Which type of abortion should I get?

ribbon Medically reviewed Aug 2020 by Robin Watkins, CNM, WHNP-BC

There are two main ways abortion can be done: the abortion pill (also called medication abortion) and an abortion procedure (also called in-clinic abortion).

Everyone is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to what type of abortion is better. Both types of abortion have a very low risk of serious complications. Which one is right for you will depend on a lot of factors, including how far along in pregnancy you are, since the abortion pill is generally only available up to 11 weeks of pregnancy (and each clinic has its own rules about how far into pregnancy they offer it, so some clinics will not offer it up to 11 weeks).

For some people, being able to do the abortion at home at a time that works for them is the most important thing — with the abortion pill, the abortion itself happens in your own home (or other safe place of your choosing) instead of at a health center, doctor’s office, or hospital. For some, an abortion with the abortion pill feels more like a “natural” process because it’s similar to an early miscarriage.

For those who want it to be over as quickly as possible, it’s important to know that the abortion may take several hours when you take the abortion pill, but it usually takes just 5 to 10 minutes when you have an abortion procedure. Others may want to get an abortion procedure because they’re able to get IV sedation that makes them very relaxed or puts them to sleep so that they don’t have to experience the abortion itself. And still others choose an abortion procedure because it is more likely to be effective than the abortion pill, especially as you get closer to 11 weeks pregnant, which is when the pill stops being an option.

For more help deciding what type of abortion makes the most sense for you, check our list of pros and cons for each abortion type.

Want to learn more?

Select one of the related topics to find more.