How Long does the Abortion take

From start to finish, the abortion should take around two days to be complete.

Starting from the time you take the second pill, it usually takes up to six hours for the abortion to be completed, Torres says. So the whole process should be about a few days, during which time you may expel big blood clots or tissue as the pregnancy aborts, Renah Abortion Clinic says. It’s good to rest while all this is happening, if possible. “Most women prefer to stay at home for the first few hours after taking the second set of medicine, so we’ll often talk with them about their schedules to figure out a good time,” Renah says. And after the abortion, you may still experience bleeding for up to four weeks.

How Abortion Pill Works

Medication abortion works by stopping the progress of a pregnancy, then helping your body flush it out.

The abortion pill is actually two separate medicines. The first is mifepristone, also known as the pill RU-486, which starts the process of safely terminating a pregnancy. “Mifepristone blocks the receptors for progesterone, which is the principal hormone in pregnancy. Since progesterone can’t do its job to continue the pregnancy, essentially, the pregnancy stops growing. According to the standard of practice, you’ll take this medication in the presence of a medical professional (in some states, this is required by law, although researchers are currently testing the logistics and safety of getting abortion pills by mail). Then you’ll get the second medicine, misoprostol, to take at home 24 to 48 hours later.

Misoprostol helps your uterus expel the pregnancy. Depending on when you take it, you may already have started to experience bleeding and cramping as your body realizes the pregnancy is no longer progressing. Like in a miscarriage that happens without the aid of medication, the body will start to cramp and push out a pregnancy that has stopped growing. To ensure it’s done safely, we add misoprostol so the risks of heavy bleeding and infection are reduced.

The abortion pill and the morning-after pill

The abortion pill and the morning-after pill are two very different things.

While the abortion pill makes a pregnancy stops growing, the morning-after pill and other types of emergency contraception prevent ovulation from occurring, Torres explains. If you’ve already ovulated, emergency contraception can’t do anything to stop you from getting pregnant. (The only exception is the copper IUD, which works by creating an inflammatory reaction that’s toxic to sperm, which is why it’s the most effective form of emergency contraception.)

It’s important to know that there are currently laws on the books making it hard for doctors and clinics to get the abortion pill, thereby reducing people’s access to it. Depending on where you are, the medication is not easily found in hospitals and not easily accessible in clinics.

If you want to obtain a medication abortion, your first step would be to call a clinic, like Renah Abortion Clinic, and ask if they have the medicine or can access it. Even if they don’t, they should be able to refer you to somewhere that can better help you. Depending on your relationship with your primary care physician, you may also call them for guidance.

At your appointment, the practitioner will confirm your pregnancy and probably perform an ultrasound to see how far along you are. They’ll ask about your medical history and which medications you’re currently taking,  before giving you the pills you have to take and explaining when and how to take them—and what to expect.

Facts About The Abortion Pill

Facts About The Abortion Pill

When people discuss abortion, they’re often talking about surgical abortion.

As in, going into a doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic to terminate a pregnancy. But anyone who needs to end a pregnancy should know that, if they’re 10 or fewer weeks along, they have another option: the abortion pill, (medical abortion).

Some women prefer medication abortion because it can be more private since abortion occurs at home, Others don’t want a surgical procedure, while still others feel like it’s more natural because it induces the same process as a miscarriage.

Any medical procedure can be scary, but abortion is often shrouded in extra mystery or false information that makes it even more intimidating. Abortion pill facts you should know, including just how safe it really is.



Abortion is a common and safe procedure used to end a pregnancy. The earlier in pregnancy you make your decision and speak to a doctor about it, the easier it is to termination.

In SA you can have services for any pregnancy that is less than 12 weeks.

  • If you have been pregnant for less than 9 weeks, We can provide you with an early medical abortion. This is sometimes called the abortion pill. You will need to have two appointments with a three-day wait in between them.
  • If you are between 9 and 12 weeks pregnant you can have your first appointment at Renah clinic, then we can refer you to have a medical or surgical in a hospital.

If you are over 12 weeks pregnant, you can only get termination if there is a risk of serious harm to your health or if you have a diagnosis of a fatal fetal anomaly. If you are over 12 weeks pregnant but want a termination for different reasons, you may need to travel abroad for abortion care. 



Laparoscopic sterilisation is available to clients who are medically suitable and whose pregnancy is less than 14 weeks.  Please contact us for more information.

You may wish to consider having either procedure at the time of your abortion if you have decided your family is complete or if you are on a waiting list elsewhere for sterilization. Sterilisation should be considered irreversible.


Please note: There is evidence from published data that sterilisation performed at the time of abortion has a greater risk of failure than if the sterilisation is performed at a later date.

Abortion Aftercare


Discharge from the Clinic

You may bleed heavily following the second visit, usually for 2 – 3 days and you may even pass some clots. This is quite normal. After this time, the bleeding will reduce but you could bleed on and off for 3 – 4 weeks.

If you have any concerns about the side effects of your early abortion pill, you can always contact us.


You can take your normal painkillers (they must not contain aspirin) to relieve any discomfort. Do not take more than two in 4 hours.

Your first period may occur 4-6 weeks later and it may be heavier than normal.

We also advise that you avoid any heavy lifting or exercise for 2-3 weeks.

It is advisable to carry out a pregnancy test 4 weeks later to confirm your treatment was successful.  It the pregnancy test is positive, please contact the clinic for further advice.


