Abortion terms & procedures

*The following information is very direct and blunt. It is intended for teenage and older audiences. There are several different types of abortions.  Here is some basic information about terms and procedures related to abortion. (Don’t worry. There are no pictures & nothing is visually graphic. Most of the following information was obtained from webmd.com)

Emergency contraception (the morning after pill, plan B, Ella) These are pills that are taken within 5 days of unprotected sex. It is basically a very high concentration of the hormones that are found in birth control pills.  Depending on where a girl is in her cycle and how soon the pills are taken after intercourse, the pills may stop the ovaries from releasing an egg, stop the egg from passing through the fallopian tubes to be fertilized, or if the egg has already been fertilized, it may prevent the egg from implanting in the uterus. In the last case, that means that a fertilized egg which would have developed into a baby is prevented from implanting and dies.  Deep vein thrombosis (blood clotting) has been reported as a side effect of emergency contraception (EC) It is also important to note that the hormones in birth control pills have been linked to higher risk of migraines, stroke, breast cancer, cervical cancer and liver cancer. There have not been sufficient studies to determine what kinds of risks EC may pose to girls, especially if they are young or if they take EC repeatedly. ( Another form of EC is a copper IUD. This is much less commonly used because it must be inserted by a doctor.)

Medical abortion- This type of abortion is typically performed until 9 weeks of pregnancy. The woman usually takes a pill at a doctor’s office or abortion clinic and is given another pill to take several days later at home.  With the 2 pill version, the first pill terminates the life of the developing baby, typically by separating the placenta (the baby’s lifeline and source of food) from the uterine wall. The second pill causes the baby and the embryonic sac to be passed through the body.  Depending on how far along the pregnancy is, the woman may see what looks like a “blob” or she may actually see a tiny, recognizable body in the contents of what is passed.  A repeat doctor’s visit is required to ensure that there is nothing left inside the woman’s body, as that can cause infection. (an untreated infection of this type can cause death or lead to an inability to have future children)

An ultrasound should be performed prior to administration of the drugs, or there will be added risks to this type of abortion procedure.  Without an ultrasound, there is no way to determine whether or not it is a tubal pregnancy. If it is a tubal pregnancy, the abortion will not work. In this case, the tubal pregnancy will continue undetected and the woman runs the risk of having her fallopian tube rupture, which can be life threatening. Secondly, an ultrasound provides a more accurate determination of gestational age. The farther along the pregnancy is, the higher the risks to the woman.

Here are the most commonly used medical abortion drugs, including a medical description of what they do and potential risks/side-effects. *Note:there have been deaths associated with medical abortion drugs.

Misoprostol, Mifepristone & Misoprostol, Methotrexate & Misoprostol.  Sometimes medical abortions are incomplete or unsuccessful. In those cases, a surgical abortion will also be required to complete the abortion

Find more information about the risks of the abortion pill at http://abortionpillrisks.org/

Read Abby’s story of her experience with medical abortion, “Planned Parenthood kept me in the dark on my abortion”

And watch this: The Abortion Pill: Fact, Not Opinion

Surgical abortion- There are 2 main types of surgical abortions: vacuum aspiration, and dilation & cutterage (D&C). These types of abortions are typically done from 5-15 weeks gestation. Both procedures require local anesthetics and frequently sedation. Even while sedated, women may vividly recall the experience and feel strong discomfort or pain. During both procedures,the cervix is artificially dilated and the (still living) developing baby is literally ripped into pieces and removed from the uterus.  In the first procedure this is accomplished with a long,  skinny vacuum tube that sucks pieces out of the uterus.  The second type uses sharp, knife like instruments to cut and remove pieces. Depending on the size of the developing baby, the skull may first need to be crushed with an instrument before it can be removed. All of the pieces are then usually reassembled to ensure that no body parts are left behind. If anything is left behind it can cause a serious, life threatening infection.

Abortion doctors and some of the medical community deem these procedures as “simple” and “safe”,  indicating that there may be “minor complications” such as an infection or damage to the uterus or cervix.  While these injuries may sometimes heal or be fairly easy to repair, they can become very serious if not properly cared for.  Women are typically sent home very quickly after surgical abortions, and they tend to be hesitant to visit an ER if they think something is wrong.  For this and other reasons,  the statistics on abortion complications are very likely significantly higher than what is reported.  Secondly, when women delay going to an ER due to embarrassment or due to an attempt to keep the abortion a secret, a “minor” complication can very quickly turn in to a major problem.

Many times you will hear abortion procedures described as removing  the “contents of the uterus” or the “products of conception” or even “tissue”   This word choice deliberately dehumanizes and minimizes what the procedure actually does in order to make it easier to accept.    Even at 5 weeks, the heart is beating and the internal organs are developing. By 15 weeks, while still too small to survive outside the womb, the tiny baby is moving around, making facial expressions and even sucking his/her thumb.  It is true that many women do only suffer what are referred to as mild physical side effects from an abortion.. pain, nausea, dizziness, cramping, bleeding etc. However, after the physical side effects have diminished, there are frequently long lasting emotional & mental consequences. The stories of real  women, on this site and from other post abortion sites like Silent No More, indicate that for many women, the emotional consequences of an abortion can last for years..even a lifetime.

Abortion Laws

Find more information about Arizona’s most recent abortion laws.  Abortion Consent Act Understanding the Arizona Abortion Lawsuit Puzzle

Abortion Laws by state

Abortion -Breast Cancer Link

There has been much debate over the connection between abortion and breast cancer. There have been several studies and journal articles which assert that induced abortion increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.  The arguments dismissing the abortion studies are actually remarkably similar to the arguments from several decades ago which dismissed the  link between tobacco and cancer.

Read more information

Studies say pill, abortion increase breast cancer risk (written by an MD)


True Stories

The following real life stories tell of women having difficulty moving past their decision to abort.

Pam- “Within weeks after separating from my husband, I began dating my boss…….A couple of months later I found out I was pregnant…”

Rachel - “The first time I had sex, I became pregnant.  I was extremely scared of what my parents would say, what they would do, and…what I would do.  I was beyond petrified”

Julie- The shame and guilt and regret from my abortion were still buried deep inside, even after almost 40 years had passed….