Abortion Methods

Are you pregnant? This is always the first question to ask. Our center is here to help you. Come in and we'll perform a pregnancy test. We will listen to your concerns and offer support. Ask all the questions you want! We're not here to judge you. After your test, our volunteers will explain to you all of your options. We will allow you time to process all the information and feel safe to share what's on your mind.

Emergency Contraception - Plan B (The Morning After Pill)
Emergency contraception (EC) contains synthetic progesterone (not to be confused with naturally occurring progesterone) and is a large dose of the common birth control pill designed to be taken as a single dose within 72 hours after "unprotected sex."

EC works in three ways. First, it attempts to stop ovulation. Depending on where a woman is in her cycle, ovulation may or may not have already occurred before EC was taken. Second, EC attempts to stop fertilization by impeding transportation of the sperm and the egg. Third, EC tries to stop implantation by thinning the lining of the uterus so the embryo cannot implant and receive nourishment from the mother. The first two methods are contraceptive, but if they fail, the third method can cause abortion because it occurs after fertilization. (See "What About Birth Control?")1

ella - Ulipristal Acetate (UPA)
ella is a selective progesterone receptor modulator (SPRM). SPRMs block the action of the hormone progesterone, which is necessary for ovulation and implantation to occur. Progesterone also maintains the lining of the uterus and supports the embryo. Currently, the only other legal SPRM drug available in the United States is RU-486 (mifepristone). Although ella acts similarly to RU-486, it is being billed as an emergency contraceptive.2 ella is designed to be taken in a single dose within 5 days of "unprotected sex." It is thought to inhibit and delay ovulation, attempting to prevent fertilization. However, ovulation may or may not have already occurred before ella was taken. ella also alters the lining of the uterus, which, if fertilization occurs, can prevent an embyro from implanting, causing an abortion.3,4

RU-486 - Mifeprex (The Abortion Pill)
Mifeprex blocks the action of the hormone progesterone which is needed to maintain the lining of the uterus and provides oxygen and nutients for the baby. Without it, the baby dies. Mifeprex is used in conjunction with the drug Cytotec (misoprostol), which is taken two days after Mifeprex, causing uterine bleeding (sometimes profuse), strong contractions, and expulsion of the baby.

The pregnant first visits the abortionist to obtain the Mifeprex pills, returns to days later to receive misoprostol, and returns the third time to verify that the abortion is complete. The failure rate of this method is about 8% if the pills are taken within 7 weeks and up to 23% at 8-9 weeks. If the baby survives the abortion, there is a high risk that he or she will suffer mental and/or physical birth defects from the misoprostol.5,6

Vacuum Aspiration
In this first trimester procedure, the abortionist inserts a hollow plastic suction tube into the dilated cervix. The uterus is emptied by either a manual syrige or a high-powered suction machine. The baby is torn into peices as he or she is pulled through the hose.7,8,9

Dilation and Suction Curettage (D&C)
This is similar to the vacuum aspiration but is generally used after 14 weeks. The abortionist inserts a curette, a loop-shaped, steel knife, into the uterus. With this the abortionist cuts the placenta, fetus and umbilical cord into pieces and scrapes them out into a basin. The uterus is suctioned out top ensure that no body parts have been left behind. Bleeding is usually profuse.10

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
Once the cervix is dilated considerably farther than in the first trimester abortions, the abortionist inserts a narrow forceps that resembles a pliers. This instrument is needed because the baby's bones are calcified, as is the skull. The abortionist inserts the instrument into the uterus, seizes a leg or other part of the body and, with a twisting motion, tears it from the baby's body. The spine is snapped and the skull crushed. Body parts are then reassembled and counted to make certain that the entire baby has been removed and that no body parts remain in the womb.11,12,13,14

Induction or Prostaglandin Abortion
The cervix is dilated and labor is induced using prostaglandin drugs. To ensure the baby will be delivered dead and to start uterine contractions, the abortionist injects the amniotic fluid with saline, urea or potassium chloride. Digoxin may also be injected directly into the baby's heart. Sometimes the baby is delivered alive and left without medical intervention until he or she dies.15 This method is used in the second or third trimester.16

Dilation and Extraction (D&X) or Partial-Birth Abortion
After the mother undergoes two days of dilation, the abortionist performs an ultrasound to locate the child's legs and feet. The abortionist then uses a large forceps to grasp one of the baby's legs. He pulls firmly, forcing the child into a feet down position.

Using his hands instead of the forceps, the abortionist delivers the baby's body in a manner simimlar to a breech birth. The abortionist uses surgical scissors to pierce the child's head at the base of the skull. The scissors are forced open to enlarge the skull opening. The abortionist then inserts a suction catheter into the brain and vacuums out the child's brain tissue with a machine 29 times more powerful than a household vacuum.

In the 2007 decision, Gonzales v. Carhart, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 was upheld; however this does not limit the frequency of late term abortions. The "Ban" merely regulated one method used in late-term abortions. It is still legal for a doctor to kill a child up until the time he or she is born using a modified version of Partial-Birth Abortion. The baby can be delivered up to the navel and then killed.17

1archfami.ama-assn.org/egi/content/full/9/2/126(Also see citations from "What About Birth Control?") . 2Food and Drug Administration. May 2010.3HRA Pharma.2010. 4Ibid.2009. 5 National Abortion Federation.2006. 6RU486Facts.org.2008. 7American Pregnancy Association.2006. 8National Abortion Federation.2008. 9Ibid. 10American Pregnancy Association.2006. 11National Abortion Federation.2008. 12National Abortion Federation.2007. 13American Pregnancy Association.2006. 14WebMD.2006. 15Testimony of Jill Stanek,RN. U.S. House of Representatives.2001. 16WebMD.2006. 17American Pregnancy Association.2006.
Reprinted with permission from Human Life Alliance www.humanlife.org