The aim was to review the current knowledge about the use of misoprostol alone for abortion induction during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Publications reporting experiences with misoprostol alone for pregnancy termination within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy were included in the analysis. Vaginal administration of 800 microg repeated up to three times at 6, 12 or 24 h intervals has an 85% to 90% effectiveness, defined as complete abortion, in most studies. Oral administration is less effective, but sublingual administration at 3-hour interval has the same effectiveness, with more frequent side effects. The oral and sublingual routes appear to be better accepted than vaginal administration. Most studies are limited to the first 9 weeks of pregnancy. The experience on pregnancy termination between 10 and 12 weeks is not yet sufficient for a recommendation.