While we may be hearing more about abortion pills than ever before, self-managed medication abortions are not new.

Mifepristone (also known as RU486) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to safely end pregnancy more than 20 years ago, in 2000. Today, 54 percent of all abortions in the United States are done with medication, typically self-administered at home before 10 weeks of pregnancy using the FDA-approved regimen of mifepristone and a second medication, misoprostol.

These same medications are also commonly administered following a miscarriage to empty the uterus. The procedures, symptoms and treatments for both abortion and miscarriage overlap, and healthcare experts worry that current and forthcoming restrictions on abortion could also limit how physicians can safely manage miscarriage.

How the medications mife and miso work

Mifepristone is taken orally and works by blocking progesterone production. Misoprostol is placed buccally (between the