Abortion 

Abortion is the termination of your pregnancy.

Women's Health Services

Our trained client advocates and medical staff are available to discuss with you any questions you may have regarding having an abortion, barriers to continuing a pregnancy, as well as abortion procedures and risks associated with abortion.

There are medical and surgical abortion procedures. The type of abortion that may be available to you depends on factors including how far along you are in your pregnancy. You have a right to get all the facts. 

While we do not perform or refer for abortions at Bridges, we are here to help you understand all your options so that you can make an informed decision. It is your pregnancy and your right to know. We are committed to providing you with the knowledge and caring support you need. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for options counseling.

Remember the first step is to confirm your pregnancy, and get tested for STD/STIs here at the center. Give us a call to schedule your appointment.

Do I really need to get STD/STI testing if I want to have an abortion?

Yes! It’s very important that you get tested for STD/STI (Sexually Transmitted Disease/Sexually Transmitted Infection) just for your own knowledge. An undiagnosed STD/STI can cause long-term and sometimes irreversible effects if not treated appropriately. At Bridges, we can provide testing.

Secondly, when dealing with a possible abortion, an STD/STI could cause potential complications following the procedure, including Pelvis Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID occurs because of untreated bacterial infections, including chlamydia and gonorrhea (Center of Disease Control). Research states that women who have abortions are more likely to develop PID after their procedures because of the risk of bacterial infection during the procedure. PID can lead to some very serious complications including infertility and ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy). When PID is caused by a chlamydia infection, a woman may be more likely to experience only mild symptoms even when serious damage is being done to her reproductive organs. (Source: National Center of Biotechnology Information as the US National Library of Medicine).

How much does an abortion cost?

The financial cost of an abortion ranges from state to state, the type of clinic, the type of doctor’s office and whether or not you have insurance. According to Clear Health Costs, here are some ranges on the prices of abortions (these prices may or may not include follow up appointment costs and other fees):

  • Abortion Pill (non-surgical up to 10 weeks): $605 
  • Surgical Abortion (required after 10 weeks gestation through 11.6 weeks): $648
  • Abortion from 12.1 weeks-15.6 weeks: $800
  • Abortion from 16 weeks-17.6 weeks: $1,050
  • Abortion from 18 weeks-19.6 weeks: $1,700
  • Abortion from 20 weeks-21.6 weeks: $2,225
  • Abortion from 22 weeks–and after: $3,275

(Sourced by a Los Angeles Planned Parenthood: https://clearhealthcosts.com/blog/2014/06/much-abortion-cost-draft-theresas/)

What are the different types of abortion?

There are several different types. Let’s go through the most common abortions one-by-one so you can have a full understanding of each.

RU-486

Otherwise known as the Abortion Pill, this pill(s) can terminate an embryo up to 10 weeks gestation. This is considered a medical abortion (not surgical) and must be prescribed. The Abortion Pill (which is actually 2 different pills) includes a three-step process:

  • First, take Mifepristone. This medication actually blocks your body’s ability to recognize progesterone by the uterus. Progesterone is one of the hormones that your uterus needs to maintain the life of the embryo. By blocking progesterone, the lining of the uterus begins to break down. Then, the life of the growing embryo ends
  • Secondly, take Misoprostol. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract causing the embryo, lining of the uterus, and the embryonic sac to exit the uterus. This process usually takes 24-48 hours and causes extreme bleeding and strong uterine cramping. Do not use tampons during the process, only use pads.
  • Lastly, return to the clinic to confirm that the procedure is complete. Your doctor will ask you a variety of questions such as, “Were you able to see the expulsion of the gestational sac or embryo?” “How much bleeding did you experience?” “Are you still experiencing pregnancy symptoms?”
  • This is very important because the Abortion Pill is not 100% effective and you may still be pregnant. If that is the case, then a surgical abortion will be the next step.
  • Your period should return within the next 2 months after the abortion process.

What you need to know: The abortion pill is not taken in a hospital. It is taken at home. Since heavy bleeding and cramping accompany it, it is important that you have someone with you in case of an emergency. Other symptoms during the process can include:

  • Mild fever and chills
  • Light lactation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting

Things to be aware about taking RU-486:

  • Do not take it if you are past the 10-week window. The chances for it working decrease.
  • Do not take if you are using an IUD.
  • Do not take if you have a blood clotting condition and/or are taking blood-clotting medication.
  • Determine if you are willing to continue with a surgical abortion if the pill fails.

