The Abortion Pill

The abortion pill method is also known as a medication or chemical abortion because it uses drugs to terminate a pregnancy. The FDA has approved this method through 70 days gestation (70 days or less since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period).


Mifeprex (mifepristone) is the first drug taken in the abortion pill method. This drug blocks the hormone progesterone from the uterus. Every pregnancy needs progesterone to grow. Without it, the pregnancy cannot continue.

The guide for this drug warns against the following:

  • Heavy Bleeding
  • Abdominal Pain or “Feeling Sick”
  • Fever


Misoprostol is the second drug in the abortion pill method, taken 24 to 48 hours after the first drug. It induces labor-like contractions to expel the pregnancy through the vagina.

According to the NIH, misoprostol may cause the following:

  • Fever and Chills
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Pain

Surgical Abortion

The method of surgical abortion is determined by how far along you are in your pregnancy. Knowing the gestational age helps you understand the type of procedure, side effects, and potential risks to expect.

The possibility of dilation (opening) of the cervix and the need for anesthesia is possible for each procedure.

Vacuum Aspiration

Abortion providers perform this procedure in the first trimester of pregnancy. They insert a tube into the uterus and suck out the contents.

The aspiration can be manual or electrical, depending on how far along you are.

D&C Abortion

A D&C (dilation and curettage) uses a vacuum and sharp scraping tool to remove the contents of the uterus. Abortion providers generally perform a D&C in the second trimester up to 16 weeks.

It includes anesthesia and dilating the cervix beforehand.

D&E Abortion

Dilation and evacuation (D&E) remove a later pregnancy and its tissue. In addition to aspiration and scraping tools, it may require forceps to remove larger parts of the pregnancy.

Nebraska law allows abortion up to 12 weeks.

To learn what to expect after each of these abortion methods, read Abortion Risks and Side Effects.


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