If you think you might be pregnant, you have many options and things to consider, maybe even things you hadn’t considered before such as abortion. We’ll help you to be equipped on all of your options so that you can make your best informed decision. You are important and you’re worth taking the time to get solid information.
Start first with having your pregnancy confirmed. You may have missed your period or be experiencing symptoms of pregnancy for a reason other than actually being pregnant. So, first things first – get a lab-grade pregnancy test. Even if you have taken a home test, it’s wise to take another confirming test. We can help with a no-cost pregnancy test and you’ll be able to meet with one of our trained staff members who can help you interpret the results of your pregnancy test and assist you in your next step.
If your pregnancy test is positive, it is critical to have an ultrasound before having 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 location of your pregnancy and is very important for your safety.
It is also important that you know how far along you are in your pregnancy before scheduling or undergoing an abortion. Procedures available to you in terminating your pregnancy change based on how far along you are in your pregnancy. An ultrasound, available at no-cost at Compassion (based on the assessment of our medical team), will help in determining the gestational age of your pregnancy and help our team to explain what type of abortion procedure you may be facing. We keep all of your information confidential so you can ask questions and get answers knowing that it will be a private conversation.
The Abortion Pill, also known as RU-486 or medication abortion, is an early abortion method that utilizes two different medications (Mifepristone and Misoprostol) to end a pregnancy. The first drug (Mifepristone) blocks the hormone progesterone which is needed for the pregnancy to continue. The second drug (Misoprostol) is taken 24-48 hours later and causes the uterus to contract to expel the embryo and other uterine contents.
It is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use in women with pregnancies up to 70 days (10 weeks) from the start of their last menstrual period. Before a medication abortion, you should be given a physical examination by a physician to determine whether you are a candidate for RU-486, and you should be given an ultrasound to determine viability of your pregnancy and that you are within the gestational dating that RU-486 can be prescribed.
The physical risks and side effects of using these medications vary from woman to woman, and can include mild to severe abdominal pain, cramping, hemorrhaging, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, fever, chills, and death.
It is critical that follow up with a physician occurs 7-14 days after taking the first drug to ensure that all of the contents of your uterus have been expelled. If there is anything remaining inside the uterus, it may require a surgical abortion in some cases. This is a potentially serious condition, and this follow up appointment is very important.
It is important to note that the FDA has approved a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS, also called a “black box warning”) for RU-486, meaning this medication carries enough serious safety concerns that the FDA requires that use of the medication’s benefits outweigh the risks of using it. It must be ordered, prescribed, and dispensed by or under the supervision of a healthcare provider who prescribes and who meets certain qualifications.
To learn more about medication abortion, determine your pregnancy’s viability and discuss your options, schedule a free and confidential appointment.
Vacuum Aspiration Abortion (First Trimester – up to approx. 13 weeks LMP)
This surgical abortion procedure is used throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. This procedure is performed by opening the cervix (the opening to the uterus) using Laminaria inserted up to a day before the procedure and/or metal dilating rods of increasing diameter inserted into the cervical os and then removed to assist with stretching the cervix open. A local anesthetic is commonly administered into the cervix prior to the procedure to assist with the discomfort of this process. A suction catheter is then advanced through the cervix and into the uterus. The suction catheter is attached to an electric or manual suction device which is used to suction out the pregnancy and other uterine contents. A curette, which is a sharp metal spoon or loop shaped surgical instrument, is used to scrape any remaining fetal parts or tissues out of the uterus. The removed fetal parts and tissue are then examined to verify completeness of the abortion.
Dilation and Evacuation Abortion (Second Trimester – 13 weeks LMP and up)
This surgical abortion procedure is used throughout the second trimester of a pregnancy. The procedure is performed by opening the cervix (the opening to the uterus) using Laminaria and or/ metal dilating rods of increasing diameter that are inserted into the cervical os and then removed to assist with stretching the cervix open. A local anesthetic is commonly administered into the cervix prior to the procedure to assist with the discomfort of this process. The cervix must be opened much wider for a second trimester abortion, as the fetus is larger in size. Once the amniotic sac is punctured and the fluid surrounding /protecting the fetus has been drained, surgical forceps are then used to grip fetal parts and remove them through the cervix. This is repeated until all of the fetal parts have been removed. A curette, which is a sharp metal spoon or loop shaped surgical instrument, is then used to scrape and remaining tissue or blood clots from the uterus.
The physical risks of both first and second trimester abortions can include: incomplete abortion, infection, heavy bleeding/hemorrhaging, puncturing or tearing the wall of the uterus, injury to the cervix and death.
Dilation and Evacuation Abortion after Viability (23 weeks LMP and up)
This abortion procedure typically takes 2-3 days and is associated with increased risk to the life and health of the mother. A day or two before the abortion is performed; the cervix is prepared with osmotic and/or pharmacologic dilators (Laminaria) to open the cervix. About the same time, a dose of potassium chloride or digoxin is injected into the heart or head of the unborn child in order to avoid the delivery of a fetus who may survive. On the day of the procedure, if further cervical dilation is needed, metal dilating rods of increasing size are inserted and then removed just prior to the procedure. The procedure uses the same technique as the second trimester D&E, dismemberment using forceps (grasping and pulling off limbs with forceps for removal). The brain is usually then removed by suction and the skull crushed for removal. Removed fetal parts are accounted for in order to reduce the chance that anything is left behind to cause complications. The ‘Intact D&E’ is an alternate abortion procedure that pulls the fetus out legs first, and then crushes the skull in order to remove the fetus in one piece.
The physical risks associated with an abortion after viability can include: anesthesia complications, hemorrhaging, emboli, infection, damage to reproductive and abdominal organs, and death.
To learn more about surgical abortion, determine your pregnancy’s viability and discuss your options, schedule a free and confidential appointment.
Before You Decide ed. 3: Care Net pgs. 15-20
FDA.gov: Mifeprex (Mifepristone) Information (2/5/18) Website: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/mifeprex-mifepristone-information
Michigan.gov/MDHHS: Medical Abortion Website: https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-73971_4909_6437_19077-46287–,00.html
Michigan.gov/MDHHS: Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) Website: https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-73971_4909_6437_19077-46298–,00.html
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