Please contact your doctor or go to the ER if you are experiencing any of these symptoms after taking the abortion pill:

  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Blood clots that occur for 2 hours or more.
  • Excessive bleeding (fills up more than 2 pads in an hour and happens for 2 hours or more)
  • Extreme depression and suicidal thoughts.
  • A fever of 100.4° F or higher.
  • Severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts.

What if I change my mind?

There is a pill called the Abortion Pill Reversal (APR). It essentially counteracts the first pill (Mifepristone) of RU-486. It can only be used once the first pill is taken. If the 2nd pill has been ingested, APR cannot be used.

 A major dosage of progesterone will make up for the progesterone being blocked by the Mifepristone. It needs to be taken within 72 hours after taking Mifepristone. The earlier it is taken the better. One particular statistic states that if taken within the first 24 hours, there is a 55% chance that the pregnancy will continue (americanpregnancy.org).

Aspiration Abortion (first trimester):

Considered a surgical abortion, it is a one-day procedure that happens up to the 14th week of pregnancy. This is considered the most common type of abortion. It entails local anesthesia and oral pain relievers. If you are under 12 weeks pregnant, the procedure will take about 3 hours. If you are 12-14 weeks pregnant, it could possibly last up to 5 or six hours, and the procedure can be done in the doctor’s office.

The Procedure:

  • You will receive oral pain medications including Vicodin, Valium, and ibuprofen. If you are more than 12 weeks pregnant, you will also receive misoprostol which causes the cervix to soften and dilation to occur.
  • If you are less than 12 weeks pregnant, you will begin your procedure in about an hour to allow the pain relievers to kick in.
  • If you are over 12 weeks pregnant, the misoprostol needs a few hours to work.
  • After the medications are working, you will go into the procedure room and be asked to undress from the waist down.
  • The doctor will use a tool called the “speculum” to view inside your vagina.
  • Your vagina will be cleaned with soapy gauze and numbing medication applied to your cervix.
  • The use of metal rods will then be used to dilate your cervix.
  • A tube will be inserted into your uterus.
  • The doctor will then apply suction from a machine to the end of the tube and remove the embryo through the tube.
  • The doctor will check to make sure the complete embryo has been suctioned out, and if not, repeat suction.

Side Effects:

  • Cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Bleeding (including blood clots)

What you need to know: Any surgical procedure has risk involved. If you experience any of these symptoms go to the emergency room or call your doctor.

  • Fever (this is usually a sign of infection)
  • Passing clots that are larger than a fist for more than 2 hours.
  • Bleeding that goes through 2 pads in an hour for more than an hour.
  • Vaginal discharge that is foul smelling.
  • Pain and cramping that gets worse over time
  • Continued pregnancy symptoms.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E):

This surgical type of abortion is the most commonly used in second trimester abortion. It takes places usually between 15 weeks and 23 weeks gestation. It takes a couple of days for the entire procedure.

The Procedure:

  • In many cases, your doctor will insert laminaria (or another synthetic dilator) inside your cervix 24 hours before the procedure.
  • When a woman comes back the next day, she is given antibiotics to prevent infection and more anesthesia.
  • The doctor will then begin to open the cervix using metal dilators and a speculum.
  • Then, the doctor will insert a large suction catheter into the uterus emptying the amniotic fluid.
  • When the amniotic fluid is removed, a sopher clamp (an instrument that allows the doctor to grasp the fetus) is then used to pull out the fetus.
  • This can take several attempts.
  • After the fetus is removed, the doctor will use a curette instrument to scrape the inside of the uterus, remove the placenta, and any other remaining tissue.
  • All tissue and fetal matter is examined to determine that everything was removed and the procedure is complete.

What you need to know:

  • There may be irregular bleeding and spotting in the first 2 weeks.
  • Don’t use tampons only use pads.
  • There could be some cramping that resembles menstrual cramps which may last for a few hours to a few days as the uterus shrinks to its average size.
  • Antibiotics will be given to prevent infection.
  • Over-the-counter pain medication can be taken to help alleviate pain.

