Recently, I was chatting with a friend who was surprised to discover that the emergency contraceptive pill is not the same as the abortion pill. He suggested I write a post explaining the difference between the two, so here we go:
The emergency contraceptive pill (also known as ECP, Plan B or the morning after pill) prevents pregnancy. It can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. The ECP can inhibit ovulation and change the uterine lining; however, if a fertilized egg has already implanted, the ECP will not terminate the pregnancy. In Canada, the ECP is available without a prescription at most pharmacies and sexual health centers.
The abortion pill (also known as medical abortion) terminates an established pregnancy, no more than 49 days after the last menstrual period. The abortion pill can only be obtained from a physician. Some people are familiar with RU-486 (Mifepristone), an abortion pill used in the United States; however a different combination of drugs are used for medical abortion in Canada.