Medical abortion refers to the termination of a pregnancy through ingestion of medication rather than via surgical procedure.
In the course of a medical abortion, the patient is given one pill in the presence of a doctor. This pill will block the hormone progesterone that causes the lining of the uterus to break down and the pregnancy to end. The patient is also given antibiotics.
Within 24-48 hours after the first pill is ingested, a second pill called misoprostol is taken. This pill causes the uterus to empty resulting in cramps and heavy bleeding.
Patients must have a follow up visit with their doctor within two weeks to confirm that the pregnancy has ended.