Using Medications (Pills) to End an Unwanted Pregnancy in the USA


If you live in the U.S., abortion is legal in every state. However, it is a crime to induce an abortion if you did not get the medicines (mifepristone, misoprostol) from a doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or nurse midwife who is authorized to provide these medicines. It is also a crime to help a woman to get the abortion pills if you are not a licensed medical clinician. The penalty for this depends on which state you live in, but can carry serious fines and prison sentences. The contents of this webpage are for informational purposes only.

Photo by Kristof Borkowski from flickr

Click aquí para encontrar informacíon en español.

If you're located in Hawaii, New York, Oregon, or Washington state, you may be able to receive abortion pills by mail through the TelAbortion Study. Please visit for further information about this study.

How Can I Have a Safe Abortion with Pills?

In countries where abortion is legal, two medicines, mifepristone and misoprostol, are available from doctors and are 95-98% effective in safely ending an unwanted pregnancy up to 12 weeks. The service is provided in clinics and is extremely safe.

Misoprostol alone is also very safe and is 80-85% effective in ending an early unwanted pregnancy (up to 12 weeks). In Mexico and many other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, misoprostol is available over the counter (without a prescription) in pharmacies. It is generally used for ulcers and for arthritis.

Where can I get Misoprostol?

In many states along the Mexican border, misoprostol, also called cytotec, is sold in flea markets, bodegas and in the black market.  Please read about flea markets in Texas that sell good medicines.  It is very important to be sure you are getting genuine pills.  Try to buy the medicines in original packaging; do not buy loose pills.  A picture of misoprostol is at

In Mexico and other countries in Latin America, prescriptions are not required for most medicines available in pharmacies. Therefore it is possible to buy misoprostol. In many cases, the pharmacist will not ask why you want to buy the medicine. If the pharmacist asks, you can say that it is for your mother’s ulcers or for your grandmother’s arthritis. If a pharmacy will not sell the misoprostol to you, you can try a different pharmacy.

There are many Internet sites that claim to sell misoprostol or mifepristone. The majority of these are scams; they do not send genuine medicines. A partial list of sites known to be scams are at; however this is only a partial list. New scam sites are posted on the Internet every week to exploit women who are desperate to end an unwanted pregnancy.

In Mexico, how is Misoprostol sold?

In Mexico, misoprostol is available in most larger pharmacies. It is sold under several names, and the price for each brand varies. There are two large chains of pharmacies. In Farmacias Similares, misoprostol is sold under the brand name Cyrux. In Farmacias del Ahorro, it is sold as Misoprostol.

The cost for a box or bottle of 28 pills ranges from US $35 to $127, depending on the brand.

Misoprostol – 420 pesos, $35 US
Cyrux – 500 pesos, $42 US
Tomisprol – 890 pesos, $75
Cytotec – 1500 pesos, $127

Make sure to buy a sealed box or package.

What if I don’t speak Spanish?

In many pharmacies, if you write down the name of the medicine that you want to buy, they will help you.

How many misoprostol pills do I need?

If you are less than 12 weeks pregnant, you will need 12 tablets of 200 mcg each. In Mexico you usually will need to buy the full bottle/box of 28 tablets; pharmacists usually are not allowed to open the prepacked box or bottle. You can learn more about how to purchase the medicines in Mexico at (In Spanish)

How should I use the pills?

Please read (English) or (Spanish) very carefully for information about how to correctly and safely use the medicines.


I have read all of the instructions at . But what if after taking the tablets I need to see a doctor or go to a hospital?

Misoprostol causes a miscarriage. The symptoms of a miscarriage and an abortion with pills are EXACTLY the same and the treatment is EXACTLY the same. You do not need to say that you took the medicines. If you took the medicines as instructed at, they dissolve and there is no test that can tell a doctor or nurse that you took medicines. In every hospital in the world, doctors know how to treat a miscarriage or a complication from a miscarriage.

It is important to remember that in many states in the U.S., causing an abortion by yourself is a crime. Any person that knows you used the medicines by yourself might feel obliged to report you.

If you have any questions about this information, please contact