© 2004 Choice to Live With

Permission to Reprint & Fair Use Notice


Made by Serif

The information on the website regarding exposure to abortion medication is based on research that done on the internet. It's very important to understand that the majority of studies that were done on embryos and fetuses were done when the woman was undergoing regular treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, or other conditions. That would mean repeated exposure at high doses. When evaluating the potential risk to the fetus, we need to consider if the exposure was repeated or a one-time thing. A medical abortion uses a small dose given one time.


You might see a lot of abortion clinics on the internet warning against continuing a pregnancy after a medical abortion; however, it's important to remember that they are trying to prevent lawsuits should a deformity occur. They also want to be able to claim a 100% success rate at performing abortions. You'll read a lot of differing advice on the internet, and it's important to note that no one can guarantee that a baby will or will not be affected.


It's also important to note that during the first 2 weeks after conception, the embryo is not susceptible to  teratogenicity (the harmful effects of some drugs). Medical abortions should only be done in the first 5 weeks after conception.  “During the first 2 weeks after conception the developing embryo is not susceptible to teratogenesis (Moore 1998). Drug exposures during this time period are not known to cause congenital anomalies in human embryos; however, such exposures may interfere with cleavage of the zygote or implantation of the blastocyst and/or cause early death and spontaneous abortion of the embryo (Moore 1998).” FDA website, page 8 of PDF file.


You can find information about methotrexate and misoprostol use in pregnancy here.  Keep in mind that much of the statistics and information you will read here was gathered in relation to cancer treatment or stomach conditions.  Mifepristone, however, is only taken to induce an abortion. If the abortion is not successful, there is no known risk to the embryo.


The teratogenicity of all 3 types of medications as related to abortion is discussed here on page 25 of this PDF document, and it confirms that with methotrexate and mifepristone, the risk is almost none, while with misoprostol (the second part of both medical abortions), the risk is slim.


Most of these articles point to the fact that 'yes,' medical abortions can cause anomalies at any dose at any time given, but it is considerably less likely that a baby will be born with anomalies after a failed medical abortion because:

  • (1) the dose is much lower than that given in cancer or for arthritis treatment and
  • (2) the dose is not repeated.


If you are having a continuing pregnancy after a medical abortion and you want to remain pregnant, you do not have to have a surgical abortion. The clinic cannot make you have one. Please contact an OB/GYN or a maternal-fetal medicine obstetrician for guidance. Ultrasounds can be done to check for any abnormalities that may be present.

A Note about Failed Medical Abortions