The differences between the 'abortion pill' and the 'morning-after' pill

What is the difference between the morning after pill and the abortion pill? (January 10, 2018)

A bill that could potentially require California colleges to provide 'abortion pills' to students is moving forward.

The Senate State Education passed SB-320 Wednesday morning and the proposed bill will now proceed to the Senate of Appropriations Committee for the next step. If ultimately passed, the controversial bill proposal would mandate all University of California and California State University campuses to have the medication abortion services available for students by Jan. 1, 2022.

An initial story about the abortion pill sparked confusion on ABC10's Facebook page about whether or not the abortion option is the same medication as emergency contraception, also known as the over-the-counter "morning-after" pill.

In California, popular brand names such as Plan B One-Step and Next Choice One Dose are sold for over-the-counter purchase. Emergency contraceptives and other birth control options are already available at all California public college health centers, but abortion services are not.

In a nutshell, emergency contraceptive is taken to prevent a pregnancy while an abortion is performed after a pregnancy has already occurred.

The morning-after pill works to reduce the risk of pregnancy if started within 120 hours (five days) of unprotected intercourse. It's most effective if taken as soon as possible. In California, there is no age restriction for purchasing emergency contraceptives. You also don't need a doctor prescription or ID to buy it.

Medication for a chemical abortion can be taken within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy to terminate continued growth of the fetus. The abortion pill is taken with supervision of a medical professional and is done in two separate doses.

The abortion pill works by blocking the hormones necessary to continue the pregnancy while emergency contraception works to prevent ovulation or fertilization to prevent a pregnancy from happening.

If you are already pregnant, taking an emergency contraceptive will not end a pregnancy, in fact it won't disrupt it at all, according to the American Society for Emergency Contraception.

Both medications are highly effective, but for different purposes. The abortion pill is 96 to 97 percent effective at ending early pregnancies, according to data from Planned Parenthood.

Depending on the type of morning-after pill and how soon after unprotected intercourse it's taken, emergency contraception can be anywhere between 75 and 95 percent effective of preventing a pregnancy.

Both the morning-after pill and the abortion pill are deemed safe for most women. Like any other medication, it's important to understand the possible risks and side effects associated with it. Emergency contraception can cause mild symptoms such as irregular bleeding, dizziness, abdominal pain and headaches. 

The most common side effects of the abortion pill are similar to those of a miscarriage — bleeding, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress and the risk of a continued unwanted pregnancy if the medication fails.

Nationwide, the cost of a morning-after pill can range anywhere from $30 to $65 depending on the region, according to Planned Parenthood. An abortion pill cost can range anywhere from $300 to $800 with two or three doctor visits, testing and exams.

For more information on emergency contraception or the abortion pill talk to your doctor. You can also visit the websites below for more information.

www.plannedparenthood.org

www.pharmacy.ca.gov

www.acog.org

© 2018 KXTV-TV


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