What Do I Need to Know About Abortion?

Abortion is a serious physical and mental medical decision. Although it may seem like an “easy” solution for your unplanned pregnancy, learning about the procedures, side effects, and potential risks is essential.

The Mayo Clinic states, “Having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences. If you’re considering this procedure, make sure you understand what it entails, side effects, possible risks, complications and alternatives.”

What Are The Types of Abortion?

There are two main types of abortion, medical and surgical. The method an abortion provider uses depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Medical (also known as the abortion pill)

A medical abortion uses two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, to terminate a pregnancy. Every pregnancy needs a hormone called progesterone to thrive and grow. Mifepristone, the first drug, blocks progesterone from reaching the uterus. Without progesterone, the pregnancy ends.

The second drug, misoprostol, causes the uterus to contract to expel the pregnancy from the body through the vagina. The two drugs are usually taken within 24 to 48 hours of each other.

The FDA has approved medical abortion up to 10 weeks of gestation only. Visit our Abortion page for information about the side effects and potential risks of medical abortion.


The length of your pregnancy determines the various surgical abortion procedures you qualify for.

Vacuum Aspiration

This procedure is performed in the first trimester of pregnancy (up to week 12 or 13). It uses a suction device with a syringe to pull out the pregnancy.

Dilation and Curettage (D & C)

A D & C uses vacuum aspiration and a sharp scraping tool to remove a pregnancy.

Dilation and Evacuation (D & E)

For late-term abortions, an abortion provider performs a D & E. The provider may need forceps to pull out larger parts of the pregnancy.

Visit our Abortion page for more information about the side effects and potential risks of surgical abortions.