If you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant, one of the options you have available to you is abortion. Abortion is a medical procedure that terminates pregnancy. If you are considering abortion, it’s important to be informed about the procedures and the risks so you can make the best and most informed decision for yourself.
Informed Decision Checklist
What do I need to know?
1. Am I Pregnant?
Pregnancy tests are not always accurate. Get your pregnancy confirmed by a medical professional. An ultrasound can tell if the baby has a heartbeat and how far along you are.
2. Do I Understand The Potential Risks?
Every medical procedure, including abortion, carries the risk of complications. You have the legal right to give fully informed consent. You also have the right to:
1. get an explanation of the abortion procedures available,
2. assess their risks and side effects, and
3. learn about other options for your pregnancy.
3. Have I Considered Alternatives to Abortion?
Abortion may seem like the best fit for your current circumstances, but learning about other options you have is a good idea. Some women who initially consider abortion are ultimately delighted to be parenting a child. Others who are not comfortable choosing abortion but are not ready to raise a child, make an adoption plan.
4. Do I Know What To Do If I Change My Mind?
Abortion is your choice – you can change your mind at any time before the procedure starts. Women have gotten off the exam table and left. Some have changed their minds after taking the first set of pills for a medical abortion. This is a decision that you will live with the rest of your life. Don’t allow anyone to pressure you.
5. Do I Know How the Clinic Handles Complications During the Procedure?
Ask if the abortion doctor has admitting privileges to a hospital nearby should you have an emergency. Make sure the clinic has a plan to provide any follow-up or emergency care, should complications arise during or after the procedure.
6. Have I Gotten Information About The Abortion Provider?
When you call to schedule your abortion, ask for the name of the doctor in charge. Find out if the doctor is licensed and board-certified. Also, find out if there are any malpractice cases or disciplinary actions against the doctor. You can check online at: bit.ly/malpractice1
7. Ask: Will I Feel Pain?
People have different levels of tolerance for physical pain. One survey of women who had local anesthesia revealed that about half experienced “moderate to severe pain” and the other half, “none to mild pain.” 153 Pain relief options available during the abortion usually include local anesthesia, sedation and sometimes, general anesthesia. 154
8. Ask: What Feelings Can I Expect After The Abortion?
Many women experience initial relief, but months and even years later, some struggle with their decision. If this is you, please call us at (309) 797-3636 and ask for Pam or Susan regarding PAS. We are trained and compassionate people, ready to help.
9. Do I Know My Rights As A Minor?
No one can legally force you to have an abortion, including your parents. 155 The decision you make must be free, voluntary, independent, and non-coerced. 156 If you are being pressured to get an abortion you don’t want, contact the police and one of our centers (309) 797-3636/ (563) 386-3737.
10. Have I Been Tested?
Have I been tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Any surgical procedure can be complicated by infection. You may be carrying an STI and not know it because they often do not have symptoms. 157 These infections can cause damage to your pelvic organs and lead to problems such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy. 158
References available at BeforeYouDecide.info
Research the Types of Abortion
Abortion is a medical procedure that ends a pregnancy. There are two types of abortion: surgical and medical (drug-induced).
Manual Vacuum Aspiration – Until about 7 weeks after last menstrual period (LMP)
This surgical abortion is done early in the pregnancy up until 7 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. A long, thin tube is inserted into the uterus. A large syringe is attachd to the tube and the embryo is suctioned out.
Suction Curettage – About 6 – 14 weeks after LMP
This is the most common surgical abortion procedure. Because the fetus 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, 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 tool 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 About 13 – 24 Weeks After 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 (called laminaria) a day or two before the abortion. Once the cervix is stretched open, the doctor pulls out the fetal parts with forceps. The fetal skull is often crushed to ease removal. A loop-shaped tool called a curette is also used to scrape out the contents of the uterus, removing any remaining tissue.
The Abortion Pill
Mifepristone, Mifeprex, RU-486, Misoprostol, Cytotec
- The FDA approves for use in women up to the 70th day after their last menstrual period.
