Today on the blog, we’ll be discussing a commonly asked question — “Is there a difference between Plan B and the abortion pill?” 

Spoiler alert: The answer is “Yes!”

Keep reading to learn how these two medications are different and what you should know before taking each.

What is “Plan B?” 

Plan B, also referred to as “the morning-after pill,” prevents pregnancy before it begins. This over-the-counter medication should is designed for use within 72 hours of having unprotected sex and should not be taken as a form of birth control.

How does Plan B work?

Plan B uses a tiered method of prevention, meaning if one step works, the other steps will not take place. The main method of prevention is through stopping ovulation so that the egg isn’t released. If the egg is released, Plan B will then prevent the egg from being fertilized by the sperm. If all else fails, the medication will change the lining of the uterus so the fertilized egg can’t be implanted and develop into a pregnancy. 

It’s important to note that if a pregnancy has already begun to develop, Plan B will not end the pregnancy. 

What are the side effects of Plan B?  

You might experience some side effects after taking Plan B, including… 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Tender breasts
  • Headaches
  • Bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion


What is the abortion pill? 

The abortion pill is a form of abortion used to end a pregnancy within the first 10 weeks of gestation. This two-step process includes Mifepristone, which causes the pregnancy to stop growing by stopping the release of progesterone, and Misoprostol, which forces the pregnancy tissue from the womb. 

The biggest difference to note between Plan B and the abortion pill is that while Plan B keeps a pregnancy occurring, the abortion pill ends a pregnancy already in progress. 

What are the side effects of the abortion pill? 

The abortion pill process is similar to that of a miscarriage as the pregnancy tissue will be expelled in the form of large blood clots and will likely be accompanied by intense cramping and bleeding.

In addition to side effects similar to those related to Plan B, the abortion pill is associated with other serious risks, including hemorrhaging and infections. If you think you may be experiencing complications related to your abortion, call your doctor immediately as emergency treatment will likely be required. 

Pregnant and looking for help? We’re here for you! 

Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy can be incredibly stressful. You may feel alone, misunderstood, and confused, however, it’s important to remember that there’s help available to you.

First Step Women’s Center is here to walk alongside you each step of the way. We start by providing no-cost pregnancy testing and options counseling so that you can feel confident as you make the choice that’s best for you!