Community Pregnancy Clinic

Get Informed About Abortion

If you are facing an unexpected pregnancy, then abortion might seem like a tempting choice. After all, it's quick, easy, and there are no lasting consequences, right? Not exactly.

GetInformed-400Abortion comes with a long list of short-term and long-term medical risks, as well as lasting emotional consequences. Before you choose, get the facts.

Abortion Procedures:

Abortion Procedures: the following is a description of the types of surgical and chemical abortion procedures performed in the United States. The procedures are dependent on how far along a woman is in her pregnancy.

    • Mifeprex: (also known as Mifepristone, RU-486, the Abortion Pill, and a medical Abortion). This drug is approved by the FDA (food and drug administration) for use in pregnancy up to 49 days from a last menstrual period although many abortion clinics offer this drug for up to 63 days after a last menstrual period.  Mifeprex works by blocking the hormone progesterone. Progesterone helps to maintain the lining of the uterus which provides the necessary nutrients to the developing embryo. When a woman takes Mifeprex; the lining becomes unable to sustain the life of the embryo. Progesterone also assists in inhibiting the contraction of the uterine muscle. Because often Mifeprex alone does not cause enough uterine cramping to complete the abortion, another drug called Misoprostol or Cytotec is usually given approximately 36 to 48 hours after Mifeprex. This drug causes further uterine cramping; the cervix softens and opens expelling the lining, the embryo and the gestational sac.

      The FDA approved procedure can require up to three office visits; the first visit to administer Mifeprex; the second to monitor the progress of the abortion and if necessary to administer misoprostol; the last to determine if the abortion was completed.

      Side Effects: bleeding and cramping are normal occurrences. Other possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, fatigue and back pain.

      • BLEEDING: Vaginal bleeding can last up to an average of 9 to 16 days with 1 in 100 women bleeding heavily enough to require a surgical intervention to stop the bleeding.
      • INFECTION/SEPSIS (Total Body Infection)
      • INCOMPLETE or FAILED ABORTION: fails in women up to 8% in pregnancies up to 49 days from last menstrual period. A surgical abortion is often required to complete the abortion.
        PLEASE NOTE: It is important to have an ultrasound to determine if you have a uterine pregnancy as Mifeprex/Misoprostol does not work on an ectopic pregnancy. If not diagnosed serious injury such as rupture of the fallopian tube and hemorrhage can occur.
    • First Trimester Abortion (4 to 13 weeks)
      In early pregnancy (between 4-7 weeks), a long thin tube is passed through the cervix and enters the uterus. A manual or electric suction device is turned on. The gestational sac and embryo is removed.  As the fetus gets larger in the first trimester, it may be necessary to open the cervix wider either manually with dilating rods or with the insertion of rods made from synthetic seaweed known as laminaria. At times both methods may be used. The same procedure with suction follows.

    • Second Trimester Abortion (approximately 13 to 24 weeks)
      Due to the size of the fetus, the cervix will need to be opened wider than in the first trimester. Opening the cervix is accomplished by inserting laminaria and/or by giving vaginal or oral medications. This can take up to 1 to 2 days.  Suction is applied as in the first trimester abortion. A looped shape instrument called a curette is used to ensure that no fetal parts remain. After approximately 16 weeks, it will be necessary to add another instrument known as forceps because suction alone is ineffective in removing the fetus due to its increased size. Curette and /or suction are used to remove any remaining tissue or blood clots.

    • Other second trimester procedures involve using medications to induce labor and delivery. Laminaria and/ or other medications such as Misopristol may be used to soften and open the cervix. Digoxin or Potassium Chloride may be injected into the amniotic fluid, umbilical cord or fetal heart to ensure that a dead fetus/placenta is delivered.

        Consider the Risks of Abortion

        Side effects may occur with induced abortion, whether surgical or by pill. These include abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Abortion also carries the risk of significant complications such as bleeding, infection, and damage to organs.  Serious complications occur in less than 1 out of 100 early abortions and in about 1 out of every 50 later abortions. Complications may include: Heavy bleeding - Some bleeding after abortion is normal. However, if the cervix is torn or the uterus is punctured, there is a risk of severe bleeding known as hemorrhaging. When this happens, a blood transfusion may be required.  Severe bleeding is also a risk with the use of RU486.  One in 100 women who use RU486 requires surgery to stop the bleeding.

        • Infection – Infection can develop from the insertion of medical instruments into the uterus, or from fetal parts that are mistakenly left inside (known as an incomplete abortion).  A pelvic infection may lead to persistent fever over several days and extended hospitalization.  It can also cause scarring of the pelvic organs.
        • Incomplete Abortion – Some fetal parts may be mistakenly left inside after the abortion. Bleeding and infection may result.
        • Infection/Sepsis – A number of RU486 or mifepristone users have died as a result of sepsis (total body infection).
        • Anesthesia – Complications from general anesthesia used during abortion surgery may result in convulsions, heart attack, and in extreme cases, death.  It also increases the risk of other serious complications by two and half times.Damage to the Cervix - The cervix may be cut, torn, or damaged by abortion instruments.  This can cause excessive bleeding that requires surgical repair.
        • Scarring of the Uterine Lining – Suction tubing, curettes, and other abortion instruments may cause permanent scarring of the uterine lining.
        • Perforation of the Uterus – The uterus may be punctured or torn by abortion instruments. The risk of this complication increases with the length of the pregnancy. If this occurs, major surgery may be required, including removal of the uterus (known as a hysterectomy).
        • Death - In extreme cases, other physical complications from abortion including excessive bleeding, infection, organ damage from a perforated uterus, and adverse reactions to anesthesia may lead to death. This complication is rare, but is possible.
        • Emotional/Psychological Impact – learn more at

        For more information on abortion risks, visit

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