What’s the Difference Between the Abortion Pill and Plan B?

You’re pregnant, don’t want to be, and aren’t sure what to do. You may be wondering which medication can be used to end the pregnancy.

The abortion pill and Plan B are not the same, and they should not be taken interchangeably.  The abortion pill ends an early pregnancy. Plan B is emergency contraception designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. If you’re worried there’s a chance you may be unintentionally pregnant, here’s how to safely navigate the next steps for your health.

The Abortion Pill vs. Plan B

The abortion pill and Plan B are different types of medication and they are designed for different purposes. 

Before taking either drug, you should understand its intended purpose, timeframe, and potential risks and side effects.

What is the Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill is also called medication abortion or medical abortion. Despite being called a “pill,” it is most commonly a two-step combination of two separate oral medications: mifepristone and misoprostol. 

What Should I Know About the Abortion Pill?


The abortion pill ends an existing pregnancy up to ten weeks along. This is a serious decision to make, and the Mayo Clinic advises carefully exploring all aspects of your situation before moving forward.


Because the abortion pill is for women who are ten weeks pregnant or less, it’s important to be sure you are in the correct timeframe before proceeding. 

Managing Risks

The abortion pill comes with risks and side effects, and it isn’t for everyone. If your pregnancy has developed outside the uterus (an ectopic pregnancy), you should not take the abortion pill. To be safe, get an ultrasound first. This will reveal how far along you are and determine if your pregnancy is in the proper location. 

What is Plan B? 

Plan B is an emergency contraceptive designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. There are a few different types of “morning-after pills,” and Plan B (a medicine called levonorgestrel) is one of them.  

What Should I Know About Plan B?


Emergency contraception is a backup, and it is not intended to be used as an everyday type of birth control. 


To be effective, the morning-after pill should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, following the medication instructions. 

Managing Risks

Emergency contraception can have side effects you should be aware of, and some women have special health circumstances that mean they should not take Plan B. 

The morning-after pill doesn’t always work, and it also doesn’t protect against STDs. If you have questions about your sexual health and think you might be pregnant, give us a call. 

What Should I Do Now?

Whether you’re trying to figure out what to do after a condom breaks or if you just missed your period, know that you aren’t alone. The possibility of an unintended pregnancy can be overwhelming, and we’re here to help answer your questions. 

Contact us to make a no-cost, confidential appointment.


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