Abortion Procedures

Abortion procedures vary according to the gestational age of the pregnancy and the doctor performing the procedure. There are two types of procedures – medical (drug-induced) and surgical. Please be advised that A Hope Center is committed to giving accurate abortion education, but does not perform abortions or refer clients to abortion facilities.
Medical Abortions
Abortion Pill (Up to 10 Weeks LMP) –  Called RU-486, Mifeprex (Mifepristone) and Misoprostol, the "abortion pill" is taken within 10 weeks following a last menstrual period in order to abort a pregnancy.3

FDA Recommendations – The abortion pill is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in early pregnancy (up to 70 days). It is important to receive an ultrasound prior to taking any abortion pill medication to ensure your health and safety in being within the FDA guidelines, and to confirm that your pregnancy is not a life-threatening tubal pregnancy. A tubal (ectopic) pregnancy would not be terminated by an abortion pill, and continue to put your health at risk.4

Abortion Pill Procedure – The procedure usually requires three office visits. RU 486 or Mifepristone pills are given to the woman who returns two days later for a second drug called Misoprostol. The combination of these drugs causes the uterus to expel the fetus. A third visit is sometimes required to confirm the pregnancy has been effectively eliminated.3

Methotrexate with Misopristol
– Methotrexate is a drug developed for use in killing cancer cells, and is sometimes used in abortion procedures. Methotrexate stops cell growth of the fetus and the Misopristol expels the fetus.5

Misopristol alone – Misopristol is a prostaglandin drug that causes the uterus to contract and expel the fetus.5

Second and Third Trimester Abortion Drugs Digoxin or Potassium Chloride – Injected into the amniotic fluid, umbilical cord, or fetal heart to avoid delivery of a live baby. The cervix is softened and opened using laminaria and/or Mifepristone. Finally, Misoprostol and/or Pitocin are used to induce labor and deliver the fetus.6

Surgical Abortions

Vacuum Aspiration Suction (Up to 13 Weeks LMP) – In this procedure, the doctor opens the cervix with a dilator (a metal rod) or laminaria (thin sticks derived from plants and inserted several hours before the procedure). The doctor inserts tubing into the uterus and connects the tubing to a suction machine. The suction pulls the fetus' body apart and out of the uterus. One variation of this procedure is called Dilation and Curettage (D&C). In this method, the doctor may use a curette, a loop-shaped knife, to scrape remaining fetal parts out of the uterus.7

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) (13 Weeks LMP and beyond) – This surgical abortion is done during the second trimester of pregnancy. Because the developing fetus doubles in size between the thirteenth and fourteenth weeks of pregnancy, the body of the fetus is too large to be broken up by suction and will not pass through the suction tubing. In this procedure, the cervix must be opened wider than in a first-trimester abortion. This is done by inserting laminaria a day or two before the abortion. Using anesthesia, the doctor proceeds with the abortion by removing fetal parts with forceps. Suction of the uterus followed by a uterine scraping with a curette may occur to ensure there are no remaining tissue or blood clots in the uterus.7

D&E after viability (24 weeks LMP and beyond) – This third-trimester abortion procedure takes two to three days. During the first two days, the cervix is dilated and medication is given for cramping. On the third day, the woman receives labor-inducing drugs. Lethal injection to the fetus may occur to stop the baby's heart before delivery. After labor begins, the abortion doctor uses ultrasound to gain access to the fetus for removal. Removal procedures vary from pulling fetal parts individually, to "intact removal." Usually, the skull is crushed to facilitate removal in either case.7