Information about abortion can be complicated and overwhelming. On this page, you’ll find information about the different methods of abortion, at what gestational point they can be used, and a rough estimate about how much each procedure may cost.
“Abortion” is the scientific term for the termination of a pregnancy. Abortion and contraception have existed in various forms for as long as pregnancy has been around.
There are two main categories of abortion methods: medication abortions and procedural abortions. Procedural abortions may also be referred to as “surgical abortions.” Both methods are extremely safe and effective.
Every person has the right to understand these methods and to choose which method is best for them.
Medication abortions are induced with pills. There are two kinds of pills, misoprostol and mifepristone. During your appointment at the clinic, the doctor will give you one pill of mifepristone. You’ll take this in the clinic. Then, you’ll take the second round of pills, misoprostol, at home. How many misoprostol pills you take will depend on how far along you are. Make sure you follow the doctor’s instructions carefully, timing the doses and taking them correctly makes this method more effective.
Medication abortion is most effective if you are less than 12 weeks pregnant.
Medication abortions can cost anywhere from $300-$1,000 but the price depends on many factors that your doctor can explain to you.
For information on how to find abortion medication without using a clinic or doctor’s office, click here.
What to expect with this method?
Many people like this method because it’s not invasive and you can have your abortion at home where you may be safe and have privacy.
This method causes bleeding, cramping, and can be painful for about 12-24 hours while the medications work. It is recommended by some doctors to take Ibruprofen. You may need to take the day off of work or arrange childcare if you use this method.
Simply speaking, a procedural abortion is when an instrument (see below) is inserted into the uterus and the contents of the pregnancy are removed. The patient may or may not be given anesthesia, depending on the type of procedure and how far along in the pregnancy the person is. There are a few kinds of abortion methods that fall into this category, and they are all safe.
This stands for dilation and curettage. In this method, the cervix is dilated, usually using Laminaria, and the uterus is scraped clean using a spoon-like tool called a curettage. This method is typically used in the second trimester and is performed in a clinic by a trained provider.
This is the most common type of abortion method done by a clinic. A small hose is inserted into the uterus and gentle suction is used to empty the uterus. It’s used until about the 16th week of pregnancy.
This stands for dilation and evacuation. It typically refers to the use of a combination of the previous methods. By using suction and medical tools, a provider empties the contents of the uterus. This method is used in abortions conducted later in pregnancy, after 16 weeks.
What to expect with this method?
Many people like this method because it is over very quickly, usually between 10-30 minutes. Some patients prefer to be put under anesthesia so they aren’t awake for their abortion. These kinds of abortions can be uncomfortable but do not last very long.
What is a “late-term abortion?”
Nothing! Believe it or not, this is not a medical term, but a term created by people who don’t believe in abortion and those who want to stigmatize abortion. A better term to use when referring to abortions that happen in the second or third trimester is an abortion later in pregnancy, which is how TBAF refers to it. Abortions in the third trimester are extremely rare and only occur when the fetus will not survive outside of the uterus, has already passed away, or the pregnant person’s life is in danger. These usualy are very much wanted pregnancies.
It is also important to note that abortions later in pregnancy are almost impossible to obtain. Currently, only five clinics in the United States will provide them (two are in the DMV area) and they are extraordinarily expensive (upwards of $10,000 just for the medical procedure, not including travel fees, missed work, childcare, and more). No one, and I mean no one, get’s an abortion in the third trimester “for fun” or because “they forgot to get one in the first trimester” — contrary to what anti-choicers would have you believe. Abortions after 21 weeks of pregnancy account for only 1.3% of all abortions each year, and that number gets smaller with each passing week.
More information about Abortion:
- NNAF, Need an abortion?
- Guttmacher, Later Abortion
- Planned Parenthood, In-Clinic Abortion
- Washington Post, Tough questions — and answers — on ‘late-term’ abortions, the law and the women who get them
- Plan C, Where can I get pills?
- Women Help Women, Using Abortion Pills For Safe Abortion In The USA
None of this information is legal or medical advice.
For information on how to find a clinic near you, click here.