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Abortion Procedures

What can I expect during an abortion?
The following information provides a brief description of the various types of abortion. Please recognize that abortion involves the risk of complications.  There are two kinds of abortion: medical and surgical.

Medical Abortions:
MTX Abortion: (Up to the first 7 weeks of pregnancy)1 Two chemicals are used. The first is methotrexate, or MTX, an anti-cancer drug that attacks diseased cells, breaks them down, and slows their growth. It acts the same way on a baby in the womb. It attacks the baby’s fast growing cells and the baby’s life support system. When his/her life support system fails, your baby dies.

Misoprostol is a second chemical, used 4-7 days later at home. It is inserted into your vagina as a suppository and causes contractions, pushing the dead baby out of the womb.

A third visit is made to the abortion clinic for another examination to ensure that the abortion was complete. If it was not, a surgical abortion is required.

Possible side effects include: MTX is potentially poisonous to your body, and can cause liver damage, kidney destruction, heart muscle damage, pulmonary failure, gastrointestinal problems, stroke, and convulsions. The possible side effects from the use of misoprostol suppository are kidney problems, infertility (sterility), cramping, and bleeding. 2

RU-486, also known as The Abortion Pill: (Up to the first 7-9 weeks) 1 You are first given an oral steroid drug (mifepristone) consisting of three pills. This drug blocks progesterone, the hormone which develops the lining of the uterus during pregnancy. The lining provides nutrition to the developing baby.

Then a second oral drug, a prostaglandin, is taken to induce the uterus to contract and push your baby’s body out through your vagina. An alternative is to vaginally insert 4 tablets of a medication called misoprostol. The tablets will trigger uterine contractions with cramping and bleeding.

This procedure requires 2-3 visits to the abortionist. The third visit, which normally takes place two weeks after the first, confirms whether or not the abortion has taken place. The range of failure to abort is between 8% and 23%3. When this procedure does not work, a suction abortion is performed.

Possible side effects include: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heart attacks, hemorrhage, impaired future fertility, and harm to future children. The time period between taking the first and second medications varies, sometimes between 48 and 72 hours, or more. The cramping and bleeding normally last about four hours but can extend for longer periods of time. About half of the women abort within four hours.

Saline Solution Method: (4-9 months)2 For this procedure, the abortionist will generally use a saline or salt solution to kill your baby. The abortionist inserts a long needle through your abdomen into the protective bag of water that surrounds your baby. Some of this protective fluid is removed and the saline solution is injected. Your baby breathes and swallows the poisonous salt solution that will slowly kill your baby, destroying his/her organs and burning off your baby’s skin. After several hours your baby dies. You then go into hard labor and deliver your dead baby, usually a day later.

Possible side affects include: The injection of saline can cause a sudden and severe drop in the blood clotting ability of the mother. This can result in serious internal bleeding and sometimes death. This procedure has been outlawed in Japan and in other countries because of the potential damage to the mother.

Prostaglandin: Prostaglandins are chemically manufactured hormones that induce labor. These hormones are injected into the sac that surrounds your baby. The chemical causes painful, and long-lasting contractions until your baby is forced out of the womb. You then go into labor and give birth. In most cases, the procedure results in an abortion. However, there are babies who have survived this procedure.

You may require a D&C to remove the placenta after your baby is born. The prostaglandlin procedure and the saline procedure have been discontinued for the most part because of the number of live births that still occurred.

Surgical Abortions:
Suction Curettage and Dilation & Curettage D&C: (Up to the first 15 weeks)1 The suction abortion procedure essentially uses a vacuum device (featuring a hollow tube with a knife-like tip) that is about 29 times more powerful than a home vacuum cleaner. Since the opening to your cervix (the neck of the uterus) is closed tightly to hold your baby, the abortionist frequently gives a local anesthetic injection near or into the cervix. At the time of labor, your body releases hormones to signal the cervix to open naturally, but to perform an abortion, the cervix must be gradually opened by other means.

The cervix is gradually stretched with a series of thick rods called dilators. Though the local anesthesia numbs the cervix, inserting the rods can cause cramps. These dilators are inserted one after the other, gradually increasing in size. Sometimes this results in damage to the cervix.

When your cervix is sufficiently opened, the doctor will insert a suction tube into your uterus. The suction machine will then be turned on and the baby will be sucked or torn from your uterus along with the placenta.  Once the suction catheter is removed, a curette (a narrow, loop-shaped tool) may be used to scrape the walls of the uterus to ensure that nothing remains.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): (Up to the first 21 weeks)1 A D&E is performed in two parts. The cervix must be dilated even wider than in a first trimester abortion because your baby is older and more fully developed. This may require several hours or you may have to wait over night. You may be given intravenous medication to ease the pain and prevent infection. A local anesthetic is then injected into or near the cervix and the dilators are removed from the cervix.

The abortionist uses a combination of forceps, suction, and curettage to remove the arms and legs off your baby. The abortionist then punctures the soft spot on your baby’s head, suctions out the brain, and crushes your baby’s skull. Then the abortionist removes the remaining parts of your baby with forceps and then reassembles them to make sure that he has all the parts removed from the uterus. Because the cutting is done by feeling along the inside of the womb, there is usually considerable bleeding and there can be damage to the womb.

Hysterotomy: In the last trimester an abortionist may perform a hysterotomy, which is essentially a miniature Caesarian (C-section). The abortionist makes an incision in your abdomen, clamps the umbilical cord, waits about five minutes, and then lifts out your stillborn child. However, babies have been known to survive this procedure.

Intercardiac Injection: At about 16 weeks, an ultrasound is used to pinpoint the location of your baby’s heart. A lethal injection of fluid into your baby’s heart causes an immediate heart attack that kills your baby. Your baby is then delivered.

American Pregnancy Association - www.americanpregnancy.org/unplannedpregnancy/abortionprocedures.html
2 American Life League http://www.all.org/nav/index/heading/OQ/cat/MzQ/id/MjQ1Nw/
3 National Right to Life News, March 2000.



Disclaimer: Our services are not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling, medical or pre-natal care.

Read more: Abortion Procedures

Possible Abortion Risks

As with any medical procedure, abortion presents potential risks to a woman.  It is very important to be fully informed and consider the risks prior to a medical or surgical abortion procedure.

Side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Infection
  • Incomplete abortion – Bleeding and infection can result from fetal parts being left in the uterus during the procedure.
  • Tearing of cervix – Can create complications in future pregnancies.
  • Scarring of uterine lining – can result in sterility.
  • Perforation of uterus
  • Sterility
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Death

Other Significant Risks:
Emotional Impact
Some women struggle with negative emotions after an abortion. This psychological response is called Post-Abortion Stress (PAS) and can occur days or even years after the abortion.  Symptoms may include:

  • Eating disorders
  • Relationship problems
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks of abortion
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

Effect on Future Pregnancy.
Uterine scarring or other injury may prevent a future pregnancy, or make it higher-risk. The risk of miscarriage is higher for those who abort their first pregnancy.

Link to Breast Cancer.
The risk of breast cancer is higher for women who had an abortion before age 18 or after age 30 (Brind, Dr. Joel, 1995, Breast Cancer Risks and Choices). For women who have had no children and have had one or more abortions, the risk of breast cancer is 50 percent higher than the normal genetic risk (National Cancer Institute, 1994).

(Source- http://afterabortion.org/1999/abortion-risks-a-list-of-major-physical-complications-related-to-abortion/)


Disclaimer: Our services are not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling, medical or pre-natal care.

Read more: Abortion Risks