What Are The Different Types of Abortion?

There are two main types of abortion, medical and surgical. The type of procedure you receive is determined by how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Medical Abortion

A medical or medication abortion uses the abortion pill method. The abortion pill isn’t just one pill. It uses two drugs over a 24 to 48-hour period to terminate a pregnancy.

The FDA has approved this method for pregnancies less than 70 days (10 weeks) past the first day of your last period.

The Method

Mifepristone is the first drug in the abortion pill method. It blocks the uterus from absorbing a hormone called progesterone. Without progesterone, the pregnancy can’t survive.

The second drug, misoprostol, causes the uterus to contract to remove the pregnancy through the vagina. 

The Side Effects and Potential Risks

According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the side effects and potential risks of taking using the abortion pill method:

  • Potential for an incomplete abortion
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Infection

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion is also referred to as in-clinic abortion. In North Carolina, abortion is banned after 20 weeks. Since the FDA approves the abortion pill for 10 weeks or less, the second 10 weeks would require a surgical abortion.

The Procedures

The earliest surgical abortion method is called Vacuum or Suction Aspiration. This process uses a suction instrument to remove the pregnancy.

Later surgical abortions are performed based on the number of weeks. The abortion provider would either perform dilation and curettage (D & C) or dilation and evacuation (D & E), depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. This requires the dilation (opening) of your cervix for the pregnancy to pass through.

Both procedures use Vacuum Aspiration and a sharp scraping tool to remove the pregnancy. If necessary, the abortion provider uses forceps to remove larger pieces.

The Side Effects and Potential Risks

  • Bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection

What Should I Do Before My Abortion?

Before moving forward with an abortion, confirm your pregnancy with our highly-sensitive pregnancy tests and possible ultrasound offered at no cost to you.

Remember, you also need to complete the requirements of the North Carolina Woman’s Right To Know act. Read about the legal requirements on our Abortion page.

We do not perform or refer for abortion.