Abortions - What are the Current Procedures and Best Abortion Information?

Abortion - The Result of Unplanned Pregnancies

In spite of the advent of newer, more effective, and more widely available methods of birth control, about three million pregnancies a year - representing half of the six million that occur in the US each year - are considered by the pregnant woman to be unplanned. Of these unplanned pregnancies, half end in abortion. White women lead the seekers at 53%, 36% are Black, and 11% are of other races. The abortion facts indicate that the bulk of terminations occur among 20-to 24-year old women. The lowest rates are among teens and women over 40. However, often a woman over 40 who becomes pregnant ends up having an abortion.

Abortion Procedures Available

There are a variety of abortion procedures available and depending upon fetal development and gestation, a procedure considered to be appropriate for that stage of pregnancy will be suggested by the provider. Abortions performed within seven weeks of conception are either surgical or medical abortions. A medical abortion is one brought on by medication and with the new drugs that are available, most women who choose to abort their pregnancies in the early stages say they would use these drugs again if they were to have another abortion. Medical abortions reduce the risk of damage to the cervix or uterus from instruments that are necessary in the application of surgical abortions. Medical abortions, usually done with an abortion pill - often the new FDA approved drug mifepristone (known as RU-486) - have a success rate of 75-95%, with the remainder either failed or partial and requiring surgical applications to complete them.

Surgical Abortions - When They Are Done

Surgical abortions may be performed during the first trimester using the cervical dilatation and preparation procedure, and depending upon the period of gestation, a stick may be inserted into the cervix to being opening it for suction by a vacuum aspirator. If a medical abortion or early surgical abortion is incomplete, then a dilatation and curettage (D&C) is done whereby the uterus is scraped empty with a sharp metal curette. Second trimester abortions are safest when performed using dilatation and evacuation, enlarging the cervix with sticks over a period of hours or days and then using suction curettage and manual evacuation of the fetus and placenta. In dilatation and extraction, the fetus is removed intact after the head is collapsed and the contents removed in order for it to pass through the cervix. It is a procedure that is not commonly used and is, in fact, illegal. Induction of labor with the use of standard drugs for this purpose is used also for second trimester abortion. When this procedure is used, there is a need for ripening the cervix in order for the fetus to pass.

Abortions can now be performed safely in an abortion clinic, which is designed expressly for this purpose. Abortion costs vary with the state and with the type of abortion performed. It is possible to view abortion pictures on the internet and in some health units. Overall, abortion videos do not show explicit pictures of an abortion, rather they are designed to support the woman.

There are a number of places where abortion information can be obtained. Planned Parenthood is one such outlet. Abortion clinics and some gynecologists who perform abortions will be able to provide information regarding abortion, abortion prices, and other information necessary to ensure safety and proper post-abortion care.

It is not an easy decision for most women. Abortion means the cessation of life and it is not usually entered into lightly. Sometimes a physiological situation demands an abortion, such as in the case of premature rupture of the membranes. There are times when the life of the baby cannot be sustained, or the life of the mother is endangered. Abortion is also a choice made by some women to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Whatever the cause, there is professional help available.

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