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.



  1. syrens says:

    I knew that ECP prevented pregnancy, but I didn’t even know there *was* an abortion pill.
    Thanks! 😀

  2. WA_side says:

    I had no idea there were 2 different treatments/effects. I guess the drugs here in Australia may be different too, but suspect that procuring them would be much the same. How long has each been available? Are they new enough that it is not strange people may be uninformed?

  3. Thanks for this very informative article! This will surely help many people in properly identifying this pill. I haven’t tried this in my whole life, but it still pays to know the difference.