Abortion Information

 

If you think you might be pregnant, you have many choices facing you right now, and it can be overwhelming to be faced with so much all at once. You might be considering options like abortion that you haven’t previously thought about. At Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City , we're here to help you no matter what choice you make, but first there are some important things to think about if you are considering abortion.666-1980-crop

Before having an abortion, it is very important to have your pregnancy confirmed. There are many reasons that you could have missed your period or that you are experiencing other symptoms of pregnancy. It will only add to your concerns to start thinking about abortion if you have not taken a pregnancy test yet. Even if you have taken a home test, it’s wise to take another confirming test. Visit us at 304 N. Collins St., Plant City, FL 33563 or contact us at (813) 759-0886  and you will be able to meet personally with a trained peer counselor who can answer your questions and assist you as you move forward. 

If you have had a positive pregnancy test, it is vital to have an ultrasound before an abortion. An abortion procedure should only be performed on women who have a viable (capable of living) pregnancy. An ultrasound is a highly effective tool in determining the health of your pregnancy and is very important for your safety. 

Additionally, abortion procedures vary depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. An ultrasound will assist in determining the gestational age of your pregnancy and what type of abortion procedure you may be facing. Everything at the pregnancy center is confidential so your privacy will never be compromised. 

What is an abortion?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), an abortion is defined as “An intervention performed by a licensed clinician within the limits of state regulations, that is intended to terminate a suspected or known ongoing intrauterine pregnancy and that does not result in a live birth.”

What is a miscarriage?

If you’re considering abortion, you should know that as many as 25% to 31% of all pregnancies naturally miscarry. A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week and is sometimes referred to as a spontaneous abortion. Be sure to receive an ultrasound as it will determine if your pregnancy is viable (able to survive) or if you might miscarry naturally, avoiding the need for an abortion. A miscarriage is quite different from the other information about abortion that will be covered here.

What kinds of abortions are there?

Many women considering abortion are not aware of the many different abortion methods. There are medical and surgical abortions. If you’re going to make the choice to terminate your pregnancy, you should be aware of what abortion procedures are available to you based on how far along you are. You should also know what will happen during the abortion procedure and how it will affect your body.

Abortion Procedures 

 

Medication Abortion, RU-486, the Abortion Pill, Medical Abortion, Chemical Abortion[1]

You may have heard of the abortion pill referred to by different names. Even though the terms may be different, the medication is the same. The Abortion Pill is not the same as emergency contraception (i.e. Morning After Pill, Plan B, ella). Medical abortion is a procedure that uses medication to end a known pregnancy. 

Before a medication abortion, you should meet with your doctor to discuss terminating your pregnancy. You should be given a physical examination to determine whether you’re a candidate for RU-486, and you should be given an ultrasound to ensure that you really are pregnant and within the gestational dating that RU-486 can be prescribed. Unfortunately, women have been given the abortion pill when they were not even pregnant.[1]

Ending your pregnancy through the abortion pill is a three-step process.

First, you will be given a drug that will cause the death of your embryo or fetus, thus ending your pregnancy. 

Note: Some women change their mind and decide they do not want to continue the medication abortion at this point. Contact us and we will connect you with a network of caring medical professionals who can help reverse the effects of this medication in some cases. 

Second, you will be given another drug that will cause you to expel the embryo or fetus from your body. Women are usually not in their doctor’s office when they feel the effects of this drug. Some women have experienced, nausea, weakness, fever/chills, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, and dizziness.[2]

Third, about seven to fourteen days after the first drug, you should follow-up with your doctor to ensure all the contents of your uterus have been expelled. If there is anything left over, it may require a surgical abortion in some cases. This is a potentially serious condition, and this follow-up appointment is very important.

 

First-Trimester Aspiration Abortion (up to twelve or thirteen weeks of pregnancy)[3]

Depending on how far along you are in the first trimester, this procedure may be done without dilation or anesthesia, but if you are further along in your pregnancy the abortion provider may begin by using local anesthesia to numb the cervix.

After it is numbed, the cervix must be stretched open. The abortion provider inserts the dilator through the vagina and into the cervix. Once it has established a clear pathway, the abortion provider will continue by inserting progressively larger dilators into the cervix.

When the cervix has been stretched wide enough, the abortion provider suctions out the contents of the uterus. After the embryo or fetus along with the pregnancy matter has been removed, the abortion provider will inspect the cervix and other internal organs.

To ensure the procedure is complete, some providers will use sharp curettage followed by final suctioning to ensure that nothing has been left over inside the uterus.

Afterward, you most likely will be taken to a recovery room to recuperate. The recovery time after the procedure varies. Physical complications resulting from the abortion may manifest immediately or some time later.

 

Dilation & Evacuation (D&E) Second or Third Trimester (roughly thirteen weeks of pregnancy and onward)[4]

Pre-Procedure

The abortion provider begins by opening the cervix. At this stage in pregnancy, the cervix needs to be opened wider than in a first trimester abortion. To do so, the abortion provider will use dilators. For pregnancies that are early in the second trimester, dilation can take several hours or be overnight; dilation may take one to two days for pregnancies that are further along in the second trimester. Different methods exist to dilate the cervix, and the method used depends on many factors.

