Options – Abortion

Alight offers abortion education. Before you make a decision, there are many things to consider, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

Methods of Abortions

RU486, Mifepristone: (Abortion Pill) – Within 4 to 7 weeks after last menstrual period (LMP)

This drug is only approved for use in 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 a follow-up ultrasound 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 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.

Manual Vacuum Aspiration: up to 7 weeks after LMP

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

Suction Curettage: between 6 to 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, and then connects this 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 to 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 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.

Abortion is not a simple procedure; it may have many side effects including bleeding, infection, incomplete abortion, uterine scarring causing future infertility, and damage to cervix or uterus. Abortion has been associated with preterm birth, emotional, and psychological impact.

Further complications may arise if you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and are unaware when you have an abortion procedure. It is important to get tested.

If you choose abortion, which method will you choose? Also, if you have made the decision to choose abortion, please make an appointment to be tested for STI’s and be educated about your medical care rights.