For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Women's Health Education Program (WHEP) Blog Medication Abortion

Holding medicine with a glass of water.

This article includes discussion of abortion that may be challenging for some readers.

February 24, 2022
By Shana Talbot, Drexel University College of Medicine

Yesterday, the federal government lifted a major ban on access to abortion care. Now, patients will be allowed to receive abortion pills by mail. Medication abortion is a common method available to women up to 10 weeks of gestation. The “abortion pill” is a two-step process. First, you take mifepristone, which blocks progesterone — an important hormone in maintaining pregnancy — from attaching to receptors in the body. Up to 48 hours later, the patient must follow up with misoprostol, an agent that causes uterine contractions that will expel fetal tissue. The effectiveness of the medication depends on how far along the person is in gestation. For example, it is 94-98% effective for people who are 8 weeks pregnant or less and 91-93% effective for people who are 9 -10 weeks pregnant. Many people prefer this process; some feel that it is a less invasive process because it does not require surgery.

Allowing women to receive abortion comes at the perfect time as the Supreme Court is considering reversing national abortion rights and overturning Roe v. Wade. In September 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott also outlawed abortion around 6 weeks of gestation, even in cases of rape and incest. The ability to mail abortion pills means they will become more accessible for women who have difficulty traveling to an abortion provider if local abortion care is unavailable or restricted. To obtain the abortion pill, patients can schedule a telemedicine appointment with a provider who can prescribe the pills and send them to the patient by mail.

This method of obtaining abortion care is revolutionary because it enables patients to get safe medication in a timely manner and eliminates some of the psychological trauma that could be associated with the process. As one can imagine, walking into an abortion clinic can trigger negative emotions for women due to the fear of judgement or uncertainty. Thus, the ability to complete the entire process in the comfort and privacy of their home will likely reduce some of the mental anguish associated with the procedure. By minimizing the steps to obtain the pill, many women will hopefully utilize this safe and secure option to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

There are critics of medication bill who believe this is a dangerous pill regimen that requires physician oversight. Supposedly, there is well-documented evidence that chemical abortion is less safe than a surgical abortion. Thus, some believe that lifting of the ban will lead to dire consequences resulting in the increased number of mothers suffering from physical and psychological harm. According to the Planned Parenthood website, the list of adverse effects ranges from nausea and dizziness to fevers and chills, and no fatal adverse outcomes are listed. However, if the abortion is incomplete, a surgical procedure, such as surgical aspiration or dilation and curettage, may be required to complete the process. Fortunately, research has also shown that the abortion pill does not increase your infertility risk. Despite the critics’ beliefs, many organizations support the safety and effectiveness of this treatment.

Drexel's Employee Assistance Program is available to help employees in need of support through confidential, 24/7 counseling at 888.628.4824. This is offered at no cost to benefits-eligible faculty and professional staff, their family members, and Drexel graduate students. More information is available on the Human Resources website. Students can reach out for support via Student Wellbeing.

 Back to Top

Related Categories

Women's Health Education Program
Drexel University College of Medicine
2900 W. Queen Lane, Suite 228
Philadelphia, PA 19129

   215.991.8450 (Main)
   215.991.8144 (Coordinator)
   215.843.0253 (Fax)