What is Plan C?

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you might be considering Plan C. It’s important to get all of the facts, so you can make a fully informed decision. The compassionate team at Pregnancy Decision Line is here to answer all of your questions, so you can make a fully informed and empowered decision.

Today, we’re exploring Plan C—including how it works and if it’s right for you. Keep reading to learn more.

Is Plan C the Same as the Abortion Pill?

Plan C is another name for the abortion pill. It’s also referred to as medication abortion, medical abortion, chemical abortion, RU-486, Mifepristone, and Mifeprex®. Plan C also refers to an organization that provides information and resources on the abortion pill. The terms are often used interchangeably.

How Does Plan C Work?

Plan C consists of two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol.

Mifepristone is taken first. It cuts the supply of the hormone progesterone to the embryo, which is needed to maintain the pregnancy.[1] Without a steady supply of progesterone, the embryo stops growing and eventually dies.[2] Misoprostol is taken 24-48 hours later resulting in cramping and bleeding that usually expels the embryo.[3]

Mifepristone with misoprostol (“Plan C”) is approved by the FDA up to 10 weeks of pregnancy (or 70 days since the first day of your last menstrual period).[4]

Can I Order Plan C Online?

The FDA warns against ordering abortion drugs like Plan C online. Many online abortion drug providers are located overseas and the pills they provide may not be FDA-approved and may not be safe to take.[5] They could be expired, counterfeit, the incorrect dosage, or even laced with harmful substances.

What are the Side Effects of Plan C?

The following are typical side effects after taking Plan C:

  • Bleeding and cramping
  • Headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Fever and chills

These side effects are fairly common after a medication abortion. However, you may experience severe side effects and complications that require medical care, such as:

  • Hemorrhaging. It’s normal to bleed for a while after taking the abortion pill. However, heavier bleeding, known as hemorrhaging, can happen.[6]
  • Incomplete abortion. Incomplete abortions occur when some pregnancy tissue remains in the uterus after misoprostol has been taken. Emergency surgery may be needed to remove the remaining tissue and prevent infection.[7]
  • Infection. Women who experience sustained fever, severe lower abdominal pain, and fainting should seek medical attention. Also, women who “feel ill,” are weak, have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, with/without fever and abdominal pain, for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol may have a serious infection and should seek medical care right away.[8]
  • Severe abdominal or pelvic pain.[9]

It can be hard to tell if you are having an expected side effect or experiencing a life-threatening complication. If you experience any of the severe side effects listed above, contact a medical professional right away to receive treatment or go to the nearest ER.

Get the Facts on Plan C at Pregnancy Decision Line

We understand—pregnancy wasn’t part of your plan. Don’t decide out of fear. Contact  Pregnancy Decision Line first. Our compassionate team is here to answer all of your questions, help you explore your pregnancy options, and create a plan you can be confident in.

Give us a call to learn more. All services are confidential and free of charge.

  1. Food & Drug Administration. (2023, January). Mifepristone medication guide. https://www.fda.gov/media/164654/download
  2. Davenport, M. L., Delgado, G., Harrison, M. P., & Khauv, V. (2017). Embryo survival after mifepristone: A systematic review of the literature. Issues in Law & Medicine, 32(1). 
  3. Medical Abortion. Cleveland Clinic. (2024, January 16). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/21899-medical-abortion  
  4. FDA. (2023, September 1). Questions and Answers on Mifeprex. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/questions-and-answers-mifeprex  
  5. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2023, March 23). Mifeprex (Mifepristone). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/mifeprex-mifepristone-information
  6. Food & Drug Administration. (2023). Mifeprex label prescribing information. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2023/020687Orig1s025Lbl.pdf 
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid. 
  9. Ibid. 

Call 866-406-9327 and get help now.

All of our services are 100% free and confidential. We exist to provide accurate medical information and support to women and men facing an unplanned pregnancy. Our pregnancy centers do not offer or refer for pregnancy terminations or birth control. Information is provided as an educational service and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.