Considering an Abortion?
If you're thinking about finding an abortion clinic, it is important to remember that abortion is a medical procedure.
What type will you have?
What are the risks?
Know the facts. 

You owe it to yourself to make an informed decision!

Abortion Information
      What you need to know

The Woman's Right to Know Act

According to North Carolina state law, women considering abortion must have an informed consent certification signed by a doctor, nurse, or certified ultrasound technician. These women must be given the alternatives to abortion in writing, as well as be offered a free ultrasound. It is, by law, the first step to getting an abortion in North Carolina. If you’re considering abortion, set up your appointment with us today to find out more information.

The Methods of Abortion

Manual Vacuum Aspiration: up to 7 weeks after last menstrual period (LMP).

This surgical abortion is done early in the pregnancy up until 7 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. A long, thin tube is inserted into the uterus. A large syringe is attached to the tube and the embryo is suctioned out.

Suction Curettage: between 6 to 14 weeks after LMP

This is the most common surgical abortion procedure. The abortion provider generally dilates (stretches open) the cervix using metal rods. Opening the cervix may be painful, so local anesthesia is typically used. After the cervix is stretched open, the provider inserts a firm plastic tube into the uterus which is connected to a suction machine. The suction pulls the fetus’ body apart and out of the uterus. The provider may also use a loop-shaped instrument called a curette to scrape the fetal parts out of the uterus. (Fetal parts may be referred to as “products of conception.”).

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): between 13 to 24 weeks from LMP

This surgical abortion is done during the second trimester of pregnancy. At this point in pregnancy, the fetus is too large to be broken up by suction alone and will not pass through the suction tubing. In this procedure, the cervix must be opened wider than in a first trimester abortion. This is done by inserting laminaria (seaweed stick or rod) into the cervix a day or two before the abortion. Once the cervix is stretched open the provider pulls out the fetal parts with forceps. The fetus’ skull is crushed to ease removal. A sharp tool (called a curette) is also used to scrape out the contents of the uterus, removing any remaining tissue.

Dilation and Extraction (D&X) (partial-birth abortion): from 20 weeks after LMP to full-term. 

This procedure takes three days. During the first two days, the cervix is stretched open using thin rods made of seaweed, and medication is given for pain. On the third day, the abortion doctor uses ultrasound to locate the legs of the fetus. Grasping a leg with forceps, the doctor delivers the fetus up to the head. Next, scissors are inserted into the base of the skull to create an opening. A suction catheter is placed into the opening to remove the brain. The skull collapses and the fetus is removed.

Morning After Pill (Plan B)
Before taking the Morning After Pill, you should understand what it is, what it could mean to your health and how it works. Call for an appointment and one of our staff will be happy to discuss it with you and advise you on your options.

What is it?
The “morning after pill” is a large dose of oral contraceptive. Known as Plan B, the pill is actually 2 tablets, one taken within 72 hours of intercourse and the second 12 hours later. It is NOT the same as RU-486.

How does it work?
Plan B is believed to act as an emergency contraceptive principally by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In addition, it may inhibit implantation. It is not effective once the process of implantation has begun.

Things to consider:
Emergency contraception is not effective if a woman is already pregnant.
Plan B does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The most common side effects in the Plan B clinical trial were nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and menstrual changes.
The manufacturer warns that Plan B is not recommended for routine use as a contraceptive.
Source: Manufacturer’s Prescribing Information for Plan B (Levonorgestrel) tablets, 0.75 mg. Mfg. by Gedeon Richter, Ltd., Budapest, Hungary for Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Pomona, NY 10970. Revised Feb 2004. BR-038 / 21000382503

RU486/Medical Abortion
Before taking RU486, you should understand what it is, what it could mean to your health and how it works. Call for an appointment and one of our staff will be happy to discuss it with you, verify a positive pregnancy test with a first trimester ultrasound, and advise you on your options.

What is it?
RU-486, also known as “the abortion pill”, is actually a combination of two drugs-mifipristone and misoprostol-that cause early abortion. It is indicated for the medical termination of an intrauterine pregnancy of up to 7 weeks from LMP. It is NOT the same as the “morning after pill”.

How does it work?
The first pill, mifepristone, is taken orally and blocks the hormone progesterone needed to maintain the pregnancy. The second pill, misoprostol, is inserted into the vagina 24 to 72 hours later, causing the uterus to contract and expel the placenta and embryo.

Things to Consider
An RU-486 abortion requires 3 visits to a health care provider.
Most medical abortions using mifepristone are completed within 2 weeks, but some can take up to 3 or even 4 weeks.
Side effects include heavy bleeding, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramping.
If this method fails, a surgical abortion will be required.
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, “Issue Update: Mifepristone: An Early Abortion Option,” July 2001. Mifeprex® Medication Guide, Danco Laboratories, LLC, revised 7/19/05

Abortion is not just a simple procedure; it may involve several potential risks. Abortion has been associated with preterm birth in future pregnancies, and with long-term emotional, psychological, and spiritual difficulties. The risk of abortion is greater in the second trimester. Please contact our center to help you make an informed decision.

Physical Risks
  • Heavy Bleeding – Some bleeding after abortion is normal. However, if the cervix is torn or the uterus is punctured, there is a risk of severe bleeding known as hemorrhaging. When this happens, a blood transfusion may be required. Severe bleeding is also a risk with the use of RU486. One in 100 women who use RU486 require surgery to stop the bleeding.

  • Infection – Infection can develop from the insertion of medical instruments into the uterus, or from fetal parts that are mistakenly left inside (known as an incomplete abortion). A pelvic infection may lead to persistent fever over several days and extended hospitalization. It can also cause scarring of the pelvic organs.

  • Incomplete Abortion – Some fetal parts may be mistakenly left inside after the abortion. Bleeding and infection may result.

  • Sepsis – A number of RU486 or mifepristone users have died as a result of sepsis (total body infection).

  • Anesthesia – Complications from general anesthesia used during abortion surgery may result in convulsions, heart attack, and in extreme cases, death. It also increases the risk of other serious complications by two and a half times.

  • Damage to the Cervix – The cervix may be cut, torn, or damaged by abortion instruments. This can cause excessive bleeding that requires surgical repair.

  • Scarring of the Uterine Lining – Suction tubing, curettes, and other abortion instruments may cause permanent scarring of the uterine lining.

  • Perforation of the Uterus – The uterus may be punctured or torn by abortion instruments. The risk of this complication increases with the length of the pregnancy. If this occurs, major surgery may be required, including removal of the uterus (known as a hysterectomy).

  • Damage to Internal Organs – When the uterus is punctured or torn, there is also a risk that damage will occur to nearby organs such as the bowel and bladder.

  • Death – In extreme cases, other physical complications from abortion including excessive bleeding, infection, organ damage from a perforated uterus, and adverse reactions to anesthesia may lead to death. This complication is rare, but is real.

Psychological Risks
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks
  • Alcohol and Drug Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Suicide Risk
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sexual Dysfunction


Abortion Risks
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