Although some people confuse emergency contraception with the abortion pill, the pills used to perform medical terminations are completely different from the morning after pill. The contraceptive and abortion pills available in London contain different substances, are used in different circumstances, and have very different effects on your body.
The Morning After Pill
The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours after having sex. You can get the emergency pill from a doctor, who can also help with STI testing or contraception advice, or from a pharmacy. The morning after pill contains progestogen, which is also used in oral contraceptives, but in a much higher dose. It can prevent you from getting pregnancy by delaying or stopping ovulation and preventing implantation.
The Abortion Pill
The abortion pill can be used to perform a termination if you are already pregnant. A medical abortion can be performed when you are up to nine weeks pregnant. You will need to see a doctor in order to get the abortion pill in London, and it must be taken under medical supervision. The procedure actually requires you to take two different pills, two days apart. The first pill contains mefipristone, which blocks the pregnancy hormone progesterone from working. This prevents the pregnancy from continuing. The second pill, which is a vaginal pessary, contains misoprostol. It causes the womb to contract, expelling the contents.
Despite the differences between the abortion pill and the morning after pill, both medications play a role in enabling us to take control of our reproductive health. Contraception isn’t perfect, and neither are the people who use it. Emergency contraception can be useful when we realise there is a problem soon after having sex, but other options are available at clinics offering the abortion pill in London if we aren’t able to act early enough to prevent conception.