If you think you might be pregnant, and you’re looking for information on your options, abortion may be something you’re considering.
Some women feel like now isn’t a good time to have a baby, or they worry that they won’t be able to continue on in school. Because abortion is a permanent decision, it can be a good idea to take a couple of days to get as much information as you can about all your options to make the best choice for you.
Before you deal with the stress of that decision, though, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re pregnant. Many women who contact us are upset about needing to make this choice, because they are late for their period.
But, a late period is only a sign of pregnancy, and there are many different things that can cause a period to be late. Things like stress, a change in diet, or a change in exercise can all have an effect on a woman’s period. To know for sure, it’s always a good idea to have a pregnancy test.
And although pregnancy tests are generally accurate, it can also be a good idea to have an ultrasound. This can tell you if your pregnancy is viable. Many pregnancies end in miscarriage, so an abortion might not be necessary.
Contact us and we’ll find a pregnancy center in your area that can give you a free and confidential pregnancy test. These centers don’t perform or refer for abortions, but they have a lot of information about all your options. Many of them are even able to give you a free ultrasound
Medication Abortion (First Trimester – Up to 10 Weeks LMP)
The abortion pill goes by many names, including medication abortion, early medication abortion, RU-486, Mifeprex (Mifepristone) and Mifeprostol. Women who had their last period within the past 10 weeks (70 days) can take the abortion pill to end a pregnancy through abortion.
Nearly 1 in 4 abortions in the U.S. are now done by early medication abortion,1 and doctors in some states can give an abortion pill from a distance in what is called a telemedicine abortion.
The abortion pill is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in women up to the 70th day after her last menstrual period.2 Some abortion doctors give the pill to a woman who is past the FDA’s approved 70-day-limit, and even some doctors who have been arrested and charged with giving the pill to non-pregnant women.3
In order to make sure you’re safe during this process, always ask for a doctor or other qualified medical professional (registered nurse or sonographer) to do an ultrasound to make sure you’re pregnant and within the 10 weeks the FDA requires.
Since a medication abortion will not end a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy4, your life could be in danger if you do not confirm that you are pregnant with an ultrasound.5
You can find the free ultrasound services near you by scheduling an appointment.
If you choose to use a medication abortion to end your pregnancy, you will need to make three separate visits to the doctor’s office:
- On the first visit, you will be given three pills (Mifepristone) to begin the process of ending your pregnancy by causing the death of your embryo.
- Note: If you change your mind after the first visit, please contact us and we will connect you with a network of doctors who can reverse the effects of Mifepristone in some cases.
- Two days later, if your embryo has not been expelled from your body, you will be given a second drug, Misoprostol, which induces labor, to complete the abortion.
- One to two weeks later, you would make a third visit to check whether your pregnancy has been ended by the abortion.
First Trimester Aspiration Abortion (5-14 weeks after last menstrual period (LMP)
Often promoted as the fastest abortion method, an embryo or fetus can be removed from the patient’s uterus in just 15 minutes in a first trimester (first 12 weeks) aspiration abortion.
Although the procedure itself doesn’t take much time, patients who are further into the first trimester need to be dilated several hours—and sometimes a day—ahead of time. Some patients are given a dose of misoprostol, which is used in medication abortions, to soften the cervix before the abortion.
In the procedure itself, the abortion provider introduces a plastic tube called a “cannula” through the patient’s cervix and into her uterus. Once it’s inside the cervix, the cannula uses suction to pull the embryo or fetus out of the patient’s uterus.
An early-stage aspiration abortion (5-9 weeks) can be done using a hand-held syringe. A machine-operated pump is often required for an aspiration abortion from 10-14 weeks.1
The suction also empties the placenta from the patient’s uterus, and the provider can reduce the risk of infection and complication by making sure no tissue or fetal body parts are left in the uterus.2
For the most part, first trimester aspiration abortions require only local anesthesia, although some do require general anesthesia.
Although most states require aspiration abortions to be executed by licensed physicians, new legislation in California has allowed registered nurses, midwives, and physicians assistants to begin performing the procedure.3
Some women get a first trimester aspiration abortion to finish a failed medication abortion. Some first trimester aspiration abortions fail as well, requiring a dilation and curettage procedure to complete the abortion.4
You deserve to know the whole truth about abortion, fetal development, and maternal health. Click here to call us to find out more information.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
A dilation and evacuation (D&E)1 is a method providers use to abort during the second 12 weeks (second trimester) of a pregnancy. A D&E uses a combination of vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage (D&C), and forceps to remove the fetus from the patient’s uterus.
A similar procedure known as intact D&E is used to end pregnancies into the final 12 weeks (third trimester).
In a D&E abortion, the provider first locates the fetus using an ultrasound machine, then determines whether to use a vacuum aspiration or D&C procedure to remove the fetus from the patient’s uterus. The decision is based upon the size and level of development of the patient’s fetus.
