Is a medical abortion dangerous?

Medical abortions performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy have a very low risk of complications. This risk is the same as when a woman has a natural miscarriage. These problems can easily be treated by a doctor. Out of of every 100 women that do medical abortions, 2 or 3 women have to go to a doctor, first aid center, or hospital to receive further medical care. In countries where childbirth is safe, 1 in every 10.000 women dies during childbirth. Less than 1 in every 100,000 women who use a medical abortion die, making medical abortions safer than childbirth and about as safe as naturally occurring miscarriages. This means that a safe abortion with Mifespristone and Misoprostol is always lifesaving.

More scientific information:

Research has shown that very few serious complications result from medical abortions in comparison to the number of women who experience successful medical abortions. 16 17 20 21 22 In the few cases that a surgical intervention such as a curettage (vacuum aspiration) is needed, this can be managed by the same health care facilities that care for women who have had miscarriages.

||Length of pregnancy || % of women needing further medical care ||

0- 49 days (0-7 weeks)2 %
40-63 days (7-9 weeks)2.5%
64-70 days (9-10 weeks)2,7%
71-77 days (10-11 weeks)3.3%

(Further medical care consists of vacuum aspiration for a continuing pregnancy or an incomplete abortion.)

2 or 3 out of every 100 women that have medical abortions will need to go to a local doctor, first aid center, or hospital to receive further medical care such as vacuum aspiration. This risk is equal to that of requiring medical care for an allergic reaction after using penicillin. 56 57

Medical abortion with Mifepristone and Misoprostol is used in most European countries. In France only about 1.000.000 abortions have been done with Mifepristone and Misoprostol since 1992 and no deaths have occurred.

As of January 2009, approximately 1,000,000 women in the United States and over 2 million women in Europe have used Mifepristone with Misoprostol to induce abortion, and there have been five deaths associated with the use of Mifepristone in medical abortion. 65
In 2005 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States published a public health advisory concerning the use of Mifepristone and Misoprostol for medical abortion. In it, the FDA stated, “The risk of fatal sepsis in women undergoing medical abortion is very rare (approximately 1 in 100,000). 37 12 36

The chance of death due to a medical abortion is less than a 1 in 100,000. 9 19 Miscarriage (also called spontaneous abortion) is a relatively common occurrence associated with pregnancy, occurring in approximately 15 out of every 100 pregnancies. 35 The death rate associated with miscarriage in the United States was also less than 1 death per 100,000 miscarriages. 35 Thus the death rate associated with medical abortion is about the same as the death rate associated with miscarriage. 9 62

Compare this mortality rate with that of Viagra, a drug that treats erectile dysfunction.
As of early 2000, approximately 11 million prescriptions had been written for Viagra. 18 564 men had died as a result of using the drug, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Based on the number of prescriptions written, that mortality rate is approximately 1 in every 20,000 prescriptions! As most men get more than 1 prescription, this means that the death rate is even higher than 1 in every 20,000 users. Apparently, the mortalities associated with Viagra have not been reason to remove this drug from the market.

Compare medical abortion's mortality rate with that of penicillin. Fatal reactions to penicillin occur in 1 case per 50,000-100,000 courses. 58 This means that a medical abortion is safer than a treatment with penicillin.

The risks associated with miscarriage and with safe and legal abortion “are substantially less than the risk of continuing the pregnancy." 9

In many countries, there are more deaths associated with childbirth than with induced abortion. The actual number of deaths from induced abortion are even fewer than what is shown in the following chart, since deaths related to induced abortion, miscarriage, and ectopic pregnancy are grouped in the same category. 41

CountryDeaths caused by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, abortionDeath caused by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, abortion per live birthPregnancy-related deaths, excluding abortionPregnancy-related deaths per live births
France21 in 387,000481 in 16,000
Australia00 per 246,000121 in 21,000
Canada11 in 328,000101 in 33,000

Source: WHO Mortality Database, 2001

Though complications can occur, medical abortion using this service is much less dangerous than having an unsafe abortion in places where it is severely restricted. 19 million unsafe abortions occur each year, and 68,000 of them directly result in the death of the woman. 43 This means one in every 279 women undergoing an unsafe abortion dies unnecessarily.
For each of these 68,000 women, there are 30 more (totaling 2,040,000 women) that suffer pain and disability due to unsafe abortions. 44 This means that 1 in every 9 women undergoing an unsafe abortion suffers long term complications unnecessarily.

