Abortion

Considering Abortion?

Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. We want you to know you are not alone and we are here to help you know your options, listen to your concerns, and answer questions. All of our services are free. 

Please contact us to make your appointment today. You can reach us 24/7 by calling (540) 370-1800. 

Choices Women’s Center educates all clients with accurate information about pregnancy options. We do not refer to abortion providers. This information should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice between you and your physician.

Abortion Procedures

The Abortion Pill (Ru-486/Prostaglandin)—Up to 10 weeks of Pregnancy

This abortion option involves two steps of medication. The first pill is known at RU-486, or mifepristone and, according the Food and Drug Administration, should only be used up to 10 weeks estimated gestational age. If your doctor wants to prescribe medication and you are further along in your pregnancy, you may want to consider a doctor who practices according to the guidelines given by the FDA. The closer you are to 10 weeks of pregnancy, the less effective RU-486 is. You may require a surgical abortion if the drug combination fails.

This abortion option involves up to three to four visits to your doctor:

  • On the first visit, the woman gets a sonogram to ensure an intrauterine pregnancy and then given the mifepristone pill which starves the new life or embryo of nutrients by blocking progesterone.
  • After 48 hours, the woman takes misoprostol which allows her body to expel the embryo.
  • After 1-2 weeks, the woman will return, sometimes for a second sonogram, to ensure all of the components of the pregnancy were expelled.
  • Since 2012, a protocol for reversing the first abortion pill has existed. If a woman changes her mind after taking mifepristone, there is a 55-60% chance that the pill can be reversed and she can have a healthy baby.[i]

Note: The abortion pill is ineffective in an ectopic pregnancy (where the embryo implants outside the uterus) and can be dangerous if the physician is not sure you have an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency and without proper treatment can lead to infertility, internal bleeding, or death.[ii]

First-Trimester Vacuum Aspiration Abortion—Up to 13 weeks of Pregnancy

An aspiration abortion can be performed up to sixteen weeks of pregnancy depending on the provider. The doctor will choose a form of anesthesia, either local or full general anesthesia. Before 12 weeks, local anesthesia is the most commonly used type of anesthesia. In order for the doctor to remove the fetal tissue, the cervix is dilated with metal rods or laminaria (water-absorbing rods made of seaweed). The amount of dilation depends on how far along the woman is in her pregnancy. After dilation, the doctor uses either a specially designed suction catheter or vacuum aspirator to remove the fetal tissue.[iii]

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)—Up to 13 weeks

After the cervix is dilated using metal rods or laminaria (the same method used in a vacuum aspiration abortion), the physician will pass an instrument called a curettage along the uterine wall to scrape the uterus to ensure all fetal tissue is removed.

Following a surgical abortion, you will be required to go into a recovery room before someone drives you home. Complications can include excessive bleeding, infection, uterine perforation, and, in some cases, complications with future pregnancies. [iv]

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)—13 weeks and above

This abortion surgery is done for women who have pregnancies in the second trimester. By this time, the fetal weight can be a pound or greater so the cervix must be opened wider than a first trimester abortion because of the size of the growing fetus. This is done by dilating the cervix about one to two days before the procedure using the same metal rods or laminaria used in abortion procedures before 13 weeks. Because of the size of the fetus, instruments called forceps are needed to remove the growing fetus and ultrasound is needed to guide the instruments. Part by part, the fetus is extracted. To ensure that nothing is left to cause an infection, a nurse or assistant will check to make sure all parts have been removed from the uterus. Like with the D&C abortion, a curettage is used at the end of the procedure to scrape the inside of the uterus. The recovery time varies for each patient. [v]

Intact D&E (Intact Dilation and Evacuation or Partial-Birth Abortion)—After 20 weeks

In this procedure, an injection is needed to cause fetal death. This is done due to federal regulations that prohibit the death of a fetus when it is partially born (Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act). Medications used for this purpose are digoxin and potassium chloride which are injected into the amniotic fluid, the fetal umbilical cord, or into the fetal heart. During gynecology surgeries, the more times a surgeon makes passes through the cervix with a surgical instrument, the more potential for complications like bleeding, infection or perforation. For this procedure, the cervix is dilated enough to remove the intact fetus feet first. Often, the fetal skull is too large to pass through the cervix. A sharp instrument is used to make an incision at the base of the skull to provide access to the brain. Brain tissue is then suctioned out, collapsing the skull. After this, the intact fetus can be removed.[vi]

Choices Women’s Center educates all clients with accurate information about pregnancy options. We do not refer to abortion providers. This information should never substitute professional medical advice between you and your doctor.

Abortion Recovery

Emotional and Psychological Impact

After a woman’s abortion, she may feel relief because her crisis pregnancy is over and the panic associated with the fear of pregnancy is no longer in her life. Many women begin to experience negative emotions, especially if they have a history of depression or anxiety. We are here to offer support to all women after their abortions and walk with them no matter what. Here are some red flags associated with the aftermath of an abortion:

Depression– can exhibit these symptoms:

  • irritability
  • frequent crying
  • inability to focus
  • feeling tired
  • changes in appetite
  • thoughts of suicide
  • unable to enjoy activities you used to enjoy
  • doing poorly school or having poor performance at work
  • losing interest in personal hygiene
  • guilt and anger
  • worthless feelings

Guilt– can exhibit these symptoms:

  • fearing God’s judgment
  • when bad things happen in your life, assuming God is punishing you
  • nightmares involving babies
  • self-harm, excessive drug or alcohol use
  • allowing a sexual partner to abuse you
  • avoiding any triggers to the abortion event

Shame– can exhibit these symptoms:

  • intrusive thoughts of self-loathing
  • choosing self-destructive behaviors
  • fear that friends and family will learn about your abortion [vii]

Regret is when you believe that if the situation had not happened like it did, your life would be better. You are always aware of your abortion decision.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, our pregnancy center offers confidential, compassionate support designed to help people work through these feelings. You are not alone.

If you would like to make the brave decision to process your past abortion decision, we have counseling, classes, and group support.  It is hard to reach out for help, but if you want to make that step, we will support you each step of the way. It’s a tough decision to seek help but you have so much to gain.

Make an appointment today to meet with one of our compassionate counselors.

Choices Women’s Center educates all clients with accurate information about pregnancy options and post-abortion support. This information should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice between you and your physician.

References:

[i] Delgado, G., & Davenport, M. L. (2012). Progesterone use to reverse the effects of mifepristone. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 46(12), e36. https://doi.org/10.1345/aph.1R252

[ii] Research Center for Drug Evaluation (n.d.). Postmarket Drug Safety Information for Patients and Providers – Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information [WebContent]. Retrieved May 3, 2018, from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm111323.htm

[iii] Abortion Methods and Risks – SD Dept. of Health. (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2018, from https://doh.sd.gov/abortion/induced-abortion-methods-risks.aspx#First

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Coleman, P. K. (2011). Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009. The British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 199(3), 180–186. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077230

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