Remember, you as the patient have the legal right to change your mind about an abortion decision at any time prior to the actual procedure. To find out more about your legal rights in this decision, call us at (903) 592-4495.
It is also your choice to decide whether or not your provider will induce fetal demise before he or she begins a D&E procedure.2 Induced fetal demise means a fetus’ heart is injected with a lethal dose of a chemical such as potassium chloride prior to the abortion procedure itself. This method is used in Labor Induction abortions.
If patient is 16 weeks or less into her pregnancy, the more common route for a provider to take is vacuum aspiration, where the fetus is removed from the patient’s uterus using suction force.
If the fetus is more than 16 weeks old—or is slightly above average in size—a provider may choose to do a D&C, where a scraping instrument is used to detach the fetus from the patient’s uterus.3
An intact D&E may require the provider to crush the skull of a fetus in order for the body to be removed from a patient’s uterus. To do this, a provider uses forceps to make an opening at the base of the skull, then uses suction to pull out the skull’s contents, causing the skull to collapse in the process.
In a D&C, the provider follows his or her initial procedure by introducing forceps through the patient’s vagina and cervix, into her uterus. Using an ultrasound to locate the fetus, the provider uses the forceps to pull the fetus out of the uterus piece-by-piece.
The doctor keeps track of what fetal parts have been removed so that none are left inside that could cause infection. Finally, a curette4 and/or suction instrument is used to remove any remaining tissue or blood clots to ensure the uterus is empty.
At least a day before the abortion itself takes place, a patient’s cervix is dilated using Misoprostol or a dilation tool called a “laminaria” to allow the provider to introduce the instruments needed to remove the fetus.
If you are looking for more information to make this decision, Click here to call us to find out more information. You deserve to have all the information and support you need to protect yourself during an unexpected pregnancy.
Labor Induction Abortion (Second and Third Trimester)
Although it is far less common for women to choose to abort using labor induction, some women abort with this procedure during the second or third trimesters of pregnancy.
This abortion procedure ends a pregnancy by first causing the death of a fetus by chemical injection, then birthing the fetus, which can take 10 to 24 hours in a hospital labor and delivery unit.
The first step in the process is what abortion doctors refer to as, “fetal demise.” The doctor injects a lethal dose of potassium chloride directly into the fetus’ heart with a 25-gauge needle, causing fetal death. The patient then is induced to labor and delivers the dead fetus.1
Misoprostol, which is also used to induce labor in an early medication abortion, is then given to start labor. Mifepristone, also used in an early medication abortion, is sometimes given as part of the process of a labor induction abortion.2
Mifepristone causes the amniotic sac (containing the fetus, placenta and pregnancy-related tissue) to detach from the uterus, resulting in fetal death. Misoprostol is then given to induce labor to deliver the fetus, placenta and other pregnancy-related tissue.
Over 40% of women who abort using labor induction do so because their fetus has been diagnosed with a fetal anomaly.3 If you are facing this situation, you have three legal options: abortion, parenting, or placing for adoption.
Abortion Safety Checklist
Before you visit an abortion clinic or provider, we strongly encourage you to ask yourself these important health and safety questions:
- Have you confirmed your pregnancy?
It’s important to be sure that you are pregnant; it is possible to receive a false indication of pregnancy. We can quickly connect you with a local pregnancy center that offers free, reliable pregnancy tests and other services that check the viability of your pregnancy.
- Do you understand the risks involved in an abortion procedure?
Abortion is a medical procedure and does involve the risk of physical harm. You have the legal right to be informed of the type of procedure you will receive, as well as any potential complications. Ask as many questions as you need, to make sure you understand all that is involved, physically and emotionally.
- Did you investigate the qualifications of your potential abortion provider?
Find out the name of the doctor who will perform your abortion procedure, and confirm that he or she is a licensed physician and a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist. Call and ask if the doctor has appropriate privileges to admit you to a hospital in the event that there is an emergency. Also, many states maintain public records about past medical malpractice judgments and settlements. Call your state agency (medical licensing board) to see if the doctor has been involved in any medical malpractice suits.
- Ask how complications are handled.
Abortion providers may not provide any follow-up or emergency care, should complications arise. Ask the abortion clinic if the abortion doctor has admitting privileges to a hospital nearby should you require emergency care.
- Do you understand that it’s OK to change your mind?
Abortion is your choice—meaning you can change your mind at any time. It’s OK to say, “I need more time to consider my decision,” if you are in the waiting room or even on the table prepped for your procedure. Don’t feel pressured to proceed just because you feel like you have to. It’s your body; you have the right to listen to your instincts.
If you’re looking for more information, you can send us a message, or call us at (903) 592-4495. We’re here to help.
Note: Axia Center offers peer counseling and accurate information about all pregnancy options; however, these centers do not offer or refer for abortion services. The information presented on this website and given through contacting Axia Center is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.
Information on this page has been provided courtesy of Option Line.