Hey, Teen Vogue, these 15 women say taking the abortion pill is nothing like having a period

Teen Vogue, a magazine which takes a clearly pro-abortion stance and markets itself to young women, recently published another abortion-favorable article, meant to support the ACLU’s push for more widely available abortion pills, entitled “How the Abortion Pill Works.” Currently, only facilities that offer or refer for surgical abortions and which are registered with the pill’s manufacturer can dispense it. The drug, mifepristone, causes the uterine lining to break down, killing the preborn child. A second drug, misoprostol, is usually given afterwards to cause contractions to expel the dead baby. This is also known as a medical or chemical abortion.

According to the article, the abortion pill is…

… like having a period. …While it may cause cramps and bleeding similar to your typical period, it’s a safe, simple, and noninvasive way to provide reproductive care. [ACLU attorney] Grant said that the abortion pill is “very safe” and “very effective,” adding that the vast majority — 93 to 98% — of people who use it need no medical treatment or follow-up after their visit.

Leaving aside the question of how a medication that fails to work or causes complications 2 to 7 times out of 100 (according to the ACLUs numbers) can be called “very effective,” Teen Vogue’s description of the pill is extremely misleading. Women who have taken the abortion pill report experiencing something very different than a typical period.

Below are the experiences of 15 women who took the abortion pill; their experiences show that the “typical period” claim is a lie.

1. One woman called it the “worst experience… I’ve ever been through,” adding, “The pill for me was the experience of having a baby. Contractions for 10 hours, sweating, screaming, being by myself. It was emotionally scarring and physically horrible.

2. Another woman said, “[I] wouldn’t wish that my worst enemy should go through a medical abortion. The pain plus the uncertainty as to whether the abortion had really taken place was awful.” (1)

3. Another woman, who also had a surgical abortion, said, “I would not want my worst enemy to go through what I had to go through. There was an extreme amount of bleeding… I was wiped out for three or four weeks….” (2)

4. A 2016 article from Dianne Fersey, “What It’s Really like to Have an Abortion,” relays the author’s experience:

After leaving the clinic, I actually felt physically fine…. But the pain that came afterwards was the worst thing I’ve ever felt in my life. I couldn’t even move, it was like taking on the period pains of 100 women combined. There was so much blood that I’d have to change my sanitary towel every hour. Overnight, my sheets were covered in blood beyond repair…

Fersey is no pro-lifer. “Although it was painful, I know I made the right choice,” she says.

5. Norine Dworkin-McDaniel told her abortion pill story in Marie Claire. She was happy about the availability of the abortion pill, believing it was a great thing for women:

Finally! Abortion would finally become what it always should have been: a private medical matter between a woman and her doctor. It held the promise of swift, at home termination. There would be no more gauntlets of protesters at clinics, because who would know which physicians were dispensing the pills? Even better, the pill would keep abortion accessible….

When she had an unwanted pregnancy, she read the drug insert and decided to try the pill herself, thinking she’d have no problems:

The Mifeprex literature described some cramping and bleeding, “similar to or greater than a normal, heavy period.” … A few pills, a couple of cramps, and it would all be over…. I envisioned recuperating on the couch with some uncomfortable but bearable cramps….


Nothing… had prepared me for the searing, gripping, squeezing pain that ripped through my belly 30 minutes later. I couldn’t even form words when Stewart [her boyfriend] called to check on me. It was all I could do to gasp, “Come home! Now!” … I was disoriented, nauseated, and, between crushing waves of contractions, that I imagine were close to what labor feels like, racing from the bed to the bathroom with diarrhea.

The pill had other, terrible side effects:

I had been prepared for the possibility that the pill wouldn’t work…. I also knew that I might bleed so heavily I need surgery to stop it… [But] what blindsided me… [were the] huge, cystic boils that soon covered my neck, shoulders, and back. I was also overcome by fatigue… I couldn’t work. On top of all that came depression; I sobbed constantly. I wouldn’t leave the house. I stopped showering.

She was shocked to learn from her gynecologist that her experience was not unusual. She was told, “One day, you’ll feel just like your old self,” but “[i]t took 9 months.”

6. Abby Johnson was the manager of a Planned Parenthood facility when she chose to abort by pill. She had heard the lines about it being safe and effective. Her next 24 hours were nightmarish:

… I started to feel pain in my abdomen unlike anything I had ever experienced. Then the blood… was gushing out of me. I couldn’t wear a pad… nothing was able to absorb the amount of blood I was losing. The only thing I could do was sit on the toilet… for hours… bleeding, throwing up into the bathroom trashcan, crying and sweating. I used to watch shows about childbirth. I would see these women in labor… covered in sweat. I would always think, “Gosh, do they keep it hot in the delivery room, or what?” But at that moment, sitting on the toilet, I knew it wasn’t from heat… it was from pain.

