 20 weeks. Ohio Revised Code. (2024, January 11). Retrieved from
  3. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2023, January 24). Mifeprex (Mifepristone). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from

Other Abortion Pill Information

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