Abortion Pill vs. Plan B – What’s the Difference?

24 Mar, 2020

 

Woman considering plan b and abortion pill.

 

What is the difference between Plan B (Levonorgestrel) and the abortion pill (RU-486)?

What should I know before going to the clinic or the drug store?

If you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, the last thing you need is to be confused. The difference between Plan B and the abortion pill has been a hot topic of debate and the answer to this question is there is a difference between the Plan B emergency contraception pill and the abortion pill. However, they do both share the similarity of putting a woman at risk in her reproductive health. 

What is Plan B?

Plan B contains a very high dose of levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestogen similar to progesterone used in contraception and hormone therapy.

Levonorgestrel is in a class of medications called progestins. It works by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary or preventing fertilization of the egg by sperm (male reproductive cells). It also may work by changing the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent the development of a pregnancy.

Levonorgestrel is used at very low doses in many oral contraception pills. Plan B, on the other hand, contains a very high dose of levonorgestrel.

While it is marketed to be safe, the very high dose of levonorgestrel can cause unwanted side effects requiring medical attention. They include but are not limited to heavy menstrual bleeding, absent or irregular menstrual periods, severe cramps, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, dizziness, headache, weight gain, acne, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, ovarian cysts, genital discharge, vulvovaginitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, vaginal infections, endometritis, genital tract bleeding, stroke, high blood pressure, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, depression, mood swings, breast cancer, liver tumors, and diabetes.

Plan B does not end a pregnancy that already exists. Because of the delay in ovulation, a woman’s cycle becomes more confusing and she can likely have an unplanned pregnancy at a later time. In addition, because of the alteration of the uterine lining, it can increase the risks of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. 

What is the Abortion Pill?

The medical abortion pill is typically administered to women who are 10 weeks along or less. The pill is a two-step process involving two different types of drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Together the two drugs force the body to abort the fetus. The whole process could take up to 12 days.

 The drugs are typically prescribed by a doctor and taken by the patient at the home. The whole process is commonly very painful and doctors typically prescribe pain medication to manage the discomfort of the process. Not only is it physically painful, but it can also be emotionally traumatizing to the patient since it is often done alone. Side effects include heavy bleeding, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and severe cramping.

The first drug, mifepristone, also known as RU-486, blocks the body from producing a natural substance called progesterone needed for a pregnancy to continue. 

The second drug, Misoprostol, causes the uterus to shed the fetus, and any tissue left over in the uterus by causing contractions to expel the tissues through the vagina. 

The medical abortion pill can cause serious or life-threatening vaginal bleeding or infections. The bleeding is usually more severe when compared to surgical abortion. The vaginal bleeding, cramps, nausea, and diarrhea can start anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours after consuming the pill and can last 9 days to 30 days or longer. 

How can unplanned pregnancy be avoided?

Obviously, sexual risk avoidance is 100% effective in preventing unplanned pregnancy. The second most important solution is education on the prevention of an unplanned pregnancy. Even in the situation of an unplanned pregnancy, you have the right to be the most informed participant of your health. The truth is you can be given a Plan B pill at a drug store or an abortion pill at a clinic, but if you don’t know how that pill will affect your body, are you really making an informed decision? 

At Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center, we offer no-cost medical consultations and education so you can make an informed, educated decision regarding your health and unique situation. You have the right to know how your body functions. 

We also provide fertility education, a natural form of birth control that uses the design and knowledge of your body to know where you are in your cycle to not only avoid or achieve pregnancy but also have the means to fix what is imbalanced. In this way of preventative healthcare, we can prevent the long-term consequences of uninformed decisions.

Contact Turning Point for a Free Appointment

For more information on fertility education resources, call 858-397-1970 today and speak with one of our trained medical professionals.  Or contact us through our website.