- Abortion pill will not work in case of ectopic pregnancy (outside the uterus- usually in the fallopian tubes) *
On the first visit pills are given to cause death of the embryo. Two days later, if the abortion has not occurred, a second drug causes cramps to expel the embryo. However, there is a 1-4% failure rate, and a surgical abortion to terminate the pregnancy is needed.
* Ectopic pregnancy is potentially life threatening. Unless diagnosed early, the tube can burst, causing internal bleeding & in some cases death. At Pregnancy Resources you may have a free ultrasound to confirm that your pregnancy is inter-uterine.
FDA Approved Changes to Mifeprex
On March 30, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration released new labeling information on the Mifeprex (mifepristone/misoprostol) medical abortion protocol. Mifeprex is now approved, in a regimen with misoprostol, to end a pregnancy through 70 days gestation (70 days or less since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period).
- Because of the risk of serious complications, Mifeprex is only available through a restricted program. This program requires abortion providers to warn patients about the risks and what to do if complications happen. Women who have taken Mifeprex should seek immediate medical care for:
• Sustained fever, severe abdominal pain, prolonged heavy bleeding, or fainting.
• Abdominal pain or discomfort, or general malaise (“feeling sick,” including weakness, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, with or without fever) for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol.
• These symptoms could be a sign of serious complications.
This information replaces existing Mifeprex/mifepristone content.
Consider the Risks of Abortion
Heavy Bleeding – Some bleeding after abortion is normal. However, if the cervix is torn or the uterus is punctured, there is a severe bleeding known as hemorrhaging. When this happens, a blood transfusion may be require. Severe bleeding is also a risk with the use of the abortion pill: one in 100 women require 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 incomplete abortion). This may cause bleeding and a pelvic infection requiring antibiotics and a repeat abortion to fully empty the uterus. Infection may cause scarring of the pelvic organs.
Sepsis – Use of the abortion pill has results in the death of a number of women due to sepsis (total body infection).
Negative effects from Anesthesia – Complications from general anesthesia used during abortion surgery may result in convulsions, heart complications, and in extreme cases, death.
Damage to the Cervix – The cervix may be cut, torn, or damaged by abortion instruments. This may cause excessive bleeding requiring surgical repair.
Scarring of the Uterus Lining – 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).
Damage to Internal Organs – If the uterus is punctured or torn, there is also a risk that damage may ocur to nearby organs such as the bowel and bladder.
Death – In extreme cases, complications from abortion (excessive bleeding, infection, organ damage from a perforated uterus, and adverse reactions to anesthesia) may lead to death. This complication is rare.
Post Abortion Stress – psychological, emotional stress responses with wide ranging symptoms
Remember, no one can make this decision for you, and no one should attempt to pressure you one way or another. It is important to seek counsel from people you trust, but in the end, what you do is your decision. Pregnancy Resources is here to provide you with the information you need to make that decision. Schedule an appointment today by calling us at 563.386.3737 or 309.797.3636.You may see this unplanned pregnancy as a major obstacle to your life plan. Be encouraged by the many women who in the same situation, found the resources at our Centers to make positive choices & realize their dreams. Remember, no one else can legally force you into a decision. If you are getting pressure from parents or the father of the baby, you have legal rights to make your own informed choice. Explain your feelings & try to get them involved in the counsel to explore your positive options. Before you decide you deserve to know the facts, & the law gives you the right to be fully informed concerning abortion procedures.
Pregnancy Resources does not offer abortion services or abortion referrals.
Questions about Abortion
How much does an abortion cost?
The price of an abortion can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand. This range is based upon a number of factors, including stage of pregnancy, type of abortion procedure, geographical region and choice of anesthesia.
Be cautious of abortion providers who seek to collect nonrefundable fees before they offer counseling, or those who don’t give you an opportunity to ask questions and fully understand the risks involved.
If you have questions about abortion, please contact us. We will listen to your concerns, share the facts about abortion, and help you explore all of your options.
NOTE: We provide accurate medically-documented information about all pregnancy options. However, we do not offer or refer for abortion services.
Any other questions?
CONTACT US TO GET YOUR ANSWERS