It is advisable to carry out a pregnancy test 4 weeks later to confirm your treatment was successful. If the pregnancy test is positive, please contact the clinic for further advice.

This kind of medical abortion may not be suitable for you if any of the following apply:

  • You have been on long term corticosteroid treatment
  • You are on an anticoagulant (blood clotting) treatment
  • You have had a bad reaction or are allergic to Mifepristone
  • You have liver or kidney disease
  • You have risk factors for heart disease (such as high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol levels
  • You suffer from any other disease or illness and are taking other medication
  • You have an IUD in place which may need to be removed prior to the beginning of treatment
  • You are breastfeeding (we do not recommend the use of Mifepristone in women who wish to continue breastfeeding because the drug will pass into breast milk- it takes around 26 days for the drug to clear the body)

If any of these conditions apply, please inform the doctor/nurse who will discuss them further with you.

Early Abortion Pill

Early Abortion (abortion pill)

You can have an early medical abortion (EMA) using an abortion pill up to 9 weeks of pregnancy.

Early Abortion Pill Treatment

The Mifepristone tablet is swallowed and works by blocking the action of progesterone, a hormone needed to maintain the pregnancy. Misoprostol are tablets which can either be inserted into the vagina or in the mouth against the gum (buccal). These contain a hormone called prostaglandin. Prostaglandins occur naturally in the body and help the uterus to contract.

Acting together they will bring on an abortion.

EMA has a very good safety record, however, every form of medical treatment carries some risks or side effects. With this treatment, the main risks are:

  • Excessive vaginal bleeding
  • Incomplete abortion
  • Infection
  • Allergic reactions

First visit

  • You will be given a Mifepristone tablet to swallow with a glass of water and antibiotics to take home.
  • You will be given your next appointment time and a number to call if you are worried or have any questions.

Second visit

After your first visit, you will be asked to return to the clinic between 24 and 48 hours later. You must keep this appointment. There is a waiting room for your supporter whilst you are having treatment.

  •  Any symptoms that you may have experienced since your first appointment will be discussed with you by a nurse. If all has been well, your early abortion-pill treatment will continue.
  • You will be given pain relief to be administered rectally.
  • A nurse will insert Misoprostol abortion pill either vaginally or buccally or you can choose to put them in place yourself. The Misoprostol helps your body to expel the pregnancy so you will start to bleed and have period-like pains.

All women react differently to this treatment. Some have heavy bleeding and quite a lot of pain, while others have very little bleeding and mild pain. Most women are in between the two, however, it is important to remember that this is not a completely pain-free procedure.

You may experience the following:

  • Nausea or sickness
  • A feeling of light-headedness
  • Feeling feverish
  • High temperature
  • Diarrhea

You can leave the clinic after the treatment. You should take it easy for a couple of hours. After this time you may find that moving around will ease any discomfort.

The abortion usually takes place between 4 and 6 hours following the insertion of the tablets however in some cases the abortion can take place earlier or later (up to 7 days later).

Where to go for an abortion

Where to go for an abortion

Abortions can be carried out by attending a:

  • GP surgery that provides abortion services
  • family planning clinic that provides abortion services
  • women’s health clinic that provides abortion services
  • the hospital that provides abortion services

You will need to go to appointments on different days.

You can go to all your abortion appointments on your own or with a friend or family member.

Who to contact for an abortion

To have an abortion you can contact:

  • the My Options support service on phone 0815275503
  • a GP surgery that provides abortion services
  • a family planning clinic that provides abortion services
  • a women’s health clinic that provides abortion services

You must have an abortion in a hospital if you:

  • are more than 9 weeks pregnant
  • have any medical conditions or health-related illness. For example, severe anemia, pre-existing heart disease or severe cardiovascular disease
  • have become pregnant despite using an intrauterine device (IUD) — an IUD is a contraceptive device. It used to be called a coil or a loop

If you need to go to a hospital to have an abortion, your GP will refer you.

How long an abortion takes

The length of time for an abortion will be different. It depends on what type of abortion you have.

Deciding to have an abortion

Deciding to have an abortion.

Some people may be certain they want to have an abortion. Others may find it more difficult to make a decision.

The decision to have an abortion is yours alone. But you should take the chance to discuss your options with a health professional.

You may also want to speak to your partner, friends or family. But you don’t need to discuss it with anyone else and they don’t have a say in the final decision.

Under 18 years

If you are between 16 and 17 years old, you can choose not to involve your parents and a doctor can offer you an abortion. But you are encouraged to involve your parents or another supportive adult.

If you choose not to, your GP or doctor can still offer you an abortion. But only if they think that you understand the information and you can give consent. This is so that they know that you can make your own decision.

If you are under 16 years old, you cannot get an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian.

If you decide to have an abortion, you have the right for your information to remain confidential.

  • you are under 15 and have had sex
  • you are aged 15 or 16 and having sex with someone who is at least 2 years older than you
  • you are under 17 and the doctor believes you are at risk of sexual abuse or harm
  • you are under 17 and the doctor believes you have been sexually abused or harmed.

      Individual circumstances


We understand that people request abortions for many different reasons.

This could include if:

  • you have been a victim of rape
  • you are an asylum seeker
  • you are homeless

Your GP or doctor can provide you with the right kind of support and guidance that you need.