How effective and safe is medical abortion?

Medical abortion is highly effective. Research has shown that the pill regimen completely terminates pregnancy in about 95% of patients. About 5% of patients may need to have a uterine aspiration (a surgical abortion) because of a continuing pregnancy, incomplete abortion, or persistent bleeding.

Medical abortion is also very safe. Serious risks, such as heavy bleeding and infection are rare. It is very unusual for women to need admission to a hospital for treatment or to have a blood transfusion after a medical abortion.

Side effects of medical abortion are common; they include vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and mild fever. These side effects usually last a short time and can be treated with over-the-counter medications.

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