Common Abortion Procedures
Medical (Nonsurgical) Abortion
a. RU-486 - This is a drug that produces an abortion. It is a pill taken after the mother misses her period. It can be used up to the second month of pregnancy. It works by blocking progesterone, a crucial hormone during pregnancy. Without progesterone, the uterine lining does not provide food, fluid and oxygen to the developing baby. The baby cannot survive. A second drug is given which stimulates the uterus to contract and expel the dead baby.
b. Suction-Aspiration - In this method, the cervical muscle ring must be paralyzed and stretched open. The abortionist then inserts a hollow plastic tube with a knife-like edge into the uterus. The suction tears the baby's body into pieces. The placenta is cut from the uterine wall and everything is sucked into a bottle.
c. Prostaglandin Abortion - Prostaglandin is a hormone that produces labor. The baby usually dies from the trauma of delivery. If the baby is old enough, it will be born alive; this is called a "complication". To prevent this, some abortionists use ultrasound to guide them as they inject a "feticide" (a drug that kills the fetus) into the unborn baby's heart. Prostaglandin is then administered and a dead baby is delivered. This type of abortion is used in mid-term and late-term pregnancies.
Dilatation and Curettage (D&C) with Vacuum Aspiration - This is a surgical procedure generally used in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. In this method, the cervical muscle ring must be paralyzed and stretched open. The doctor first opens (dilates) the cervix and then empties the uterus with suction. After suctioning, the doctor may scrape the walls of the uterus to make sure the unborn child, placenta, and contents of the uterus have been completely removed
Dilation & Evacuation (D & E) - This type of abortion is done after the third month of pregnancy. The cervix must be dilated before the abortion. Usually laminaria (sterilized seaweed compressed into thin sticks) are inserted into the cervix. When inserted, they absorb moisture and expand, thus enlarging the cervix. Most women experience some pain, so the doctor may give you a painkiller — either locally by shots in the area of the cervix or by a general anesthetic — or a sedative (which will leave you conscious). The uterus will be scraped and the unborn child and placenta are removed. After 16 weeks, the unborn child and placenta are removed, piece-by-piece, using forceps or other instruments. This procedure will take less than an hour.
Abortion by Labor Induction (Medical Induction) This procedure is generally used after 16 weeks of a pregnancy. The procedure will generally require a hospital stay of one or more days. Medicines will be used to start labor. These medicines can be put in the vagina, injected in the uterus (womb) or given into the vein (intravenously or by IV). The medicines used cause the uterus to contract and labor to begin. Sometimes more than one medicine will be used. This procedure may take from several hours to several days. Your doctor may use instruments to scrape the uterus and make sure that the unborn child, placenta, and other contents of the uterus have been completely removed.
Dilation & Extraction (D & X) - This abortion is used for mid-term and late-term babies. From 4 to 9 months gestation. Ultrasound is used to identify how the unborn baby is facing in the womb. The doctor will dilate the cervix. The doctor will grasp the unborn child’s foot with an instrument and deliver the child except for the head. While the head is kept in the birth canal, scissors are used to make a hole in the back of the head, a tube is inserted, and suction is applied. The contents of the unborn child’s skull are suctioned out, the bones of the head collapse, and the child is delivered dead. This procedure is also referred to as partial birth abortion.