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Medication Abortion
("Abortion Pill")

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Privacy, Comfort, and Personal

There is no “best method” when it comes to getting an abortion. Both methods are safe and effective, and you’ll get to decide which you feel most comfortable with depending on your own individual circumstances.

If a more personal and less invasive experience appeals to you, and you’d rather pass your pregnancy at home rather than in a medical office, a medication abortion might be a good option for you.

To get more information about the abortion pill, Haverhill, Beverly, and Lawrence have HealthQ locations that are ready to give you the information you need.

What to Expect With the Abortion Pill

Medication abortion is a safe and effective procedure in which two different medicines are taken to end a pregnancy. It is available up to 11 weeks (77 days) from the first day of your last period. The first medication (mifepristone) blocks the hormones necessary for a pregnancy to grow; this ends the pregnancy. The second medication (misoprostol) makes your uterus contract and empty; this is similar to a miscarriage. The abortion happens in the privacy of your home over the course of a few days. You’ll have at least one visit with HealthQ (either in clinic or via telehealth, depending on your preference) and a follow-up phone call or in-clinic visit, again dependent on what you prefer.

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Emergency Contraception, “the-morning-after pill”, (Plan B, Ella, My Choice, AfterPill, etc.) may prevent pregnancy, but it will not terminate a pregnancy. Emergency contraception can reduce risk of pregnancy for up to five days after unprotected sex. The sooner you take it, the more effective it will be.

Medication Abortion (the “Abortion Pill), is two medications that work together to end a pregnancy that is already growing/developing.

Medication Abortion Procedure Overview



The second medication, misoprostol, is taken at home 12-48 hours later (these pills are usually placed between your cheek and gum for 30 minutes or placed in the vagina). Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding, which empties your uterus and helps you pass the pregnancy through the vagina. The cramping and bleeding can last up to several hours, so we recommend planning ahead to make sure you can rest, use a heating pad, and take an over-the-counter pain reliever. For most people, the process takes around 5 hours, but it can take up to 12 hours for some. The medication abortion process feels similar to an early miscarriage. It’s normal to have cramping and bleeding and to pass clots and tissue, like a heavy period. You may also have an upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness, and a mild fever. You might also have mild cramping for a few days after, but it normally isn’t enough to prevent people from going back to work or school.


The last step is a follow-up appointment with our nurse practitioner 7-14 days later to check that the abortion is complete, that you are healthy, and to talk about birth control options, if you wish.

LMP Calculator

Enter the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) to see whether you are within 11 weeks and eligible for medication abortion. If you are more than 11 weeks pregnant, we encourage you to read about our in-clinic abortion procedure, which is available during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Enter the first day of your last period to see your options.

Caring About Your Safety and Health, Always

One of our providers is always available if you are having complications or have questions. After health center hours and on weekends they are available via an answering service.

Should you have questions or concerns about your options or the abortion pill, Beverly, Lawrence, and Haverhill have HealthQ locations you can visit.

Please call us immediately at (978) 927-9824 if you are experiencing one of the following conditions:

  • Heavy bleeding, for example, 2 maxi pads in 2 hours
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, weakness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, with or without fever, more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol
  • Fever of 100.4°F or higher that lasts for more than 4 hours within several days of taking the first medication

Emergency Rooms
Nearest to HealthQ

Beverly Hospital
85 Herrick St
Beverly, MA 01915
(978) 922-3000

Lawrence General Hospital
1 General St
Lawrence, MA 01841
(978) 683-4000

Anna Jacques Hospital
25 Highland Avenue
Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 463-1000

Should you need to go to an emergency room it is best to talk with one of our clinicians before going. They can call and talk with a physician working there to explain your situation and share your medical records. This may make your experience there better.

What You Should Know Before Your Visit

  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes ahead of schedule to find parking and the health center.
  • If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, call or text us at (978) 927-9824 as soon as possible so we can give your appointment slot to another patient. If you are more than 10 minutes late, we will try to fit you in but may have to reschedule your appointment.
  • Bring your insurance card, and a valid government-issued photo ID (such as a license or passport).
  • You can come by yourself and drive yourself home. You are welcome to bring a friend to wait with you in the waiting area Your friend must present a government-issued photo ID and comply with clinic policies. Only patients will be allowed in the exam room.
  • If you are using insurance, confirm with us before your appointment that you’re covered for abortion. This process can take several days so make sure we have your information as soon as possible after scheduling.
  • For safety reasons, children under 12 need to be supervised by an adult at all times in the waiting room, and cannot accompany you to the exam room.
  • We do not allow any weapons, including army knives and pepper spray, on our premises, and no backpacks or large bags, cell phones, or other recording devices in the exam rooms.
  • As a courtesy to other patients, we ask that you refrain from eating and talking on your cell phone in the waiting area.
  • In the case of bad weather, please call prior to your appointment for information about closing. If we need to reschedule your appointment for any reason, we will attempt to contact you by email, text, and phone.
  • Do not take any drugs or alcohol that may impair your ability to consent to an abortion for 24 hours prior to coming to your appointment.
  • Do not take aspirin for 7 days prior to your abortion.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that let you undress from the waist down.
  • It’s helpful to already have a supply of maxi pads (not tampons, menstrual cups, or panty-liners) and pain medicine like Ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin (not aspirin) at home. Some people like to have a heating pad to help with cramps.
  • If you have any questions, please call or text us at (978) 927-9824.

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Contact Us For More Information

We believe that every person should have medically accurate information about all pregnancy options and the freedom to decide whether, when, and how to create a family. If you decide to have an abortion, our role is to support you in your decision and to provide you with the highest quality medical care. Please call us to schedule an appointment or talk to one of our trained staff about available options and any questions or concerns you may have.

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Book Your Appointment

Book an appointment online or by phone or text. We do our best to schedule same or next day appointments.

Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at (978) 927-9824.