Abortion is a medical procedure, and it is therefore important to make sure you are fully informed about how it works, and the risks involved. There are several types of abortions: the abortion pill, also called RU 486; and surgical abortions; a more invasive alternative. Should you have additional questions regarding abortion, we are here to help. While Hope Pregnancy Center does not perform or refer for abortions, we are here to provide you with abortion information and answer any questions you may have so that you can make the best possible choice.
Before considering abortion or any other alternative, it is first important that you take a pregnancy test. If your test shows a positive result, it is crucial that you have your pregnancy confirmed, typically via ultrasound, which Hope can provide to you at no cost.
Plan B (Morning after pill)
You take this pill shortly after having unprotected sex (generally within 72 hours).
This pill (hormone levonorgestrel) changes your cervix, making it harder for the sperm to reach the uterus and harder for the fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. If the fertilized egg has already been implanted in the uterus before you take the medication, Plan B will not work.
Abortion Pill (RU 486)
RU 486 is actually two pills, administered during two separate appointments, which in tandem cause a medical abortion. RU 486 is more effective the earlier you take it, so it may not work if you're further than 10 weeks. The first pill cuts off progesterone to the placenta, which causes the baby to die, while the second induces labor. The latter pill typically causes severe cramping, bleeding, nausea, and vomiting. Bleeding usually lasts 9 to 16 days, and may last up to 30 days. Many women still need a surgical procedures even after taking the two RU 486 pills. In the time of COVID-19, many providers are offering these pills over the internet or in a pick-up service without proper supervision. This can cause user errors, which can lead to serious side effects.
If you have only taken the first pill (mifepristone) it may be reversed, but reversals are likely ineffective after the second pill (misoprostol).
The most common type of surgical abortion is the Manual/Vacuum Aspiration method, which uses a syringe or vacuum to suck the contents of your baby from the uterine wall. Side effects include cramping, nausea, sweating, faintness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Vacuum abortions are typically only effective up to around 12 weeks, while the baby is still small enough.
Another type of surgical abortion is the Dilation and Evacuation method. This combines vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage, and forceps. In this procedure, the patient is given a sedative and a cervical injection, while forceps are used to remove larger sections of the baby. Then, a curette is used to scrape the lining of the uterus. D&E is typically done later in pregnancy, when the baby is too large to be suctioned out, and must be removed in pieces.
As with any medical procedure, abortion comes with its own set of risks. Physical risks include symptoms like bleeding, infection, cervical and uterine damage, scar tissue, sepsis, and loss of fertility. Current research suggest that immediately following an abortion, emotions may include relief, gladness, and happiness, it also suggests that worse mental health issues tend to crop up after a several years. When you visit Hope, we can provide you with evidence-based education on abortion and its associated risks. Informed consent is incredibly important, especially when a mother is in a vulnerable state.