Need to Know: 5 Facts about Abortions

With a wider acceptance of abortion in our modern society, many people now understand the procedure better. Birth control is more widely available, and women feel more comfortable using it. Less negative judgement and more positive encouragement has led people, particularly women, to be more open about their bodies. While most people have a better understanding of abortions on Long Island, there are still many facts that most people in our communities are unaware of. To learn 5 important facts about abortions, read on.

1. Medical Abortions Are Growing in Popularity

When abortions first became legal in the U.S., surgical operations were the only option. As policy and medicine advanced, though, medical abortions became a reasonable option for women. In 2001, around the time that it was introduced, the medical abortion pill comprised only 6% of abortions.

Now, approximately one third of abortion procedures are medical, rather than surgical. Medical abortions are only a viable option 9 weeks after the last period.

The medical abortion procedure is fairly simple, and for many women, less nerve-racking than the surgical procedure. This procedure involves taking two pills. The first, mifepristone, is administered to the patient by the gynecologist. This medication causes the pregnancy to halt, stopping the growth of the fetus. The patient then takes the second pill, misoprostol, the next day in the comfort of their home. This pill induces period-like symptoms, removing the tissue from the uterus.

medical abortion pills

While the procedure is less physical, medical abortions still carry some side effects. Heavy bleeding, nausea, and cramping are all common side effects. To navigate these side effects, we recommend resting for at least the first day. Also, schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure that the fetus was fully removed.

2. Medical Abortions Are Only Possible Before 9 Weeks

Because different abortion procedures affect the fetus in different ways, abortion laws regulate these procedures. Medical abortions are common before the 9 week period, but are prohibited after this time period ends.

Instead, these abortions are performed inside the clinic. The surgical abortion procedure is different from the medical procedure. Rather than taking place over two days, the surgical procedure takes place in less than 5 minutes. The gynecologist will dilate the cervix, creating an opening in which to insert the suction tube. This gives the doctor more opportunity to remove the tissue from the uterus. At the end of the procedure, the doctor will take a sonogram to ensure that the tissue has been removed.

Contrary to popular belief, receiving an abortion will not affect one’s chance of becoming pregnant in the future.

3. Abortions are More Difficult After First Trimester

According to the CDC, most abortions take place during the first trimester (up to 12 weeks pregnant). After this time window ends, abortions are far less common. In fact, many doctors will not perform abortions after this period. This is because it is more difficult to dilate the cervix, making tissue removal a challenge. At Stony Brook Women’s Health, we perform abortion procedures up to 24 weeks, or near the end of the second trimester.

These abortion tend to be more expensive as well. In some cases, the gynecologist will apply a substance called laminaria, to moisturize the cervix. This makes dilation an easier process.

first trimester pregnancy

4. Abortion Does Not Affect Fertility or Health

Many women who discover an unexpected pregnancy are currently unprepared to have children, but would like that option in the future. So, the option to have children in the future is a primary consideration.

Before receiving an abortion, many women attempt to confirm that the procedure will not affect their future fertility. With the advanced state of modern medical technology and procedures, abortions are safer than ever. This applies to short term health, as well as long-term health.

Short term: For medical abortions, serious complications only occur in less than 0.5% of cases. For surgical abortions, 0.3% of cases result in serious problems.

Long term: According to research conducted by the CDC, conducting an abortion with the proper procedure does not threaten the health of the reproductive system.

5. Most Women Do Not Regret The Procedure

Despite the difficulty in arriving at the decision to have an abortion, many women move forward with the procedure. After all, there are plenty of reasons that women from different walks of life elect to have this procedure.

Research gathered by the University of California San Francisco and published in PLOS ONE, an academic journal, showed strong evidence that most women do not regret the decision to receive an abortion. In fact, 95% of women who received a first-trimester abortion did not regret it six months after the procedure.

Additionally, the study did not find any evidence of women experiencing a condition called “post-abortion trauma syndrome.” This rhetoric is often used by pro-life organizations to discourage abortions. However, there is no evidence to support this being the case. Finally, women felt relieved following the procedure, and thought about it less as time elapsed.

happy women

Stony Brook Women’s Health: Abortions on Long Island

Before receiving an abortion at our Long Island office, it’s important to be properly educated. As one of the most frequently debated topics in the media, it’s easy for inaccurate information to spread. At Stony Brook Women’s Health, we are dedicated to helping all patients become properly educated before receiving this procedure. Contact us to learn more about abortions, and assistance in determining whether or not it is the right choice for you.