What are the symptoms of complications?
Complications after early medical abortions are rare, and include severe bleeding and infection. A woman should go to the doctor or hospital if she has any of the signs of complication below:
- Severe bleeding (more than 2 maxi pads soaked every hour for more than 2 hours in a row).
- Severe abdominal pain that isn’t relieved with painkillers or continues for 2-3 days.
- A fever that reaches 102o F at any point or a fever of over 100o F for more than 24 hours.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge (unusual greenish or yellowish color, and/or strong unpleasant odor).
Any person who knows someone used abortion medication to end their own pregnancy might feel obliged to report it, though they are generally not required to do so. If a woman seeks medical attention, she does not have to say she used medicines. The person seeking medical attention can say she is having a miscarriage. The symptoms and treatment for complications of a miscarriage are the same as those for complications of medical abortion. Miscarriage occurs naturally in 15-20% of all pregnancies, and all hospitals in the USA can treat any complications of miscarriage. There are currently no tests that can identify the medicines in the woman’s blood or urine. There is no way that the doctor can know she has taken medicines unless the patient discloses or has the pills on or in their body (in their mouth or vagina). 55
It is important to remember that some people in the United States have faced arrest or jail for ending their own pregnancies. Although abortion itself is legal, those who end their own pregnancies may risk unjustified arrest and imprisonment under laws that require the abortion pills be given by licensed health care workers and that criminalize self-induced abortion. Such laws vary from state-to-state. In spite of these laws, any person who is experiencing a rare complication from a medication abortion can seek follow up care, because all clinicians can treat a miscarriage, and cannot detect the pills.
For more information about legal issues, contact the SIA Legal Team.