Abortion information including types of abortion, partial birth abortions, and definition of abortion.
Warning: There is graphic content on this page.
What is abortion?
The simple definition is that abortion is ending a pregnancy. The fact is that this is a voluntary removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy, especially in the first six months.
Miscarriage is spontaneous abortion and this is what happens naturally to about 1 in 3 pregnancies. A voluntary abortion is a medical procedure. A miscarriage happens on it's own. This is not to say that a woman having a miscarriage will not need medical care but that a medical procedure does not bring on the abortion.
There are four different kinds of abortions:
Medical Abortion (up to 8 weeks)
Vacuum Aspiration (usually done between 6 and 13 weeks)
IPAS Syringe (done between 4 and 5 weeks)
D&E or Dilate and Evacuate (done between 13 and 24 weeks)
How is abortion performed?
We will discuss how the four different types of abortion are performed.
Medical Abortion – a woman goes to a medical office and takes a pill called Mifepristone. This causes the end of the pregnancy. Then shortly after the woman goes home she takes a medication called Misoprostol which causes the uterus to contract and expel the tissue. A follow up appointment is necessary to make sure that things really were ended and that there are no complications. Most clinics will require a woman to live in close proximity to a hospital to use this method. Many woman choose this method of abortion because it seems fast, easy and less intrusive than some other methods. Note that the names of the medications can vary depending on the doctor or clinic.
Vacuum Aspiration – Before 13 weeks this method is used to extract the fetus or embryo from the uterus. A doctor numbs the cervix, put a tube into the uterus through the cervix, then suction with an aspirating machine is done to remove the pregnancy. This whole procedure can take only five minutes but has to be done in a hospital or clinic by a doctor.
IPAS Syringe – this can be done as soon as the pregnancy is identifiable through ultrasound. This is very similar to vacuum aspiration because a soft tube is inserted in the same way through the cervix. The difference is that a machine is not used to aspirate, a syringe is used to manually aspirate the pregnancy out of the uterus. This method is just as fast as the vacuum aspiration.
D&E or Dilate and Evacuate – This is the method used by some clinics after the first trimester of pregnancy. This takes several days to perform. The first day or two dilators are placed in the cervix after the cervix has been numbed. Overnight the dilators work to open the entrance to the uterus. The following day more dilators may be inserted or if things are ready, the aspirating machine is used to remove the pregnancy.
What is partial birth?
Partial birth is extremely controversial. This method is used during the last trimester of pregnancy. This method entails dilating a woman's cervix. The abortionist then pull the baby out by the legs but leaves the head in. A sharp object is then inserted into the back of the babies skull and then removed. An instrument used for suction is then inserted to cause the skull to collapse. Once the baby is dead, the baby is delivered the rest of the way.
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