Abortion pills and morning-after pills (also called emergency contraception) are two different types of medication:

  • Abortion pills end a pregnancy.

  • Morning-after pills prevent pregnancy from occurring.

Morning-after pills do not cause an abortion. They only work if you are not already pregnant. They must be taken soon after you have sex to be effective.

Read Emergency Contraception and Abortion Care to learn more.

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Published: January 2023

Last reviewed: January 2023

Copyright 2023 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.

This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to health care. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. The use of this information is voluntary. Clinicians should be familiar with and comply with state restrictions on abortion, including medication abortion. Read ACOG’s complete disclaimer.