What do I need to know about abortion?

If you recently found yourself pregnant and are considering an abortion, it is important to have knowledge on the different types of procedures, as well as any associated risks. Choosing an abortion can be a life-changing decision, meaning that you will want to carefully consider all of the available information so that you can make an informed, knowledgeable decision.

Types of abortions

Different kinds of abortions are available based on how far along you are in your pregnancy. The two main types are medical abortion and surgical abortion.

Medical abortion

If you are in the early stages of your pregnancy, you would most likely receive a medical abortion, also known as the “abortion pill.” It isn’t one pill, it’s two. You take the first pill (mifepristone) in a doctor’s office. This drug stops a hormone called progesterone. This hormone is essential for the growth of the fetus. You take the second drug (misoprostol) on your own. This drug causes your uterus to contract and the cervix to dilate within a few hours. It will involve bleeding and cramping while your body is passing the fetus.

Surgical abortion

When you are further along in your pregnancy, you receive a surgical abortion. It’s often referred to as suction aspiration. This procedure is performed entirely in a doctor’s office. First, a surgical instrument is placed in your cervix to hold it in place so that it can be dilated or opened wider. Then, a long plastic tube connected to a suction device is inserted to suction out the fetus and placenta. The doctor may also use an instrument to scrape out the uterus to be sure they’ve removed everything. Again, expect bleeding and cramping.