If you think you are pregnant and you are considering abortion, make sure to get the facts first. Be educated and informed. At ANH, after taking a pregnancy test, our client advocate will discuss the procedures with you for your stage of pregnancy as well as the risks involved.
Methods of Abortion
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 fetus. Two days later, if the abortion has not occurred, she is given a second drug which causes cramps to expel the fetus. 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 fetus 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 last menstrual period (LMP)
This surgical abortion is done early in the pregnancy until 7 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. A long, thin tube is inserted into the uterus. A large syringe is attached to the tube and the fetus is suctioned out.
Suction Curettage: between 6 to 14 weeks after last menstrual period (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. (The doctor may refer to the fetus and fetal parts as the “products of conception.”).
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): between 13 to 24 weeks after last menstrual period (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 numerous 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.
Dilation and Extraction (D&X) (partial-birth abortion): from 20 weeks after last menstrual period (LMP) to full-term
This procedure takes three days. During the first two days, the cervix is stretched open using thin rods made of seaweed, and medication is given for pain. On the third day, the abortion doctor uses ultrasound to locate the legs of the fetus. Grasping a leg with forceps, the doctor delivers the fetus up to the head. Next, scissors are inserted into the base of the skull to create an opening. A suction catheter is placed into the opening to remove the brain. The skull collapses and the fetus is removed. Our center offers peer counseling and accurate information about all pregnancy options; however we do not refer for or perform abortion services.
Post Abortions & Miscarriages
Pregnancy loss is an experience involving grief and pain. Such a loss, whatever the cause, miscarriage, still birth, infertility or an abortion is an ordeal which should not be ignored or denied. A New Hope provides resources to recovery to those struggling with healing through peer-counseling. For those who took part in their loss through elective abortion, the effects can be called Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome.
Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PAS) is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. The process of making an abortion choice, experiencing the procedure and living with the grief, pain and regret is certainly, at its very core, traumatic. As with any trauma, individuals often try to “forget” the ordeal and deny or ignore any pain that may result.
ANH provides resources to aid in the after-abortion process
The symptoms of post abortion syndrome will not necessarily appear at the same time, nor is it likely that any woman will experience the entire list. Some may occur immediately after an abortion and others much later. If you can identify with more than two of the symptoms below, it could be that you are experiencing post-abortion syndrome:
- Psychological “numbing”
- Depression and thoughts of suicide
- Sad mood
- Sudden and uncontrollable crying episodes
- Deterioration of self-concept
- Reduced motivation
- Disruption in interpersonal relationships
- Thoughts of suicide
- Anniversary syndrome
- Re-experiencing the abortion
- Preoccupation with becoming pregnant again
- Anxiety over fertility and childbearing issues
- Interruption of the bonding process with present and/or future children
- Survival guilt
- Development of eating disorders
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Other self-punishing or self-degrading behaviors