Contact the doctor or visit the emergency room if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Bleeding heavily for 12 or more hours in a row.
  • Soaking more than 2 pads in an hour, for 2 or more hours in a row.
  • Blood clots the size of a ping-pong ball being passed for 2 or more hours.
  • Signs of infection that include headache, dizziness, fever of 100.4° F or higher that lasts longer than 4 hours.
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sudden abdominal pain
  • Pain, swelling or redness in the genital area.

Risks:

  • Injury to the uterus
  • Infection
  • Moderate to severe bleeding.
  • Blood clots can occur if the uterus doesn’t contract to pass all the tissue (medication can be used to stop the bleeding) and the cervical opening can become blocked and prevent blood from leaving the uterus. This created an enlarged uterus with tenderness, cramping, and nausea.
  • A repeat vacuum aspiration can be used if there is any fetal/tissue remains and to expel blood clots.

Late-Term Abortion:

Late-term abortion is really directly connected to “fetal viability” or when a fetus can survive outside the womb with our without medical assistance. Some states will say that is 24 weeks of gestation and others will say it’s different. The definition is different from state to state. If you are unaware of your state’s late-term abortion laws, communicate your concerns to the doctor or research your particular state’s abortion laws.

However, in cases where gestation is 21 weeks, Dilation and Extraction (D&X), Intrauterine Cranial Decompression, and Partial Birth Abortion are used.

The Procedure:

  • Two days before the procedure the use of laminaria (a product made of seaweed) is inserted vaginally to dilate the cervix.
  • On the third day, the amniotic sac should break.
  • After returning to the clinic, forceps are to grasp the fetus and pull it out by the legs through the birth canal.
  • Before the head comes completely through the birth canal, a tiny incision is placed at the base of the skull and a suction catheter inside.
  • The catheter suctions the developing brain material until the skull collapses.
  • After that, the fetus is then completely removed.

Contact the doctor or visit the emergency room if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Bleeding heavily for 12 or more hours in a row.
  • Soaking more than 2 pads in an hour, for 2 or more hours in a row.
  • Blood clots the size of a ping-pong ball being passed for 2 or more hours.
  • Signs of infection that include headache, dizziness, fever of 100.4° F or higher that lasts longer than 4 hours.
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sudden abdominal pain
  • Pain, swelling or redness in the genital area.

Risks:

  • Injury to the uterus
  • Infection
  • Moderate to severe bleeding.
  • Blood clots can occur if the uterus doesn’t contract to pass all the tissue (medication can be used to stop the bleeding) and the cervical opening can become blocked and prevents blood from leaving the uterus. This creates an enlarged uterus with tenderness, cramping, and nausea.
  • A repeat vacuum aspiration can be used if there is any fetal/tissue remains and to expel blood clots.

Emotional Cost:

There is an emotional component that comes with having an abortion procedure. Of course, terminating a pregnancy causes hormonal shifts that effect mood. But, there is more than that. There are many feelings that come with having an abortion that can be complex and, at times, life threatening. It’s important to reach out to someone to share your concerns. Consider contacting a counselor or if you don’t know who to turn to, call us! We are willing and ready to walk alongside you in any part of your journey. Here is a list of possible emotional feelings after having an abortion procedure.

  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Loneliness or isolation
  • Low self-confidence
  • Problems sleeping
  • Problems dealing with relationships
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • Possible eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

*If you are having suicidal thoughts or long term depression, seek a medical professional immediately.

Why do some women have negative emotional or psychological effects after an abortion?

Many times, the emotional side effects are highly connected to how we view the growing fetus. Some don’t view the fetus as a baby, when others do. Some feel immediate relief and others struggle with the after effects for years. Here are some reasons why some women have a more difficult time after an abortion:

  • Pre-existing mental health issues.
  • If the abortion felt pressured or demanded.
  • Growing up with with a religious background that doesn’t support abortion.
  • Having a moral conflict with abortion.
  • Experiencing a second or third term abortion.
  • Not having a support system.
  • Feeling an abortion was necessary based off of genetic testing or fetal abnormalities.

We do not perform or refer for abortions at Bridges Pregnancy Center & Care Center.