Plan B & the Abortion Pill: What’s the Difference?

Plan B & the Abortion Pill: What’s the Difference?

Plan B & the Abortion Pill: What’s the Difference?

Facing an unintended pregnancy can be shocking and overwhelming for women.  Knowing in advance what your options are and how they work can help you make an informed decision.  Plan B & the Abortion Pill: What’s the Difference? They are two pharmaceutical drugs on the market for women who have had unprotected sex and do not want to be pregnant.  Some people confuse the two.

In this blog, we will look at each drug so you can make more informed and safe choices. 

Plan B & the Abortion Pill: What’s the Difference?

Plan B One Step

The most commonly available emergency contraceptive option in the United States is the Plan B One-Step, or levonorgestrel 1.5 mg1 .  Plan B pill can help prevent pregnancy if taken within 120 hours (5 days) after sex 2 .  It does not work if you are already pregnant.  The Plan B primarily works by interfering or delaying ovulation. To sum up, Plan B is 95% effective when taken within 24 hours of sex, and 61% effective when taken between 48 and 72 hours after sex. 3 

Abortion pill, also known as RU486 or Mifeprix

The abortion pill is a medical abortion, meaning it terminates an already existing pregnancy.  It involves two drugs.  The first drug is mifepristone.  It works by blocking progesterone, a hormone that is necessary for a pregnancy to continue growing 4 .  The second drug is misoprostol.  When taken after the mifepristone it works by causing contractions that push the pregnancy from the uterus. As a result, the combination of both drugs causes what’s called a medical abortion.

The biggest difference between Plan B & the abortion pill is that Plan B is used as an emergency contraceptive to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, while the abortion pill is used to terminate a pregnancy.  

If you are pregnant or have had unprotected sex and fear pregnancy, our clinic is here to help you answer all your questions.  You may call us at 770-334-3856 or text us anytime at 678-861-6780.

1 Cleland, Kelly, MPA, MPH, Raymond, Elizabeth G. MD, MPH, Westley, Elizabeth and Trussell, James PhD. “Emergency Contraception review: Evidence-based recommendations for clinicians” (2015) Retrieved 5/23/2022 from

2 Vandergriendt, Carly “Is Plan B the Same Thing as the Abortion Pill?” (September 2019) Retrieved 5/23/2022 from

3 Retrieved from the manufacturers website 

4 Retrieved from FDA