Help me, I have an unwanted pregnancy, what can I do?

If you live in a country where it is permitted to have abortion safe and…

What is a medical abortion?

A medical abortion uses a medicine or a combination of tablets to cause the non

Is it difficult to use Misoprostol by yourself?

No. You can take Misoprostol on your own. Using Misoprostol is no more…

How to use misoprostol (cytotec) to cause an abortion?

You will need 12 pills of misoprostol, 200 micrograms (mcg) each. To cause an…

How can I get Misoprostol?

Instead of using Misoprostol alone it is much more effective (99%) to do a…

Quale tipo di medicinale contenete Misoprostolo è il più efficace?


Tutte le marche sono efficaci e provocano l'aborto. La cosa da tenere sempre a…

I cannot get Misoprostol. Could you please send them to me?

If you live in a country where there is no access to safe and legal abortion…

Possibilità di interrompere la gravidanza nel secondo trimestre (dopo la dodicesima settimana)

Dopo la dodicesima settimana di gravidanza l'aborto in Europa è possibile nelle…

Can Misoprostol be used if you have Chlamydia?

An infection with Chlamydia is one of the main causes of infertility and must…

Esistono delle iniezioni che possono terminare la gravidanza?

L'unico medicinale iniettabile in grado di interrompere la gravidanza si chiama…

What is Methotrexate?

Methotrexate can be used to induce an abortion in combination with Misoprostol…

Gli antibiotici possono avere un effetto sulla pillola contraccettiva o sul Misoporostolo?

Gli antibiotici possono diminuire l'efficaci di pillola contraccettiva perché…

Si può indurre un aborto usando Provera (progesterone)?

No, non si può. Provera non contiene sostanze necessarie per indurre le…

How do you know if you are pregnant and how long you have been pregnant for?

Most women determine that they are pregnant if they are sexually active and…

How many weeks into your pregnancy can you do a medical abortion?

You can do a medical abortion at home until the 12th week of your pregnancy.

I've been pregnant for more than 12 weeks. Can I still use Misoprostol?

Misoprostol still works after 12 weeks of pregnancy but the chance of…

I am 20 weeks pregnant; can I use Misoprostol?

Misoprostol should never be used after 20 weeks pregnancy. The fetus is able to…

What if you are not pregnant but take the medicines anyway?

Your health will not be harmed if you are not pregnant but take the medicines…

What are hCG levels during pregnancy?

hCG levels in weeks from Last Menstrual Period : 3 weeks LMP: 5 - 50 mIU/ml 4…

What if you have a RH - bloodtype?

Usually doctors advice women who have an (surgical) abortion or miscariage or…

When you should not do a medical abortion?

You should not use the medicines if: someone is forcing you to end your…

What is a contraindication and how do you know if you have one?

Contraindications are conditions or situations might keep you from being able…

What is an ectopic pregnancy and how do you know you have one?

An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that grows outside the womb, usually in a…

Can I have an abortion if I have an IUD?

An IUD is a contraceptive, a small coil of about 3 cm inserted by a doctor into…

Why shouldn't you be alone when you do a medical abortion and what if you do it alone anyway?

You are strongly advised to use the medicines in the presence of someone you…

Why should you be within 60 minutes of a hospital or first aid centre when you do the abortion?

It is absolutely necessary to be within one hour of help, in case you lose too…

Per ridurre dolore possono essere usati gli antidolorifici (omeopatici) insieme al Misoprostolo?

Dato che alcuni di questi medicinali hanno anche la funzione antispastica che…

Can (homeopathic) medication that decreases menstrual pain be used with Misoprostol?

Because some of these medications might counter the contractions of the womb…

How should you use Misoprostol (cytotec)?

You will need 12 pills of misoprostol, 200 micrograms (mcg) each. To cause an…

Posso assumere una parte di Misoprostolo per via orale e una parte per via vaginale? Sarà efficace?

La donna dovrebbe scegliere se usare le pillole per via vaginale oppure sotto…

Can you use Misoprostol if you are still breastfeeding?

It is better not to breastfeed during the first 5 hours after taking…

Is it safe to have a medical abortion if you've already had one in the past?

