WE CAN HELP.
If a baby is not in your plans right now, abortion might seem like the best option. Learn more about procedures and your pregnancy options. Get answers to your questions and learn if abortion is the right choice for you. Our trained coaches are here for you and ready to answer your questions.
Medical abortions use drugs, instead of surgical instruments, to end a pregnancy. “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 another drug that is sometimes used to terminate pregnancy. 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.
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 14 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) – 14 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 procedure.
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.
Having an abortion is a serious decision with the potential for significant physical and psychological consequences.15,16,17,18 You owe it to yourself to get answers to your questions, weigh the alternatives, and consider how the procedure may impact your future.
Before the procedure, talk with your partner, trusted family, or friends about the decision. Get all the facts from a medical professional. Some people seek the support of a spiritual advisor or professional counselor. Consider calling us. We specialize in supporting women and men who are making a difficult pregnancy decision and are here to answer your questions about abortion. Feel free to call if you simply want to talk to someone about your situation.
Deciding whether or not to terminate pregnancy is complex. Your situation is unique, and we are ready to listen.
Our promise to you:
Do I need an ultrasound before an abortion?
An abortion clinic may or may not offer an ultrasound before an abortion. An ultrasound can confirm a viable pregnancy and estimate how far along in pregnancy you are. If you are considering abortion, an ultrasound will provide important information that will tell you more about your options. Abortion costs vary depending on how far along you are and the abortion procedure that you receive. Speak with us today about confidential ultrasound services at no cost near you.
informed decision checklist
AM I PREGNANT?
Pregnancy tests are not always accurate. Get your pregnancy confirmed by a medical professional. An ultrasound can tell if the baby has a heartbeat and how far along you are. Please call 866-406-9327 for more information.
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS FOR ABORTION?
Every medical procedure, including abortion, carries the risk of complications. You have the legal right to give fully informed consent. You also have the right to (1) get an explanation of the procedures available, (2) assess their risks and side effects, and (3) learn about other options for your pregnancy.
There are many different types of abortion procedures. Give us a call 866-406-9327 to talk about what abortion procedures are used in each stage of pregnancy, and the risks and side effects associated with each procedure.
HAVE I CONSIDERED ALTERNATIVES TO ABORTION?
Abortion may seem like the best fit for your current circumstances, but you will not regret learning about what other options you have. Some women who initially consider abortion are ultimately delighted to be parenting their child. Others who are not comfortable choosing abortion but are not ready to raise a child, make an adoption plan.
If you’re not sure what option is the best fit for you, or you have questions about your options, call our confidential hotline to start a conversation.
DO I KNOW WHAT TO DO IF I CHANGE MY MIND?
Abortion is your choice – you can change your mind at any time before the procedure starts. Women have gotten off the exam table and left. Some have changed their minds after taking the first set of pills for a medical abortion. This is a decision that you will live with the rest of your life. Don’t allow anyone to pressure you.
DO I KNOW HOW THE CLINIC HANDLES COMPLICATIONS DURING THE PROCEDURE?
Ask if the abortion doctor has admitting privileges to a hospital nearby should you have an emergency. Make sure the clinic has a plan to provide any follow-up or emergency care, should complications arise during or after the procedure.
WILL I FEEL PAIN?
People have different levels of tolerance for physical pain. One survey of women who had local anesthesia revealed that about half experienced “moderate to severe pain” and the other half, “none to mild pain.” 1 You can gauge your response based on how you have handled pain in the past. Pain relief options available during the procedure usually include local anesthesia, sedation, and sometimes general anesthesia. 2
What other questions do you still have about abortion? Give our confidential hotline a call to start a conversation.
WHAT FEELINGS CAN I EXPECT AFTER THE ABORTION?
Some women experience initial relief, but other women report negative emotions after abortion that linger, unresolved for months or even years. If that is you, find a pregnancy center near you where trained and compassionate people are ready to help.
DO I KNOW MY RIGHTS AS A MINOR?
No one can legally force you to have an abortion, including your parents. 3 The decision you make must be free, voluntary, independent, and non-coerced. 4 If you are being pressured to get an abortion you don’t want, contact the police, find your local pregnancy center for help, or call this toll-free phone number: 866-406-9327
HAVE I BEEN TESTED FOR AN STI/STD?
Have you been tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Any surgical procedure can be complicated by infection. You may be carrying an STI and not know it because they often do not have symptoms. 5 These infections can cause damage to your pelvic organs and lead to problems such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy. 6, 7, 8
Call us to be referred to a pregnancy center with STI/STD testing at no cost to you.
1. Thorp, J.M., Hartmann, K.E., Shadigian, E. (2003). Long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion: Review of the evidence. Obstet Gynecol Surv.58(1):67–79.
