If you think you are pregnant and you are considering abortion, make sure to get the facts you need. Be educated and informed. Abortion is not a simple medical procedure. For many women, it is a life-changing event with significant long-term physical, emotional and spiritual consequences. Most women who struggle with past abortions say they wish they had been told all of the facts about abortion.
To proceed with an abortion, a pregnancy verification and ultrasound to determine gestational age is needed. At Pregnancy Care Clinic, a nurse will confirm your pregnancy and discuss the procedures with you for your stage of pregnancy and the risks involved, free of charge.
Methods of Abortion
Manual Vacuum Aspiration: up to 7 weeks after last menstrual period
This is surgical abortion is done early in the pregnancy until 7 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. A long, thin tube is inserted into the uterus. A large syringe is attached to the tube and the fetus is suctioned out. (The doctor may refer to the fetus and fetal parts as the “products of conception”.)
RU486 (Mifepristone or “the Abortion Pill”): up to 10 weeks after last menstrual period
This drug is only approved by the FDA for use in women up to the 70th day after their last menstrual period. The procedure usually requires two office visits. On the first visit, the woman is given pills to cause the death of the fetus and a second drug which causes cramps to expel the fetus which will be taken at home a few days later. The second visit is a follow up to determine if the pregnancy tissue has all been successfully expelled. If not, a manual vacuum aspiration may be required to remove the remaining tissue to prevent bleeding and infection.
RU486 will not work in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fetus lodges outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. If not diagnosed early, the tube may burst, causing internal bleeding and in some cases, the death of the woman.
The abortion pill has special safety restrictions on how it is distributed to the public. Using drugs bought online can be risky. Online purchasers of the abortion pill bypass important safeguards designed to protect their health. Because drugs purchased online are not subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) manufacturing controls or FDA inspection of manufacturing facilities, there is no way to be sure exactly what they contain.
Suction Curettage: within 6 to 14 weeks after last menstrual period
This is the most common surgical abortion procedure. Because the baby is larger, the doctor must often first stretch open the cervix ahead of time using thin rods made of seaweed. The day of the procedure, the cervix may need further stretching by metal dilating rods. Local or general anesthesia is typically needed due to the pain involved with the dilation. The doctor then inserts a hard plastic tube into the uterus, and connects it to a suction machine. The suction pulls the fetus’ body apart and out of the uterus. The doctor may also use a curette (a loop-shaped knife) to scrape the fetus and fetal parts out of the uterus.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): between 13 to 24 weeks after last menstrual period
This surgical abortion is done during the second trimester of pregnancy. At this point in pregnancy, the fetus is too large to be broken up by suction alone and will not pass through the suction tubing. As a result, the cervix must be opened wider than in a first trimester abortion. Similar to the previous procedure, this is done by thin rods made of seaweed a day or two before the abortion. Once the cervix is stretched open the doctor pulls out the fetal parts with forceps. The fetus’ skull is crushed to ease removal. A curette is used to remove any remaining tissue. This procedure usually requires a general anesthesia (meaning you will be completely asleep).However, since it is further along in the pregnancy, the risk of complications are much higher.
Dilation and Extraction (D&X) (partial-birth abortion): from 20 weeks after last menstrual period to full-term
This procedure takes three days. During the first two days, the cervix is stretched open and medication is given for pain. On the third day, the abortion doctor uses ultrasound to locate the legs of the fetus. Grasping a leg with forceps, the doctor delivers the fetus up to the head. Next, scissors are inserted into the base of the skull to create an opening. A suction catheter is placed into the opening to remove the brain. The skull collapses and the fetus is removed. This procedure usually requires a general anesthesia (you would be completely asleep).
You have the right to know
You have a right to know all your options and any other information that might affect your decision, but if you don’t ask for this information, you may forfeit that right. Here are some important issues you may want to discuss BEFORE signing a consent for an abortion.
- Will it hurt?
- What options do I have?
- What are the chances that I will have any of the following:
- Retained products of conception
- Damage to the cervix
- Perforation to the uterus
- Complications in future pregnancies
- Abortion related breast cancer
- Psychological complications
- Will you treat me for any of these complications?
- If I need to be hospitalized, at which hospital do you have privileges?
- Are there any lawsuits pending against you?
- Will you check my blood type to check if I am RH-Negative? If I am, will you give me RhoGam® to protect my future pregnancies?
- If I use the abortion pill (RU-486), what complications can arise?
- Can I see the ultrasound you will perform to determine placement?
Call us today to schedule a confidential appointment!