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[1]


Misoprostol is taken 24-48 hours later at home. This medication causes the uterus to contract and expel the fetus, which ends the pregnancy[1].

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)[2]. 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 severe complications and may need emergency surgery to complete the procedure. 

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

Currently, abortion is illegal in Texas. This will not interfere with care for medical emergencies, such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy[3]. If you’re considering abortion, we strongly recommend receiving an ultrasound beforehand.


You may wonder why you’d want an ultrasound if you’re considering the abortion pill. The answer is that ultrasounds provide the insight to make an informed and empowered decision for an unexpected pregnancy. They determine two key things about your pregnancy: gestational age and whether the heartbeat is detectable.

What is Gestational Age?

How far along am I? Your ultrasound can answer that question. It’s important to know how far along you are (also known as your gestational age) because you can’t take the abortion pill past 10 weeks of pregnancy, as mentioned earlier[2]

Is There a Heartbeat?

At about eleven weeks, the embryo should have a heartbeat[4]. If the heartbeat can’t be detected, you may be experiencing a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. As mentioned above, the abortion ban will not affect treatment for these conditions. If your ultrasound confirms you are experiencing either, you can move forward with the appropriate medical care. 


Before spending your money only to find out you aren’t eligible for abortion, consider receiving a free ultrasound at Resources for Women. If your ultrasound determines that you’re too far along for abortion, our compassionate client advocates will help you explore all of your pregnancy options so that you can make the best choice for your health and future. 

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 still requires a prescription from a qualified physician in order to take the abortion pill[5].

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 their pills may not meet FDA standards[5]. 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 San Antonio, TX

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 Resources for Women. We offer free pregnancy resources so that you can make an empowered decision for your unplanned pregnancy:  



Call us at (210) 651-1611, text us at (210) 638-8221, or schedule your free appointment today. All services are confidential and free of charge.


Please note that Resources for Women does not provide or refer for abortion services. 


  1. Medical Abortion. Cleveland Clinic. (2021, October 21).  
  2. FDA. (2023, January 4). Questions and Answers on Mifeprex. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from  
  3. Health and Safety Code Chapter 171. Abortion. Texas Constitution and Statutes. (2021, September 1).  
  4. Valenti, O., Di Prima, F. A. F., Renda, E., Faraci, M., Hyseni, E., De Domenico, R., Monte, S., & Giorgio, E. (2011, July). Fetal cardiac function during the first trimester of pregnancy. Journal of Prenatal Medicine.
  5. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2023, March 3). Mifeprex (Mifepristone). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from