2. Cougle J., Reardon, D.C, & Coleman, P. K. (2003). Depression associated with abortion and childbirth: A long-term analysis of the NLSY cohort. Medical Science Monitor, 9 (4), CR105-112.
3. Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, J., Ridder, E. M. (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 16-24.
4. Pedersen W. (2008). Abortion and depression: A population-based longitudinal study of young women. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 36 (4):424-8.
5. Rees, D. I. & Sabia, J. J. (2007) The relationship between abortion and depression: New evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Medical Science Monitor, 13 (10), 430-436.
6. Cougle, J., Reardon, D.C., Coleman, P. K. (2005). Generalized anxiety associated with unintended pregnancy: A cohort study of the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. Journal of Anxiety Disorders,19 (10), 137-142.
7. Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M., Coyle, C.T. ( 2009). Induced abortion and intimate relationship quality in the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey. Public Health, 123(4):331–38.
8. Coyle, C. (2007). Men and abortion: A review of empirical reports. Internet J of Mental Health, 3(2).
9. Rue, V. (1996). His abortion experience: The effects of abortion on men. Ethics and Medics, 21(4), 3–4.
10. Coyle, C., Rue, V. (2014). A thematic analysis of men’s experience with a partner’s elective abortion. Counseling and Values, 60:138-150.
11. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2018, Feb 5). Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information. Retrieved April 8, 2016, from http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm111323.htm.
12. Raymond, E. G., Shannon, C., Weaver, M. A., & Winikoff, B. (2013). First-trimester medical abortion with mifepristone 200 mg and misoprostol: a systematic review.Contraception, 26-37. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2012.06.011.
13. Chen, Q. (2011). Mifepristone in combination with prostaglandins for termination of 10–16 weeks’ gestation: a systematic review. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 159, 247–254.85.
14. Chen, M. J., & Creinin, M. D. (2015). Mifepristone With Buccal Misoprostol for Medical Abortion. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 126(1), 12-21. doi:10.1097/aog.0000000000000897
15. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2018, Feb 5). Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information. Retrieved April 8, 2016, from http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm111323.htm.
16. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2016, March). Mifeprex label information. Retrieved from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/020687s020lbl.pdf.
17. The Endowment for Human Development. (2006). The Rapidly Growing Brain. Retrieved from http://www.ehd.org/movies.php?mov_id=28.
18. The Endowment for Human Development. (2006). Right- and Left-Handedness. Retrieved from http://www.ehd.org/movies.php?mov_id=44.
19. Physician’s Desk Reference (2014). Drug Summary: Methotrexate. Retrieved October 28, 2015, from http://www.pdr.net/drug-summary/methotrexate-tablets?druglabelid=1797&id=2398.
20. Creinin, M. , Danielsson, KG.(2009). Medical Abortion in Early Pregnancy. In Management of unintended and abnormal pregnancy: Comprehensive abortion care (pp.114, 120-29). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
21. Kapp, N., von Hertzen, H. (2009). Medical Methods to Induce Abortion in the Second Trimester. In Management of unintended and abnormal pregnancy: Comprehensive abortion care (pp. 178-88). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
22. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2013). Practice Bulletin: Second-trimester abortion (135).
23. Paul, M., Lichtenberg, E. S., Borgatta, L., Grimes, D. A., Stubblefield, P. G., & Creinin, M. D. (2009). First Trimester Aspiration Abortion. In Management of unintended and abnormal pregnancy: Comprehensive abortion care (pp. 135-156).
24. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. (2014). In-Clinic Abortion Procedures : Planned Parenthood. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
25. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. (2014). In-Clinic Abortion Procedures : Planned Parenthood. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
26. Paul, M., Lichtenberg, E. S., Borgatta, L., Grimes, D. A., Stubblefield, P. G., & Creinin, M. D. (2009). Dilation and Evacuation. In Management of unintended and abnormal pregnancy: Comprehensive abortion care (pp. 157-74). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
27. Paul, M., Lichtenberg, E. S., Borgatta, L., Grimes, D. A., Stubblefield, P. G., & Creinin, M. D. (2009). Dilation and Evacuation. In Management of unintended and abnormal pregnancy: Comprehensive abortion care (pp. 157-74). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
28. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. (2013). Practice Bulletin: Second-Trimester Abortion (135).
29. Pasquini, L., et al. Intracardiac injection of potassium chloride as method for feticide: Experience from a single U.K. tertiary centre. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 2008;115(4):528–31.
NOTE: We offer accurate information about all your pregnancy options; however, we do not offer or refer for abortion services or emergency contraception. The information presented on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.
“The woman I spoke to listened to me. You could tell in her voice she truly cared about what I was going through and didn’t push me to make a decision.”
– PDL TESTIMONIAL