Abortion Options, Information and RisksClick here to schedule an appointment
At any of our six Women’s Centers we will provide you with accurate, factual, complete health information about abortion options and abortion risks. Abortion is a medical procedure with physical and psychological health risks so you need to be fully informed before you can make the choice that is right for you. Our consultations are free and designed to give you a safe place and person with whom to talk over your options. We can help you understand and plan your next steps.
There are two types of abortions: medical abortion and surgical abortion.
involves the use of medications to end a pregnancy. It does not require anesthesia or surgery, but the abortion medications can only be used in early pregnancy.
The contents of the uterus are removed through surgery. Various methods are employed, according to the number of weeks of pregnancy and gestational age of the fetus. The cost of an abortion also varies.
RU-486, commonly known as the Abortion Pill—Approved only for use with pregnancies within 70 days of the last menstrual period and considered unsafe beyond that time. The abortion pill, mifepristone, causes a miscarriage by blocking the hormone progesterone, which is necessary for pregnancy to continue. The abortion pill is administered in three doses, along with another drug, misoprostol, and usually requires three clinic visits. On the first visit, the woman takes the three mifepristone abortion pills, which results in the death of the fetus. On Day 3, she takes misoprostol, which will cause cramping to expel the fetus. A follow-up visit is required in two weeks to ensure that the pregnancy has terminated. If an ultrasound scan shows that the fetus has stopped growing but has not been expelled, a surgical abortion will be required.
Potential abortion pill side effects/risks: stomach pain and discomfort, nausea, dizziness, headache, diarrhea, infection, fever, heavy bleeding, and death.1
Manual Vacuum Aspiration
May be performed up to 7 weeks after the last menstrual period. During the abortion surgery the cervix is stretched open with a metal rod to allow the abortion instruments to pass into the uterus. The fetus is suctioned out by hand with a syringe inserted into the uterus and attached to tubing.
May be performed from 6 to 14 weeks after the last menstrual period. The cervix is stretched open with a metal rod or laminaria, thin sticks made from plants and inserted hours before the abortion procedure is performed. Tubing attached to a suction machine is inserted into the uterus, and the fetus’ body is broken apart by the force and suctioned out. The Dilation and Curettage (D&C) is a variation on this abortion procedure. In a D&C, a curette, a loop-shaped knife, is used to scrape fetal parts from the uterus.
Dilation and Evacuation
May be performed from 13 to 24 weeks after last menstrual period. This abortion procedure requires additional stretching of the cervix by laminaria a couple of days before the abortion procedure because by this time in pregnancy the fetus is too large to be broken up by suction or pass through tubing. In this abortion surgery, the skull is crushed, and forceps are used to pull out fetal parts.
Dilation and Extraction
May be performed from 20 weeks after last menstrual period to full-term. Also known as the partial birth abortion, this abortion procedure takes three days. During the first two days the cervix is dilated and medication given for cramping. On the third day, labor is induced through medication. The baby is delivered feet first up to its head. Then scissors are inserted into the base of the skull so that the brain can be suctioned out. Once the skull collapses, the baby is removed by forceps.
Abortion is usually a safe procedure, but there are medical risks associated with surgical abortion, including: heavy bleeding, infection, incomplete abortion, allergic reaction to drugs, tearing of the cervix, scarring of the uterine lining, perforation of the uterus, damage to internal organs, and death. Abortion also carries with it risks to future pregnancies as well as emotional and spiritual consequences. Post-abortion syndrome symptoms may include: guilt, anger, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, anniversary grief, flashbacks, sexual dysfunction, relationship problems, eating disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, psychological reactions.2
Our Women’s Centers offer individual consultation and accurate information about all pregnancy options. However, we do not offer or refer for abortion services. We provide free ultrasound scans to determine gestational age and viability.
Abortion Costs 1 Source: Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov)
2Source: Care Net (2003)