Medication Abortion

We understand that the decision to end a pregnancy is personal and can be difficult. Our highly experienced doctors and counselors will provide you with confidential and supportive care.

To book, please call (604) 709-5611 or click here for our online booking request. We will return your call on the same or next business day.

Please ensure you have read the information below before booking your appointment.

Please note: We do not offer procedural (surgical) abortion services. If it has been more than 10 weeks since the first day of your last period, or if you would prefer a procedural abortion, please see our resources page for local surgical abortion clinics.

If you’re not sure whether medical or surgical abortion is right for you, It’s My Choice can help you decide.  

 

Read Prior to Booking:

Medication Abortion In Person or At a Distance

Willow Clinic offers medication abortion services throughout British Columbia to patients who are less than 10 weeks from the first day of the last period. If it has been longer than 10 weeks since your period, or if you would prefer a surgical abortion (also known as ‘procedural’ or ‘aspiration’ abortion), please click here .

For most people in early pregnancy, medication abortion is a safe option. However, for some people, a procedural abortion may be a better choice. We will provide a medical assessment to make sure this is a safe option for you.

Make sure you have a safe place to have your abortion and feel able to manage bleeding heavier than a normal period with moderate to severe cramping for a few hours. 

What to Expect for your Appointments

  1. Time: Telehealth and in-person appointments with a physician generally take 10-15 minutes.

    Counselling / Informational Video appointments usually last 30 minutes. 

    If your counselling or video appointment is scheduled at our clinic on the same day as your doctor’s appointment, you can expect the total time to be 1 – 1.5 hours, from your arrival to when you finish at the pharmacy.

  2. Counselling:

    Our counselors can provide support around your decision if you need it.

    If you are certain of your decision, the counsellors, or our video, will explain how to take the medication, review our instructions and consent form, discuss birth control with you if you would like, and answer any other questions you might have.

  3. Testing:

    For in-person appointments you will need to provide a urine sample for testing before seeing the doctor and we will be doing a vaginal ultrasound in order to date your pregnancy. We also offer STI and cervical screening / PAP testing.

    In some cases, the physician may recommend further testing in order to ensure your abortion is done as safely as possible. This may include a diagnostic ultrasound or blood testing. 

    If your physician requests blood testing during your abortion, you will need to go to a local lab usually on the day you plan to take the first medication. The physician will give you instructions on when to repeat the labwork (usually one week later). These blood tests are very important to do in order for us to know whether your abortion is complete.

In-Person Medication Abortions: If you live within 3 hours of Vancouver centre we will book you for an in-person medication abortion. We will arrange all your appointments for you and give you all the information you need. There is a counselling and information component and a medical assessment with a physician.  There will also be a follow-up appointment 10 – 14 days after you plan to take your medication.

Telemedicine Medication Abortions: If you live more than three hours from Vancouver, we may be able to provide abortion care by telemedicine. You will be booked for a medical assessment telehealth visit with our physician to review whether it is safe for you to proceed in your home community, and whether any local tests need to be arranged before your abortion. Then you will have a counselling and information session and a check-in with a physician for final review before starting your medication. There will also be a follow-up appointment 10 – 14 days after you plan to take your medication.

Cost:

If you have a valid BC Services Card (MSP), both your office visits and the medication for the abortion will be covered. There may be an additional cost at the pharmacy (usually about $40) for pain medication. If you have other health insurance that cost may also be covered.

If you have health coverage from another Canadian Province (except Quebec), we can bill the cost of the office visits directly, BUT the medications will not be covered. The cost of the medication is about $400.00. Some provincial health plans or private insurance plans may reimburse this cost if you submit your pharmacy receipt.

If you do not have provincial health care coverage in Canada, or are a resident of Quebec, you will be required to pay $575 for the office visits and about $400 for the medications. Additional costs may be added if bloodwork or other testing is required. If your medication abortion fails and you require a procedural (surgical) abortion, there will be no additional cost if the procedure is done at Everywoman’s Health Centre. Other clinics will require a fee of around $500-700.