After several hours on the toilet, I desperately wanted to soak in the bath tub. …My bathwater was bright red. It looked like I was sitting in the middle of a crime scene …

I stood up…. I began to sweat again and felt faint….  Then I felt a release… and a splash in the water that was draining beneath me. A blood clot the size of a lemon had fallen into my bath water. Was that my baby?…. Then came the excruciating pain again. I… sat on the toilet. Another lemon sized blood clot. Then another. And another. I thought I was dying. This couldn’t be normal. Planned Parenthood didn’t ever tell me this could happen…. I decided that I would call them in the morning… if I didn’t die before then. It was around midnight and I had been in the bathroom for a good 12 hours.

She lay on the bathroom floor all night, calling Planned Parenthood in the morning. A nurse called her back, saying it was “not abnormal.” Abby endured eight more weeks of cramps, nausea, and blood clots.

7. A woman quoted by abortion pill inventor Etienne–Emile Baulieu said, “The pain was like menstrual cramps, 20 times over….”  (3)

8. Another woman shared her experience on LiveJournal, saying “… [W]hen the second pill was taking effect, I had the most indescribable excruciating pain for more than 6 hours. It almost killed me…. There was just so much pain that I couldn’t even cry.”

9. Kimi Faxon Hemingway had agonizing cramps, fever, chills and convulsions after medical abortion, and bled heavily for a week. Then, “When Hemingway… finally went back to the abortion facility… [t]he physician’s assistant who examined her laughed, “You sure are a bleeder, aren’t you?” Hemingway left the abortion facility in tears.” After three months, she was still bleeding and “wearing diapers.” She visited a different doctor, who had seen women in similar conditions after medical abortion, and prescribed her antibiotics for uterine and bladder infections. After she collapsed in public and was hospitalized, a doctor, “stunned’ at her condition, diagnosed her with a serious infection. Her baby was still inside her, which necessitated a D&C.

10. Another woman said, “… [M]y husband… remembers calling nursing staff on at least two occasions during the 24 hours after my taking the tablets, as we were worried at the nausea, pain and amount/size of blood clots.” This was normal, he was told, for up to three days. “The worst part,” she says, was the time it took. “[W]ith each and every large clot of blood – which I literally could feel passing through my insides and then out of my vagina – [I was reminded] of the fact I was terminating a baby, for which I felt hugely saddened. More than I realized I would.”

11. Another woman said: “… [Y]ou have so long to reflect on it, and I became quite upset. ….[P]sychologically it hits you much harder. You preside over the killing of a baby, completely unblinkingly.”

12. A woman may even see her dead (and possibly quite developed) baby. One woman regretted her abortion after seeing her child:

[F]our days after the abortion- I went to the washroom and there was a fetus, and I thoroughly examined it. I held it on a piece of Kleenex…. I started thinking that it could have been a person it could have possibly been loved by somebody else who could have taken care of it.

Emotionally traumatized, she could not bring herself to dispose of her child’s body:

For about a week I had it wrapped up in that Kleenex and in the cabinet underneath the sink. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it in the garbage…. And then every time I came into the washroom I knew it would be in there and I wouldn’t dare open the door of the cabinet.

Eventually, she threw the baby out with the trash.

13. Amber wrote about her abortion by pill on the pro-life site, quoted on ClinicQuotes:

First off it was the worst pain I have EVER felt in my life. And secondly, I SAW my baby. He/she looked so human already. I had no idea that my baby was so big after only 2 months. Just because you can’t see or feel it inside you doesn’t mean it’s not alive.

14. Another woman, who had two prior surgical abortions, told Newsweek, “There was a little bit of regret about seeing [the baby], because it had little hands. I remember little fists. I felt more responsible this time.” (4)

15. One woman in the same situation photographed her baby. She describes the “counseling” she received at the facility:

The counselor… proceeded to tell me that the process will be pretty easy… and that I wouldn’t see anything. They didn’t ever use the word baby. They always just said “it” or “tissue” or “the process.” They never said anything about the level of development. They did tell me it would be too small to see anything.

But she saw her baby’s body. She could count five fingers on each hand.

An abortion by pill is nothing like a woman’s normal period. Teen Vogue is deceiving its readers. Sadly, many young women who read it may only learn the truth too late. Lying to women to promote a pro-abortion agenda is anything but feminist.


  1. Vivian Wahlberg Memories After Abortion(Oxford: Radcliffe Publishing, 2007) 32
  2. Miriam Claire The Abortion Dilemma: Personal Views on a Public Issue(New York: Insight Books, 1995) 146
  3. Etienne–Emile Baulieu The Abortion Pill (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990) 91
  4. Debra Rosenberg and Michele Ingrassia “Blood and Tears” Newsweek Sept 18, 1995. Vol 126, Issue 12

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