Abortion Information

What you need to know

The Methods of Abortion

Suction Curettage:
between 6 to 14 weeks after LMP

This is the most common surgical abortion procedure. The abortion provider generally dilates (stretches open) the cervix using metal rods. Opening the cervix may be painful, so local anesthesia is typically used. After the cervix is stretched open, the provider inserts a firm plastic tube into the uterus which is connected to a suction machine. The suction pulls the fetus’ body apart and out of the uterus. The provider may also use a loop-shaped instrument called a curette to scrape the fetal parts out of the uterus. (Fetal parts may be referred to as “products of conception.”).

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E):
between 13 to 24 weeks from 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 laminaria (seaweed stick or rod) into the cervix a day or two before the abortion. Once the cervix is stretched open the provider 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.

Morning After Pill (Plan B)
Before taking the Morning After Pill, you should understand what it is, what it could mean to your health and how it works. Call for an appointment and one of our staff will be happy to discuss it with you and advise you on your options.

What is it?

The “morning after pill” is a large dose of oral contraceptive. Known as Plan B, the pill is actually 2 tablets, one taken within 72 hours of intercourse and the second 12 hours later. It is NOT the same as RU-486.

How does it work?

Plan B is believed to act as an emergency contraceptive principally by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In addition, it may inhibit implantation. It is not effective once the process of implantation has begun.

Things to consider:

Emergency contraception is not effective if a woman is already pregnant.
Plan B does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The most common side effects in the Plan B clinical trial were nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and menstrual changes.
The manufacturer warns that Plan B is not recommended for routine use as a contraceptive.
Source: Manufacturer’s Prescribing Information for Plan B (Levonorgestrel) tablets, 0.75 mg. Mfg. by Gedeon Richter, Ltd., Budapest, Hungary for Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Pomona, NY 10970. Revised Feb 2004. BR-038 / 21000382503

RU486/Medical Abortion
Before taking RU486, you should understand what it is, what it could mean to your health and how it works. Call for an appointment and one of our staff will be happy to discuss it with you, verify a positive pregnancy test with a first trimester ultrasound, and advise you on your options.

What is it?

RU-486, also known as “the abortion pill”, is actually a combination of two drugs-mifipristone and misoprostol-that cause early abortion. It is indicated for the medical termination of an intrauterine pregnancy of up to 7 weeks from LMP. It is NOT the same as the “morning after pill”.

How does it work?

The first pill, mifepristone, is taken orally and blocks the hormone progesterone needed to maintain the pregnancy. The second pill, misoprostol, is inserted into the vagina 24 to 72 hours later, causing the uterus to contract and expel the placenta and embryo.

Things to Consider

An RU-486 abortion requires 3 visits to a health care provider.

Most medical abortions using mifepristone are completed within 2 weeks, but some can take up to 3 or even 4 weeks.
Side effects include heavy bleeding, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramping.
If this method fails, a surgical abortion will be required.
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, “Issue Update: Mifepristone: An Early Abortion Option,” July 2001. Mifeprex® Medication Guide, Danco Laboratories, LLC, revised 7/19/05

Abortion is not just a simple procedure; it may involve several potential risks. Abortion has been associated with preterm birth in future pregnancies, and with possible emotional, psychological, and spiritual difficulties. The risk of abortion is greater in the second trimester. Please contact our center to help you make an informed decision.