FAQs About Self-Managed Abortion

| Reproaction

By: Laila Salaam

At Reproaction we are staunch supporters of self-managed abortion and firmly believe that we can all safely and effectively be our own abortion providers! We acknowledge that self-managed abortion is a complex topic, and anti-abortion propagandists are spreading false information and fear mongering about the dangers of abortion pills. We think it is important to share accurate information about how self-managed abortion is safe, effective, and should be accessible to everyone who needs it.

This blog post will serve as a sample of the questions we are most frequently asked about self-managed abortion with pills.

Are abortion pills and emergency contraception the same thing?

In short, no. Abortion with pills is not the same thing as emergency contraception (commonly known as Plan B). While emergency contraception can prevent a pregnancy from occurring by delaying ovulation, emergency contraception cannot end an already existing pregnancy. However, abortion pills can terminate an already existing pregnancy, and are not used for pregnancy prevention. Learn more in this brief video.

Is there a weight limit for abortion pills?

No, unlike the weight recommendations that exist for emergency contraception (Plan B sometimes becomes less effective for people over 155 pounds) there is no weight limit that changes the effectiveness of abortion pills Misoprostol and Mifepristone. [1]

If I am breast/chestfeeding, can I have a medication abortion?

Yes, it is completely safe for a person to breast/chestfeed and have a medication abortion. Misoprostol may cause nausea or diarrhea in infants which could be important to keep in mind as extra, though usually unnecessary, precaution. [2]

Will I be able to get pregnant again after a medication abortion?

Yes, as medication abortion does not affect a person’s fertility. [3] Because of this, it is important that if a person does not want to get pregnant again after a medication abortion that they promptly find a reliable form of birth control.

If a person needs to go to the hospital due to complications from a self-managed abortion, what will happen?

Although cases of complications from self-managed abortion with pills are very rare, they still exist. There is no physiological difference between the symptoms or treatment of a self-managed abortion with pills and a miscarriage. If a person does not feel comfortable sharing the fact that they have used abortion pills with a medical professional or other mandated reporter, many choose to say they are experiencing a miscarriage, and the medical treatment directed is the same. We wrote more about how to know if someone needs medical attention after self-managed abortion here.

Is it okay to take abortion pills vaginally?

The World Health Organization (WHO) protocol for self-managed abortion with pills includes instructions for vaginal as well as oral administration of the medications. However, many choose not to take misoprostol vaginally, as it can put the user at risk for detection by a medical professional because remnants of the pills can be left in the vagina if they do not fully dissolve. So, vaginal administration of the pills may present legal risk for someone worried about criminalization of a pregnancy loss. Many abortion-seekers find it easier and less stressful to administer the medications orally and swallow the pill remnants, as there is no blood test for detecting the medication once ingested. Learn more about the WHO protocol for self-managed abortion with pills here.

A friend asked for advice about self-managing their abortion, can I assist them?

When discussing self-managed abortion or any topic that could put someone at legal risk, it is important that conversations are had with only trusted counterparts in-person or over secure messaging platforms like Signal. Because of the current attacks on abortion, even discussing self-managed abortion or helping a friend self-manage their abortion can bear legal risk. Learn more about digital security considerations for abortion from the Digital Defense Fund here.

To learn more about Self-Managed Abortion with pills, check out our campaign page here.


  1. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/blog/does-the-abortion-pill-have-a-weight-limit
  2. https://www.sps.nhs.uk/articles/can-mothers-breastfeed-after-a-medical-termination-of-pregnancy/
  3. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-bulletin/articles/2020/10/medication-abortion-up-to-70-days-of-gestation
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