Women are fertile for about 40 years. Some women need more than one abortion…

Can I take part of the Misoprostol/Cytotec orally and part vaginally. Is this effective?

We strongly advice women to use Misoprostol under the tongue (dissolve under…

Can you eat or drink while you are taking the medicines?

You should not drink any alcohol or use drugs, as it can affect your judgment.

When will you start bleeding and how long will it last?

After using Misoprostol you should expect bleeding and cramps. Bleeding usually…

Can you go to work while doing the abortion? For how long must you rest before returning to work?

It is best to take Misoprostol on the weekends or when you can rest for a bit.

I took the first dose of Misoprostol and started bleeding. Should I take the next doses?

Yes, you must take the next doses, despite the blood loss. Scientific research…

Quante e di che colore saranno le perdite di sangue?

La regola generale prevede che il sangue fresco è rosso e quello vecchio è…

Can you see the products of the abortion (placenta, embryo, blood) and what should you do with them?

Most of the time women can see blood and tissue in their sanitary napkin or in…

What are the side effects of Misoprostol?

The medical abortion normally causes side effects such as pain and cramping, as…

I've used Misoprostol a few days ago and I'm still in a lot of pain. Is this normal?

If the treatment was successful, you should no longer have any pain, just blood…

I've used Misoprostol but the pregnancy test is still positive. What should I do?

Sometimes, pregnancy test are still positive 3 or 4 weeks after the abortion

What is a complete, successful abortion and how do you know you've had one?

A complete abortion means that the body has expelled all the products of…

How do you know if you have complications and what should you do?

If performed in the first 10 weeks, a medical abortion carries a very small…

How do you know if you have a post-abortion infection?

Infections following medical abortions are very rare. If you feel weakness

How do you know if you have an incomplete abortion?

An incomplete abortion is an abortion that has only been partially successful.

What is a curettage/vacuum aspiration and is it necessary after medical abortion?

Vacuum aspiration (MVA)is a surgical intervention to remove the contents of the…

Esistono gli esami di sangue capaci di rivelare la presenza di Misoprostolo?


Si, il medicinale potrebbe essere rilevato, ma SOLO se il medico cercasse…

Come riconoscere che la gravidanza continui dopo l'aborto?

In alcuni casi la gravidanza non si interrompe dopo l'assunzione di…

Quali sono le probabilità che il feto sarà malformato se la gravidanza continua dopo l'aborto?

Se la gravidanza continua dopo l'aborto, consigliamo alle donne di…

Do you need to have an ultrasound after doing a medical abortion?

If you do not have symptoms of a complication, it is not necessary to have an…

Do you require psychological counseling after you have had an abortion?

Most women do not need any psychological help after an abortion. Feelings of…

I used Misoprostol, there was some blood loss but not that much, has the abortion been successful?

It is very difficult to determine whether an abortion has been successful and…

I used Misoprostol; bleeding is like during menstruation. Should I go to the hospital?

You do not have to go to a hospital, but you should get an ultrasound or do a…

Can you get pregnant again immediately after using Misoprostol?

Yes. You must immediately start taking precautions. For contraceptive methods…

Does medical abortion increase the risk of breast cancer?

No, having an induced abortion does not increase a woman’s chance of developing…

Quanto dovrei aspettare prima di avere di nuovo rapporti sessuali dopo l'aborto?

Potrai riprendere la tua vita sessuale appena ti sentirai pronta. Ricorda però…

Will you be able to get pregnant and have children after a medical abortion?

A medical abortion does not affect your ability to conceive or bear a child in…

When can you get pregnant again after having a medical abortion?

Although it may be several weeks after your abortion before you get your…

Prevenire una gravidanza indesiderata

Circa 85% delle donne attive sessualmente che non usa i metodi contraccettivi…

Where can I buy the abortion pill (RU 486, mifepristone, mifeprex, mifegyne, Zacafemyl)?

RU 486 (the abortion pill, Mifepristone, Mifegyne, Mifeprex, Zacafemyl)) is…

Posso usare il Misoprostolo se ho la clamidia?

Un'infezione da clamidia è una della cause principali di infertilità e deve…

I've tried Misoprostol but had no or very little blood loss. Did the treatment work?

If you still do not bleed and you are positive that you were pregnant, then you…