Breaking Down Myths & Misinformation About Abortion Pills

Written by the Plan C team for GirlTalkHQ

Abortion pills are a combination of two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, discovered in the late ‘80s to effectively end an early pregnancy. Since then, they have been used by millions and millions of people each year, all around the world, and are considered by the World Health Organization to be an “essential medicine.” In the US, these pills  are what you would get at a clinic if you request a “medication abortion” – then you would be sent home to take the pills and mange the abortion on your own. This is an incredibly safe method, and up to 98% effective: especially when taken early in the pregnancy. 

How does it work? 

First, the mifepristone pill blocks any pregnancy hormones. Then misoprostol, taken 24 to 48 hours later, causes cramping and bleeding from the uterus – like a miscarriage or very heavy period. This method is recommended for use up to 11 weeks from the first day of the last period.  

Based on decades of research showing how safe and effective they are for self-use, abortion pills are now avialable via telehealth services and online pharmacies and delivered directly to your doorstep. Services like (WA/NY), (CA) and (in 20+ states) and (an international aid organization serving even the most restricted states in the US) are serving patients every day who are seeking this kind of care, with online consults and accessible price points. The entire process can be done in your own home. Optional follow-up care is available via the same services or through hotlines like, where you can speak confidentially to a medical professional at no cost.  

What is this method NOT? 

This is not a “back alley abortion” or “coat hanger abortion.” Those terms refer to dangerous practices from the past. The abortion pill method is safer than Tylenol, it’s noninvasive, and it’s considered a health tool that some people keep in their medicine cabinets in case their period is late. It’s considered a “Plan C” because it comes after Plan A (birth control) and Plan B (the “morning after pill,” a different method taken soon after sex if birth control fails or isn’t available). But using abortion pills soon after a missed period and getting them through the mail is not yet well-known, even though it is safe, effective, private, and convenient.

This is not “ordering illicit drugs from the internet.” These are safe, FDA-approved medications prescribed by a doctor or available through an online pharmacy. They have been kept out of reach for the consumer until now because of political reasons, not medical. Today, in part because of COVID and the growth of telemedicine services, Americans are waking up to the possibility of a home abortion, and demanding access that they rightly deserve. In response, new telehealth services are coming online to serve the needs of the 1 in 4 Americans who will choose an abortion during their reproductive years.   

Abortion does not “ruin your body.” It does not affect future fertility or cause breast cancer. Each person’s experience with abortion pills is different: for some it appears as a heavy period, and for others it can be more intense with longer bleeding and cramping. medical complications  are extremely rare, and telehealth services and medical hotlines exist to help answer people’s questions and ensure they get the care they need, if and when they need it. 

Finally, this decision is no one else’s business. It’s basic healthcare, and it’s a human right. In recent years states have made attempts to pass unjust laws and criminalize pregnant people in all sorts of ways, but as long as Roe v. Wade is in place abortion is still constitutionally legal in all 50 states. And even if this changes because of politics or culture wars, abortion pills will most certainly still be available online for those who believe in the right to their own bodily care.  

Medical doctor @susanwherley recently took it to Twitter: 

Abortion is healthcare. Routine, boring, safe, normal healthcare. We live in a country that has tried to turn abortion into a secret and abortion providers into monsters. But 1/4 people with a uterus have an abortion in their lifetime. People you know and love have abortions. 

Abortions save lives. The ONLY way forward is for every single person in healthcare to insist that abortion is exactly the same as having a mole removed or a colonoscopy. If you are a provider, you need to stand up for your patients and your colleagues. #medtwitter

If I need abortion pills, or just want to learn more, where do I start? 

Plan C ( is a nonprofit digital platform and communications campaign providing information about self-managed abortion in the United States. Founded by seasoned public health researchers and millennial digital strategists, their mission is to create a world in which the ability to end an early unwanted pregnancy — in the form of safe, effective and revolutionary abortion pills — is directly in the hands of the person who needs it. 

The Plan C Guide to Pills is a state-by-state directory of resources, from hotlines to FAQs to telehealth options and online sources of pills. The guide is research-driven and and aimed at helping individuals make their decision with all the information at their fingertips. The Guide and accompanying resources are all tools for equity and social justice, helping the most under-served communities get the facts and support they need, instead of remaining subject to the hardship and harm created by culture wars around abortion access. 

For those who want to take action, Plan C’s Ambassadors of Information program equips volunteers with the tools they need to spread the word and mainstream the option of home abortion: And the Toolkit for Providers supports medical professionals as they realize their potential to step forward and prescribe abortion pills, no matter what kind of medicine they practice:

The #21stCenturyAbortion is here. Now it’s time to make it mainstream. 

Plan C is an information campaign for abortion pill access in the US: providing research-driven information, educating the public on where they’re found and how they’re used to safely end and early pregnancy, and incubating new initiatives that disrupt old barriers to access. Founded by seasoned public health experts and millennial digital strategists, the Plan C vision is of a world where the ability to end an early pregnancy is in the hands of the individual. Learn more at