Before you decide, know the facts.
Facing an unplanned pregnancy is hard. Fear, confusion, and anger are just some of the feelings that you may be experiencing. Before you decide, you deserve to know the facts. The law gives you the right to be fully informed about this important decision.
REMEMBER! No one can force you to have an abortion, no matter what!
Abortion is not just a simple medical procedure. It is a life-changing event and most women who struggle with past abortions say they wish they had been told all of the facts about abortion.
You may see this unplanned pregnancy as a major roadblock in your life. Thankfully, there are other routes that can get you back on track. There is help and there are resources to make positive choices and realize your dreams.
Explore your options! You have the legal right to choose the outcome of your pregnancy. But real empowerment comes when you find the strength and resources necessary to make your best choice.
Choosing to continue your pregnancy and to parent is very challenging. But with the support of caring people, parenting classes, and other resources, many women find the help they need to make this choice.
Is adoption an option? You may decide to make an adoption plan for your child. Each year, thousands of women in America make this choice. This loving decision is often made by women who first thought abortion was their only way out.
Facing an unplanned pregnancy can seem overwhelming. This is why knowing where to go for help is important. Talk to someone you can trust, your partner, your parents, a pastor, a priest, or perhaps a good friend. The caring people here at Care Net are available to help.
There are two main types of abortion in the United States:
Medical abortions use drugs, instead of surgical instruments, to end a pregnancy. Early Medical Abortion – Up to 10 weeks from the last menstrual period (LMP) “The Abortion Pill” (mifepristone plus misoprostol) is the most common form of medical abortion. It was approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for use in women up to 10 weeks after LMP.11 It is even used beyond 10 weeks LMP, despite an increasing failure rate.12, 13, 14 It is done by taking a series of pills that disrupt the embryo’s attachment to the uterus, and cause uterine cramps which push the embryo out.15 Things to consider:16
- Bleeding can be heavy and lasts an average of 9-16 days.
- One woman in 100 need a surgical scraping to stop the bleeding.
- Pregnancies sometimes fail to abort, and this risk increases as pregnancy advances.
- For pregnancies 8 weeks LMP and beyond, identifiable parts may be seen.17
- By 10 weeks LMP, the developing baby is over one inch in length with clearly recognizable arms, legs, hands, and feet.18
- Methotrexate is FDA-approved for treating certain cancers and rheumatoid arthritis, but is used off-label to treat ectopic pregnancies and to induce abortion.19,20 Given by mouth or injection, it works by stopping cell growth, resulting in the embryo’s death.
Medical Methods for Induced Abortion21,22 – 2nd and 3rd Trimester. This procedure induces abortion by using drugs to cause labor and delivery of the fetus and placenta. Drugs may be injected into the fetus or the amniotic fluid to stop the baby’s heart before starting the procedure to avoid a live birth. There is a risk of heavy bleeding, and the placenta may need to be surgically removed.
Surgical abortions are done by opening the cervix and passing instruments into the uterus to suction, grasp, pull, and scrape the pregnancy out. The exact procedure is determined by the baby’s level of growth.
Aspiration/Suction23,24 – Up to 13 weeks LMP. Most early surgical abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia is typically offered to reduce pain. The abortion involves opening the cervix, passing a tube inside the uterus, and attaching it to suction device which pulls the embryo out.
Dilation and Evacuation25,26 (D&E) – 13 weeks LMP and up. Most second trimester abortions are performed using this method. Local anesthesia, oral, or intravenous pain medications and sedation are commonly used. Besides the need to open the cervix much wider, the main difference between this procedure and a first trimester abortion is the use of forceps to grasp fetal parts and remove the baby in pieces. D&E is associated with a much higher risk of complications compared to a first trimester surgical abortion.
D&E After Viability27-29 – 24 weeks LMP and up. This procedure typically takes 2–3 days and is associated with increased risk to the life and health of the mother. General anesthesia is usually recommended, if available. Drugs may be injected into the fetus or the amniotic fluid to stop the baby’s heart before starting the procedure. The cervix is opened wide, the amniotic sac is broken, and forceps are used to dismember the fetus. The “Intact D&E” pulls the fetus out legs first, then crushes the skull in order to remove the fetus in one piece.
IMMEDIATE RISKS OF ABORTION
Some side effects may occur with induced abortion. These include abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In most abortions, no serious complications occur. However, complications may happen in as many as 1 out of every 100 early abortions and in about 1 out of every 50 later abortions. Such complications may include:
Heavy Bleeding – Some bleeding after abortion is normal. There is, however, a risk of hemorrhage, especially if the uterine artery is torn. When this happens, a blood transfusion may be required.
Infection – Bacteria may get into the uterus from an incomplete abortion resulting in infection. A serious infection may lead to persistent fever over several days and extended hospitalization.
Incomplete Abortion – Some fetal parts may not be removed by the abortion. Bleeding and infection may occur. RU486 may fail in up to 1 out of every 20 cases.
Allergic Reaction to Drugs – An allergic reaction to anesthesia used during abortion surgery may result in convulsions, heart attack and, in extreme cases, death.
Tearing of the Cervix – The cervix may be cut or torn by abortion instruments.
Scarring of the Uterine Lining – Suction tubing, curettes, and other abortion instruments may cause permanent scarring of the uterine lining.
Perforation of the Uterus – The uterus may be punctured or torn by abortion instruments. The risk of this complication increases with the length of the pregnancy. If this occurs, major surgery, including a hysterectomy, may be required.
Damage to Internal Organs – When the uterus is punctured or torn, there is also a risk that damage will occur to nearby organs such as the bowel and bladder.
Death – In extreme cases, other physical complications from abortion including excessive bleeding, infection, organ damage from a perforated uterus, and adverse reactions to anesthesia may lead to death. This complication is very rare and occurs, on average, in less than 20 cases per year.
OTHER RISKS OF ABORTION
Abortion and Breast Cancer
Medical experts are still researching and debating the linkage between abortion and breast cancer. However, Dr. Janet Daling’s 1994 study1 found “among women who had been pregnant at least once, if done before 18 years, it [breast cancer] increased by 150%.”
Here are more important facts:
- Carrying a pregnancy to full term gives protection against breast cancer that cannot be gained if abortion is chosen.
- Abortion causes a sudden drop in estrogen levels that may make breast cells more susceptible to cancer.
- Most studies conducted so far show a significant linkage between abortion and breast cancer.
1Daling, J. et al, Risk of Br. Ca. Among Women, J. Nat Ca. Inst,
Vol.86, No. 21, Nov 2,’94, Pg. 1584.
Effect on Future Pregnancy
Scarring or other injury during an abortion may prevent or place at risk future wanted pregnancies. The risk of miscarriage is greater for women who abort their first pregnancy.
Some women experience strong negative emotions after abortion. Sometimes this occurs within days and sometimes it happens after many years. This psychological response is known as Post-Abortion Stress (PAS). Several factors that impact the likelihood of Post-Abortion Stress include: the woman’s age, the abortion circumstances, the stage of pregnancy at which the abortion occurs, and the woman’s religious beliefs.
Post-Abortion Stress Symptoms
- Emotional Pain
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Anniversary Grief
- Flashbacks of Abortion
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Relationship Problems
- Eating Disorders
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- Psychological Reactions
- Spiritual Consequences
People have different understandings of God. Whatever your present beliefs may be, there is a spiritual side to abortion that deserves to be considered. Having an abortion may affect more than just your body and your mind — it may have an impact on your relationship with God. What is God’s desire for you in this situation? How does God see your unborn child? These are important questions to consider.