Abortion… Before You Decide
An unexpected pregnancy can feel really scary and overwhelming. Suddenly, your world has turned upside-down, and you have some big decisions to make in the middle of some pretty big emotions. Abortion, adoption, having and raising the baby – each of your options might seem completely overwhelming at this moment.
Before you decide anything, and no matter how alone you might feel, we want to remind you that you don’t have to do this on your own. Our staff is available to listen and provide answers to your medical or other questions in a safe, loving environment. We won’t ever tell you what to do. But we’ll give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
If you’re considering abortion, you probably have some questions.
What are the types of abortion?
There are two basic types of abortion: medical and surgical. Medical abortions are an option fairly early in the pregnancy. These involve taking pills that block the hormones necessary to continue the pregnancy. Surgical abortions are operations that are performed in a doctor’s office or clinic. A local anesthetic is typically offered to reduce pain, however, sedation may also be available.
Plan B – Called the “morning-after pill.” It’s classified as an emergency contraceptive and can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. This type of pill is designed to prevent the egg and sperm from meeting or the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall, which would cause a very early abortion. However, it won’t end a pregnancy that has attached to the uterus. Plan B doesn’t protect against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), and it can have some side effects. They may include lower abdominal pain, nausea, headache, and dizziness. Women who experience severe abdominal pain after taking the drug may have an ectopic pregnancy and should seek immediate medical help.
RU486 – Commonly referred to as the abortion pill. It can be taken up to 10 weeks after the last menstrual period (LMP). It’s a three-step process that involves a pill that cuts off the flow of hormones to the uterus and causes the embryo’s death. Followed by a pill that induces cramping to expel the embryo from the body, and then a follow-up examination to confirm that the abortion occurs. There are risks and side effects with this — severe cramping and bleeding, nausea and vomiting, and infection are some of the possible risks and side effects. And some women may still need a surgical abortion to complete the process due to the failure rate of the pill.
Online Abortion Pills – Sometimes referred to as Plan C. Buying and selling abortion pills online is not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Because they’re outside the FDA procedures and safeguards, there’s no guarantee what these pills actually contain, so you don’t know exactly what you’re taking. Buying abortion pills online or following instructions online for inducing your own abortion with any sort of supplements or medicines is very dangerous — and it may or may not end a pregnancy.
Suction Aspiration – (Up to 14 weeks LMP) This involves stretching the cervix open with dilating rods. It’s usually painful so a local anesthetic is typically injected directly into the cervix beforehand. A vacuum device is then inserted inside the uterus to remove the fetus. Just like with any surgery, there are risks and side effects.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) – (15 – 24 weeks LMP) Because this procedure is done later in a pregnancy, sedation is commonly used. The cervix is dilated and forceps are used to help remove the fetus. Because the pregnancy is more advanced and the procedure is more invasive, the risks and side effects increase.
So what are the physical risks?
Any medical or surgical procedure has potential risks. Some risks with abortion include heavy bleeding, cramping, nausea, infection, tissue retention from an incomplete procedure, and an inability to carry future pregnancies in the case of organ damage.
Are there emotional risks?
As with any other major life event, not every woman is affected in the same way. There could be lasting emotional, relational, or mental health effects. Some women connect clinical depression and anxiety, substance use and alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) to their abortion experience. And scientific evidence indicates that it’s more likely to cause negative psychological outcomes than either miscarriage or carrying an unexpected pregnancy to term. Some research indicates that couples who choose to end their pregnancy go on to have problems in their relationships related to the abortion.
So what’s the first thing to do?
The first step is making sure you’re really pregnant. We can help you with this. We provide complimentary, lab-quality pregnancy testing. And on top of that, we can provide a complimentary ultrasound to confirm if it’s even a viable pregnancy, meaning that it’s located in the uterus and there’s a heartbeat. In addition, it reveals how far along you are which is important to determine the type of abortion procedure you would be looking at.
You might feel like you have to make a decision right this second. Or maybe someone else is pressuring you to make a quick decision. But an important thing to remember is — you don’t have to decide today. It’s OK to take some time and catch your breath, then research all your options, gathering information and making a decision that is best for you. An unexpected pregnancy is a lot to take in, but you don’t have to face this alone. Remember, we’re here for you.
And if you’ve already had an abortion and you’re struggling with emotional or relational issues, we have staff who know what that’s like, who can listen, and direct you to tangible things that may help.