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Types of Abortion Procedures

When considering an abortion, it’s important that you have all the information available to make an informed decision.

There are many types of abortion, and often, they depend on how far along the pregnancy is.

Below you will find a list and brief description of the different types of abortion.

*Information presented on this page was taken from www.WomansRightToKnow.org – a service of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Early Non-Surgical (Medical) Abortion
Performed in weeks 2 to 10 of pregnancy

  • A drug is given to stop the development of the pregnancy.
  • The use of this drug may cause cramping, pelvic pain or bleeding. Often women will pass clots, tissue, and then the unborn child within hours or days.
  • For a full list of possible side effects and risks, see our Abortion Risks page.

Vacuum Aspiration
Performed in weeks 2 to 12 of pregnancy

  • Requires a local anesthetic injected into or near the cervix.
  • The cervix is then stretched open, allowing a tube to be inserted.  The unborn child and placenta are then suctioned out.
  • Occasionally, this is followed by a procedure to scrape the walls of the uterus, making sure it has been completely emptied of the unborn child and placenta.
  • For a full list of possible side effects and risks, see our Abortion Risks

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
Performed in weeks 13 to 21/22 of pregnancy

  • Sponge-like pieces of material are placed into the cervix, slowly opening the cervix over a period of several hours or overnight.
  • The mother may be given intravenous medications to help with pain and prevent infection.
  • A general anesthesia is then given to the mother, and the unborn child and placenta are removed with forceps and suction curettage.   Occasionally, it is necessary to dismember the unborn child.
  • For a full list of possible side effects and risks, see our Abortion Risks page.

Labor Induction
Performed in weeks 13 to 21/22 of pregnancy

  • This procedure may require a hospital stay.
  • Drugs are given to the mother to terminate the pregnancy and to begin labor (usually starts in 2-4 hours).
  • In the event that the placenta is not completely removed during labor, the cervix must be opened and a doctor will perform suction curettage.
  • For a full list of possible side effects and risks, see our Abortion Risks page.

Dilation and Extraction (D&X)
Performed in weeks 13 to 21/22 of pregnancy

  • Often referred to as a partial birth abortion.  This type of abortion is illegal except when necessary to save the life of the mother.
  • This is always performed in a hospital, and can be done in rare cases, after 16 weeks.
  • The doctor opens the cervix, grasps the unborn child’s foot with an instrument and delivers the child completely, with the exception of the head.  An incision is made in the back of the child’s head, and a suction tube is inserted.  The child’s skull is fully suctioned out, allowing the head to collapse.  The child is then delivered dead.
  • For a full list of possible side effects and risks, see our Abortion Risks page.

Labor Induction
Performed in weeks 22 to 38 of pregnancy

  • This type of abortion is never performed in a clinic setting, as it may require a hospital stay.
  • Drugs are given to the mother to terminate the pregnancy and to begin labor (usually starts in 2-4 hours).
  • In the event that the placenta is not completely removed during labor, the cervix must be opened and a doctor will perform suction curettage.
  • Labor and delivery are very similar to childbirth, with the duration depending upon the size of the unborn child (along with the condition of the uterus).
  • It may be necessary for instruments to be used to scrape the placenta to remove all traces of the unborn child and placenta.
  • The further along in the pregnancy, the greater the chances of the delivered child living.  If the baby is removed alive, the doctor is required by law to provide care and treatment to it as they would any other baby born under similar circumstances.
  • For a full list of possible side effects and risks, see our Abortion Risks page.

Hysterotomy (similar to a C-Section)
Performed in weeks 22 to 38 of pregnancy

  • This type of abortion is never performed in a clinic setting, as it requires a hospital stay.  A hysterotomy is performed when a labor induction fails or is not possible.
  • This is the removal of an unborn child by cutting open the abdomen and uterus, and killing the unborn child prior to removal.
  • Anesthetic is given to the woman to remove the pain of surgery.
  • For a full list of possible side effects and risks, see our Abortion Risks page.

*Information presented on this page was taken from www.WomansRightToKnow.org – a service of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

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Let us provide you with a free pregnancy test, speak with you about your concerns and give you information so you can make a fully informed decision about whether having an abortion is right for you.

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