If you are considering abortion as an option, make an appointment to confirm your pregnancy.
We offer pregnancy tests and limited ultrasounds, so that that you will know if you are really pregnant and how far along you are. Many pregnancies end in natural miscarriage and some are ectopic. An ectopic pregnancy is located outside of the uterus and can be life-threatening to the mother. This information is important in considering abortion options and in protecting your health.
Depending on how far along you are, the methods of abortion vary. We can provide you with information about the procedures and risks involved with each method and about your options so that you can make an informed choice. Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be overwhelming and confusing. We are here to support you.
All of our services are free and your information is kept confidential. We do not perform or refer for abortions.
FAQs About Abortion
What do I need to know about abortion? . . .
- There are various types of abortions depending on how far along the pregnancy has developed.
- An ultrasound is needed to determine how far along the pregnancy is and if it’s viable (progressing) or possibly a miscarriage. An ultrasound can also rule out an ectopic pregnancy which can be dangerous to the woman.
- There are known risks to having an abortion
- If you have an active sexually transmitted infection, it would be important to have that treated first before having an abortion. We can test for the two most common bacterial infections: gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Why do I need an ultrasound? . . .
Ultrasound exams also answer some very important questions you may not have considered before. Questions like “Is the pregnancy viable?” need to be answered before you pursue an abortion. An ultrasound will verify that the baby has a heartbeat and is developing inside the uterus. This is important to know. Many early pregnancies (about 25%) end in miscarriage.
Life-threatening ectopic pregnancies happen when the fertilized egg doesn’t make it all the way to the uterus. So, the baby starts to grow in the wrong place in your body. This is a condition that requires immediate medical attention and ultrasound can confirm whether this is happening.
An ultrasound can verify whether your pregnancy is in trouble. There is no reason to pursue abortion and submit yourself to abortion’s potential risks if the fetus has no heartbeat or your pregnancy is not developing normally.
What are the risks associated with abortion? . . .
Getting complete information on the risks associated with having an abortion is limited due to the lack of reporting and record keeping linking abortions to the complications. Some women may have an abortion and not suffer any complications. However, if complications do arise, they can be significant. Available information reports the following potential complications:
- Heavy bleeding requiring transfusion
- Infection requiring antibiotics. Potential scarring from infection may interfere with future pregnancies.
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia which may be mild to severe and in extreme cases lead to death.
- Damage to organs leading to the need for surgical repair and or scarring. This may interfere with future pregnancies.
- Rh sensitization: all women undergoing an abortion should have their blood type tested to know if she is Rh negative. If she is and the pregnancy is 7 weeks or more from her last menstrual period, she must receive a Rhogam shot to prevent her body from making antibodies as this could cause serious problems with a future pregnancy.
- Death: the risk of death from complications of an abortion is extremely low in the first 8 weeks but increases as the pregnancy progresses. Death can occur from bleeding, infection, a punctured uterus or adverse reaction to anesthesia.
- Psychological and emotional: initially after an abortion, many women feel relief that the crisis of the pregnancy is over. However, for many women a different crisis can emerge. Women have reported the following: varying degrees of depression including suicidal thoughts, anxiety, anger, grief, destructive behavior, guilt, eating disorders, and difficulty bonding with partner or children.
Types of Abortions
Medical Abortion (Abortion Pill) . . .
The FDA has approved a medication called Mifeprex (generic is mifepristone also called RU-486) to be used up to 49 days after the last menstrual period. However, it is commonly used outside of this recommendation up to 63 days. The further along the pregnancy becomes, the greater the possibility this type of abortion will not be complete. In that case, a surgical abortion will need to be done. A second medication is given 2 days after the Mifeprex if the abortion has not occurred and this is called misoprostol. This will cause the uterus to expel the embryo. There are other medications sometimes used to induce an abortion and these are considered “off label” because they are not approved by the FDA for that use. Be sure you are well informed about any medications that you choose to take. There are potential side effects to these medications that you should know. If you have taken Mifeprex and experience any of the following symptoms you should be seen by a doctor immediately:
- Heavy bleeding: soaking a pad in an hour for 2 hours
- Abdominal pain or generally feeling sick including vomiting, weakness or diarrhea
- Fever of 100.4 F or greater
Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) . . .
Typically used 4-7 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP). A long thin tube is inserted into the uterus and the embryo and contents of the uterus are suctioned out.
Dilation and Curettage (D&C) . . .
This procedure is used up to approximately 14 weeks from LMP. The opening to the uterus (cervix) will need to be dilated in order to get the fetus out. This can be done to some extent if needed the day before the procedure using special seaweed inserted into the cervix. The day of the procedure, the cervix will be dilated further using metal rods of increasing size to stretch the cervix open. This can be painful so typically anesthesia will be used. The suction tube is then inserted to suction apart the fetus as well as a scraping type instrument called a curettage to assist with removing any remaining parts of the fetus.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) . . .
Typically used after 14 weeks. Since the fetus is much larger, the cervix will need more dilation. A day or two before the procedure medications may be given orally or inserted into the cervix as mentioned above to begin the dilation. The day of the procedure the cervix will be dilated more with instruments. Depending on the size of the fetus, forceps may be used to pull the fetus apart and out of the uterus along with the curettage and the suction to remove all the parts. It is important that all parts are removed, as anything remaining can cause an infection.