How Does the Abortion Pill Work?

Although it’s referred to as a pill (singular), the abortion pill actually consists of two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol.

Mifepristone is taken first, usually in a clinic. This medication cuts the supply of the hormone progesterone to the embryo, which is needed to maintain the pregnancy. Without a steady supply of progesterone, the embryo stops growing.

Misoprostol is taken 24-48 hours later at home. This medication causes the uterus to contract and expel the embryo, which ends the pregnancy.

How Late Can You Take the Abortion Pill?

You can’t take the abortion pill beyond 10 weeks of pregnancy (or 70 days since the first day of your last menstrual period)[1]. This is because it becomes less effective the farther along you are. If you take the abortion pill later on in your pregnancy, you could experience serious complications and may need emergency surgery to complete the procedure.

Is Abortion Legal in New York? Do I Need an Ultrasound Before Taking the Abortion Pill?

Currently, you can get an abortion up to and including 24 weeks of pregnancy in New York[2]. Although state law doesn’t require it, we also recommend receiving an ultrasound.

Visit our blog to learn why you should get an ultrasound before an abortion.

What is Pregnancy Viability?

A viable pregnancy means that the pregnancy is progressing properly. For example, at about six weeks, the embryo should have a visible heartbeat. One of the goals of an ultrasound is to rule out a nonviable pregnancy, such as a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy – in either case, abortion may be dangerous and is not needed.

What is Gestational Age?

Before spending your money only to find out you aren’t eligible for abortion, schedule a free ultrasound at Pregnancy Help Inc.! It’s important to know how far along you are. The abortion pill has been approved by the FDA to be taken up until the 10th week of pregnancy (or 70 days since the first day of your last menstrual period). Although, it is not recommended and could be dangerous to take the abortion pill past 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Do I Need a Prescription for the Abortion Pill? Can I Get the Abortion Pill Over the Counter?

Certain pharmacies are now authorized to dispense the abortion pill. However, you can’t purchase it in the same way you would Tylenol or allergy relief medications. The FDA requires a prescription from a qualified physician in order to take the abortion pill[1].

Can I Order the Abortion Pill Online?

The FDA advises against ordering the abortion pill online. Many online abortion pill providers are located overseas, so the pills they provide may not meet FDA standards[3]. These pills could be counterfeit, expired, or even tampered with! It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid ordering the abortion pill online.

Abortion Pill Information in New York, NY

When those two lines first appear, it can be easy to panic. Don’t let fear make the final decision for you! Get the care and support you deserve at Pregnancy Help, Inc. We offer free pregnancy resources, so you can make an empowered decision for your unintended pregnancy!

Call us at (212) 243-7119, text us at (646) 734-8185, or schedule your appointment online today. All services are confidential and free of charge!


    1. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2023, January 1). Questions and Answers on Mifeprex. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from 
    2. Abortion in New York State: Know your rights. The State of New York. (n.d.).  
    3. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2023, January 24). Mifeprex (Mifepristone). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from 

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