There are two main types of abortion in the United States:
Medical abortions use drugs, instead of surgical instruments, to end a pregnancy. Early Medical Abortion is administered up to 10 weeks from the last menstrual period (LMP). “The Abortion Pill” (mifepristone plus misoprostol) is the most common form of medical abortion. It was approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in women up to 10 weeks after LMP.11 It is even used beyond 10 weeks LMP, despite an increasing failure rate.12, 13, 14 It is done by taking a series of pills that disrupt the embryo’s attachment to the uterus, and cause uterine cramps which push the embryo out. 15 Things to consider:16
- Bleeding can be heavy and lasts an average of 9-16 days.
- One woman in 100 need a surgical scraping to stop the bleeding.
- Pregnancies sometimes fail to abort, and this risk increases as pregnancy advances.
- For pregnancies 8 weeks LMP and beyond, identifiable parts may be seen.17
- By 10 weeks LMP, the developing baby is over one inch in length with clearly recognizable arms, legs, hands, and feet.18
- Methotrexate is FDA-approved for treating certain cancers and rheumatoid arthritis, but is used off-label to treat ectopic pregnancies and to induce abortion.19,20 Given by mouth or injection, it works by stopping cell growth, resulting in the embryo’s death.
Medical Methods for Induced Abortion21,22 – 2nd and 3rd Trimester. This procedure induces abortion by using drugs to cause labor and delivery of the fetus and placenta. Drugs may be injected into the fetus or the amniotic fluid to stop the baby’s heart before starting the procedure to avoid a live birth. There is a risk of heavy bleeding, and the placenta may need to be surgically removed. Call us to learn more about these procedures and potential risks.
Surgical abortions are done by opening the cervix and passing instruments into the uterus to suction, grasp, pull, and scrape the pregnancy out. The exact procedure is determined by the baby’s level of growth.
Aspiration/Suction23,24 – Up to 13 weeks LMP. Most early surgical abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia is typically offered to reduce pain. The abortion involves opening the cervix, passing a tube inside the uterus, and attaching it to suction device which pulls the embryo out.
Dilation and Evacuation25,26 (D&E) – 13 weeks LMP and up. Most second trimester abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia, oral, or intravenous pain medications and sedation are commonly used. Besides the need to open the cervix much wider, the main difference between this procedure and a first trimester abortion is the use of forceps to grasp fetal parts and remove the baby in pieces. D&E is associated with a much higher risk of complications compared to a first trimester surgical abortion.
D&E After Viability27-29 – 24 weeks LMP and up. This procedure typically takes 2–3 days and is associated with increased risk to the life and health of the mother. General anesthesia is usually recommended, if available. Drugs may be injected into the fetus or the amniotic fluid to stop the baby’s heart before starting the procedure. The cervix is opened wide, the amniotic sac is broken, and forceps are used to dismember the fetus. The “Intact D&E” pulls the fetus out legs first, then crushes the skull in order to remove the fetus in one piece.
WHAT IF I CHANGE MY MIND?
Sometimes, it just doesn’t hit you until you are there and the procedure is about to start. You suddenly realize: “I don’t want to do this!” What can you do?
For a woman who has decided to have a surgical abortion-whether it’s an early aspiration, or a later term D&E, she is free to change her mind up UNTIL the moment that the surgical procedure begins. Maybe you paid your deposit, or you had laminaria placed in your cervix, but you can still change your mind. What if you’re laying on the exam table and the abortion doctor has numbed your cervix, but hasn’t put any instruments into your cervix, you can still say “no” and get up off the table and leave. It is your body, it is still your choice. But once the instruments are in your uterus and the suction is turned on: it’s too late.
MEDICATION/DRUG ABORTION (The Abortion Pill, aka Mifeprex, mifepristone)
You were certain; this is what you wanted. You sat in the clinic and swallowed the first set of pills (mifepristone) that will lead to the end of your pregnancy. You leave the clinic with a bag containing the second set of pills (misoprostol) that are to be taken in 24 hours. You were told that these pills cause cramping and bleeding that will expel the pregnancy.
As you get into your car, you’re suddenly filled with dread and regret and your mind is screaming, “What have I done?!!” The good news is that it may not be too late to save your baby from abortion.
The first drug in the Abortion Pill Protocol is called mifepristone. Miferistone blocks progesterone, which is needed to sustain a growing pregnancy. A new protocol, known as the Abortion Pill Reversal, has been developed that uses natural progesterone to reverse the abortion and rescue the pregnancy. Recent studies have shown a success rate above 60% if the progesterone is started within 72 hours of taking the first abortion pill. It may not be too late. Care Net Pregnancy Center of Mason county is a part of the Abortion Pill Reversal network. For more information and to find a participating medical professional, call 877-558-0333 or visit: abortionpillreversal.com.
To learn more about the abortion and your pregnancy options, schedule a free and confidential appointment.