Abortion Procedures

(Information obtained from www.optionline.org)


Manual Vacuum Aspiration: Up to 7 weeks after last menstrual period (LMP)

This surgical abortion is done early in the pregnancy up until 7 weeks after the woman’s LMP.  A long, thin tube is inserted into the uterus.  A large syringe is attached to the tube and the embryo is suctioned out. 


Suction Curettage:  Between 6-14 weeks after LMP

This is the most common surgical abortion procedure.  Because the baby is larger, the doctor must first stretch open the cervix using metal rods.  Opening the cervix may be painful, so local or general anesthesia is typically needed.  After the cervix is stretched open, the doctor inserts a hard plastic tube into the uterus, then connects the tube to a suction machine.  The suction pulls the fetus’ body apart and out of the uterus.  The doctor may also use a loop-shaped knife called a curette to scrape the fetus and fetal parts out of the uterus. 


Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): Between 13-24 weeks after LMP

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.  In this procedure,   the cervix must be opened wider than in a first trimester abortion.  This is done by inserting numerous 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 sharp tool (called a curette) is also used to scrape out the contents of the uterus, removing any remaining tissue. 


Dilation and Extraction (D&X): From 20 weeks after LMP

These procedures typically take place over three days, use local anesthesia and are associated with increased risk to the life and health of the mother.  On the first day, under ultrasound guidance, the fetal heart is injected with a medication that stops the heart and causes the fetus to die.  Also over the first 2 days, the cervix is gradually stretched open using luminaria.  On the third day, the amniotic sac is burst and drained.  The remainder of the procedure is similar to the D&E procedure described earlier.


RU486, Mifepristone (Abortion Pill): Within 4-7 weeks after LMP

This drug is only approved for women up to the 49th day after their last menstrual period.  The procedure usually requires three office visits.  On the first visit, the woman is given pills to cause the death of the embryo.  Two days later, if the abortion has not occurred, she is given a second drug which causes cramps to expel the embryo.  The last visit is to determine if the procedure has been completed.  RU486 will not work in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.  This is a potentially life-threatening condition in which the embryo lodges outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube.

If an ectopic pregnancy is not diagnosed early, the tube may burst, causing internal bleeding and in some cases, the death of the woman.

The Morning After Pill

The most common brand of Morning After pill sold in the United States is call Plan B.  It is reported to work within 72 hours after sex and can lower your chance of pregnancy by up to 89%.

There are things you should consider before you take this drug.  Although it is advertised as safe and effective, it is good to know all the facts before you take it.  Your body and your health are important.

Possible side effects:

Nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, menstrual changes, dizziness, breast tenderness, vomiting, unexpected bleeding, abnormal period

         If you regret taking the abortion pill:

        Abortion Pill Reversal call 877-558-0333

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