Abortion is a safe and effective medical procedure that ends a pregnancy.
There are two types of abortion available – the abortion pill and in-clinic abortion.
The Abortion Pill
The abortion pill, also known as “medication abortion,” is a safe way to end an early pregnancy.
It involves taking two different medicines: mifepristone and misoprostol. Your health provider will let you know when and how to take these medicines. You may also get some antibiotics to help prevent infection.
Having a medication abortion feels like having a really heavy, crampy period.
- Allows abortions to be done at home
- Can be used early in pregnancy
- Does not require surgery
After taking the medications, a person will need to schedule a follow-up appointment to confirm that the abortion was complete. This type of abortion usually works, but if it doesn’t, it is possible to take more medicine or have an in-clinic abortion.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a medication abortion up to 77 days (11 weeks) after the first day of your last period. If it has been 78 days or more since the first day of your last period, you can have an in-clinic abortion.
An in-clinic abortion is a safe way to end a pregnancy. It involves gently opening the cervix (the opening of the uterus) and emptying the uterus of any pregnancy tissues.
- Is relatively quick
- Can be done early or later in pregnancy
- Tends to result in less bleeding afterward
Also, if everything goes as planned, no follow-up is needed.
Having an in-clinic abortion feels different for everyone. For most people, it feels like strong period cramps. Your health providers will help make your abortion as comfortable as possible. You’ll get pain and numbing medications that will make it hurt less.
There are two main types of in-clinic abortion procedures: suction abortion and dilation and evacuation.
Suction abortion is the most common type of in-clinic abortion. It uses gentle suction to empty the uterus and takes only about 5-10 minutes. Suction abortion is usually used until about 14-16 weeks after your last period.
Dilation and evacuation
Dilation and evacuation uses suction and medical tools to end a pregnancy. It only takes about 10-20 minutes. This type of procedure can be used later in pregnancy than a suction abortion – usually if it has been 16 weeks or longer since your last period.
Dilation and evacuation often involves anesthesia, which puts you to sleep. This means you will likely not be awake during the procedure and won’t feel any pain.
The decision to have an abortion is a personal choice that involves many factors. The right option for you depends on how far along your pregnancy is, your personal preferences, and your access to abortion.
Learn more about abortion access here:
Stephanie Paz is a Tigua Indian of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The University of Texas at El Paso and is working towards a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Promotion from New Mexico State University.