 

D&E Procedure

The abortion provider will begin by removing the dilators and then may use an ultrasound to locate the fetus and pregnancy matter. If it is early in the second trimester, suction aspiration may be enough to remove the pregnancy without the use of forceps. This is similar to a vacuum aspiration abortion procedure. 

After about sixteen weeks gestation, forceps are usually needed to complete the procedure. The abortion provider inserts forceps into the uterus, opens them, and begins to pull the fetus apart and out using a rotating motion. After the fetus and the contents in the uterus have been evacuated, the provider will check to make sure nothing internally has been punctured during the procedure and that the fetus as well as the pregnancy matter have been removed.

 

Fetal Demise

If the fetus has reached an age where he or she could live independently of the mother, the abortion provider may choose to inject the fetus with chemicals. Depending on the drug used, it is injected either into the amniotic sac or into the fetus’s heart or umbilical cord. The abortion provider may use ultrasound to direct the needle as it is being inserted. After the fetus has died, the provider may perform a D&E procedure to ensure nothing has been left inside the uterus.

 

Intact D&E

The more passes the forceps must make into the uterus, the more potential there is for harm. In cases when the cervix has been stretched open wide enough it is desirable for the fetus to be removed from the uterus intact. The abortion provider will insert dilators (usually laminaria) about two days in advance. Oftentimes the skull of the fetus is too big to pass through the cervical canal and must be crushed so it can be removed. The abortion provider may accomplish this through the use of forceps or by making an opening at the base of the skull through which the contents can be suctioned out. If complications arise, the abortion provider may pierce the skull with a sharp instrument and collapse it using forceps or suction. After this, the abortion provider can remove the fetus from the uterus otherwise intact. 

Many women who choose a late-term abortion do so because the fetus has been diagnosed with an abnormality. If this is the case, you have help, hope, and options. Call us so we can talk to you about all of your options.

If you are thinking about abortion, you are not alone. There are a number of options available to you that do not include abortion. As with any medical procedure, it’s important to understand what the abortion entails, side effects, possible risks, complications and alternatives. If you are ready to talk to someone about your situation, call us and we can provide you with confidential help.

What risks might I face if I have an abortion?

Risks increase as your pregnancy progresses. It’s important to understand what the risks are when making a decision.

The possible risks can be as mild as heavy vaginal bleeding to severe as death.

Trauma to the cervix can cause an incompetent or weakened cervix. This can pose problems for future pregnancies. The opening of the uterus, the cervix, is designed to open gradually over several days at the end of a pregnancy. In an abortion, the cervix is often wrenched open in a matter of minutes. The delicate muscle fibers can be damaged — damage that may go unnoticed until she is far into a later, wanted pregnancy and the muscles give way in a miscarriage.

The risk of ectopic pregnancy increases for future pregnancies. The rate of ectopic pregnancy in America rose 500% between 1970 and 1987.

There is a risk for uterine rupture with misoprostol use. This poses a risk for subsequent uterine infection.

Another infrequent yet serious complication of induced abortion is pulmonary thromboembolism or pulmonary embolism. This is a potentially fatal disease. It occurs when parts of a thrombus break loose from somewhere in the venous area, migrate, and become lodged in the pulmonary arteries. The result is an oxygen defect in the lungs and a medical emergency. Its diagnosis isn’t easy, as there are few signs that can guide the doctor.

Researchers have reported that three-five percent of woman who’ve had abortions are left sterile as a result of the operation's long-term effects, often caused by scarring of the inner lining of the uterus (Asherman syndrome).

An induced abortion can adversely affect the risk of breast cancer.

Many women grieve silently after abortion. Their sorrow is often overlooked because of unawareness or ignored by society. Many suffer depression, nightmares, and suicidal thoughts.

What now?

We are here to help. If you are thinking about an abortion at an abortion clinic, please know that you are not alone. We understand that this is a difficult choice. There are options available to you that don’t include abortion. When you are ready, contact us and we can provide you with confidential guidance and help for your future.  We can help you have a positive experience.


 

[1] Medical Abortion. Mayo Clinic Website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/medical-abortion/about/pac-20394687. Published May 14, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2020.

[1]Controversial Oklahoma City abortion doctor stripped of medical license. Oklahoma News 4 Website: https://kfor.com/news/controversial-oklahoma-city-abortion-doctor-stripped-of-medical-license/. Published January 14, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2020.

[2]“Clinical Trials Experience,” Danco Labratories, last modified March 2016, http://www.earlyoptionpill.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Prescribing-Info-and-MG_BW.pdf.

[3] Abortion (Termination of Pregnancy). Harvard University Website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/medical-tests-and-procedures/abortion-termination-of-pregnancy-a-to-z. Published January 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2020.

[4]Dilation and curettage. Mayo Clinic Website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dilation-and-curettage/about/pac-20384910. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
Questions and answers on late-term abortion. Charlotte Lozier Institute Website: https://lozierinstitute.org/questions-and-answers-on-late-term-abortion/. Published February 24, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2020.

We do not offer, recommend or refer for abortions or abortifacients, but are committed to offering accurate information about abortion procedures and risks.

The information presented on this website is intended for the general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.

The opinions and views reflected in the PCCPC communication are solely those of PCCPC and do not represent those of the Children’s Board.

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