More Medical Abortion FAQs

Medication abortion is a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy. You can avoid the need for anaesthesia and a procedure (aspiration) in most cases. The medication we use (Mifegymiso) causes a process which appears just like a miscarriage, which can be completed at home. For many people, this is more convenient, comfortable, and private.

The medication can be timed around work or school. See ‘When will my abortion actually happen?’ below.

The length of time the bleeding lasts can be unpredictable. Bleeding and cramping usually happen within a few hours of taking the medication, and usually ends after a few days however some people can have bleeding and spotting for much longer.

Bleeding is heavier and lasts longer than with a procedural abortion. People who have a medication abortion also tend to have stronger cramps for a longer period of time.

At least two appointments will be required, and sometimes more.

The chance or needing or requesting surgery to finish cleaning out the uterus is about 3-5%.

A medication abortion is done using a package of medications called Mifegymiso, which contains two medications. The first medication is called mifepristone, and blocks the action of the hormone progesterone in your body. This causes the uterus to release the pregnancy, but usually does not cause any cramping or bleeding. The second medication is called misoprostol, and causes the uterus to cramp, pushing the pregnancy tissue out. After the second medication, you can expect bleeding heavier than a normal period which usually lasts 4-6 hours. If you do not have bleeding heavier than a normal period, or if  instructed by our physician, you may need to take a second dose of misoprostol.

After the pregnancy has passed, you can expect bleeding and cramping  like a normal period. Overall bleeding/spotting may last up to 2 weeks or longer.

With a medication abortion, you decide the timing of your abortion, and take the medications when you are ready. The first medication (mifepristone) generally does not cause any symptoms. The second medication (misoprostol) is taken 24-48 hours later, and will cause cramping and bleeding (see “How does a medication abortion work?”, above). You can plan the timing of your medication to fit into your schedule.

Mifepristone usually does not cause any symptoms or side effects. But a few people do get some bleeding.

Misoprostol will cause bleeding and cramping. Usually the cramping is moderate to severe, and the worst of it lasts a few hours. It can also cause nausea, headache, diarrhea, fever, and chills, though many patients do not experience many of these additional side effects.

We will schedule a follow up appointment with a physician about a week after you have taken the Mifegymiso. This visit will take about 10 minutes.

Remember, if you have been asked to do bloodwork, this often needs to be scheduled at a local lab on the day you take the first medication, mifepristone, and again a week later. If you have been asked to do these tests, they will be important for knowing if your abortion is complete.

If you are following up in clinic, you will have an ultrasound to see if the abortion is complete.

If you are following up by phone, the physician will ask you questions and review any tests that have been done.

If the physician feels the abortion may not be complete, they may ask you to book an ultrasound, send you for more blood tests, or give you more medications.

Overall about 95% of the time a medication abortion is complete after taking the Mifegymiso. The chances of completion are highest if the medication abortion is started between 6-9 weeks after the last period.

About 5% of people who use Mifegymiso end up having a procudural abortion because they a) have a pregnancy that is still growing; b) have tissue remaining in their uterus that is causing bleeding or infection; c) request a procedural abortion because they do not wish to wait longer for ongoing bleeding.

At your follow up appointment if your physician is concerned that your abortion is not complete they will work with you to make a care plan.

Complications of medication abortion are rare. Misoprostol and mifepristone have both been studied extensively and used safely all over the world for many years. Severe complications like excessive bleeding or a serious infection are rare, less than 1%. Allergic reaction to one of the medications is possible, but also uncommon. We will review risks with you in detail at your visits with us.

The medications used in an abortion leave your body completely within days. There are no long-term effects of the medications and they will not affect future pregnancies or general health.

If you have a complication from your abortion, such as a serious infection, that does not get treated, these can have a longer effect on health and future pregnancies. If you have concerns during your abortion, please let your healthcare team know immediately.

Still not sure if medical abortion is right for you? Try the decision tool ‘It’s My Choice’ for more assistance:

myPostCare.ca™

About myPostCare.ca™

The myPostCare team noted a lack of medical support after having a medical abortion. They decided to address this gap and are starting by asking people going through a medical abortion experience what they would want and need to feel supported through a use of a digital platform. If you’d like to assist with this project please click below.

Our Medication Abortion Study