Pregnancy Information Abortion Facts

What do you do if you find yourself pregnant but are not ready to care for a baby? At times, even the most reliable birth control can fail. Or you may find yourself a victim of sexual abuse or rape.

Not everyone is ready for pregnancy when it happens. Statistics reveal that almost half of the pregnancies in the United States are accidental, with numbers up to five million unplanned pregnancies a year. If you find yourself in this situation, you’re not alone.

Women who aren’t ready to start a family but have become pregnant may choose to have an abortion. An abortion is a medical procedure that ends the pregnancy. Since abortion became legal in 1973, millions of women have ended their unplanned pregnancies. In some situations, like young teen pregnancies or the unintended pregnancy of an older woman, abortion poses less of a health risk than bringing the pregnancy to term.

Abortions can run between $120 and $750, depending on when and how the procedure is performed. Clinics and hospitals that perform abortions require counseling prior to the procedure. This counseling session is a time when the patient can voice her fears and concerns about the decision to end the pregnancy. Qualified health personnel discuss the procedure, potential risks and recovery.

Risks Associated with Abortion

Having information about abortion is important. With the introduction of home pregnancy tests and early detection, the risk of abortion is minimal. A home pregnancy test can confirm pregnancy as early as the first day of a missed period. Since the optimal time for abortion is before the fetus is twelve weeks old, the earlier the abortion is performed, the lower the risks associated with it. And, if performed early, an abortion rarely affects the chances of having a baby later.

While the procedures are relatively risk-free in the early stages of the pregnancy, some risks do exist, as they do with any medical procedure that uses anesthesia. In addition, the uterus, cervix or other internal tissues can be vulnerable to tears or infections. Sometimes, a second procedure is required to remove additional tissues that were missed in the first procedure. Heavy bleeding, depression and scarring can also occur. A very small percentage of women are unable to rebuild the uterine lining and can become sterile.

The Abortion Pill: Mifepristone

Mifepristone, also known as the abortion pill, or RU-486, is the most common method used to induce abortion. Before Mifepristone was approved in 2000 in the United States, it was used with success in France for twenty-two years. Mifepristone is available only in clinics, hospitals and doctors’ offices.

The pill must be used in the early stages of pregnancy, up to forty-nine days from the last menstrual period. The pill terminates the pregnancy by blocking certain hormone receptors necessary for the pregnancy to continue. Counseling and information is provided before a physician prescribes Mifepristone.

Four hours after taking the pill, most women experience bleeding and the passage of the embryonic tissue. A second pill known as misoprostol is given to make the uterus contract and expel bloody tissue. A follow-up visit is required after two days to make sure the abortion is complete. A third visit fourteen days later determines the completion and level of recovery. Of the abortions performed with mifepristone, up to ninety-seven percent have been successfully completed. In the event that the procedure is not successful, other medical procedures can be performed.

Information on Other Abortion Methods

The most common method of abortion performed at approved clinics and hospitals is the vacuum aspiration method. The vacuum aspiration method uses suction to remove the pregnancy and tissue from the lining of the uterus. If vacuum aspiration does not completely remove the pregnancy doctors may choose to perform a dilatation and curettage or D