While the choice of abortion method should be based on what is best for you, the important thing is to make sure you choose a safe method.
The safe methods, as recognized by the World Health Organization, are listed below:
Medical abortion – up to 9 weeks of gestation
- Mifepristone and Misoprostol
- Misoprostol alone when mifepristone is not available
Surgical abortion (Vacuum aspiration) – up to 12 weeks to 14 weeks of gestational age
- Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA)
- Electric vacuum aspiration (EVA)
Dilation and Evacuation past 12 to 14 weeks uses a combination of medication and instruments to safely evacuate the uterus.
Other methods of abortion may be ineffective and could cause lasting harm to your body. Some old methods, like sharp curettage, used to be widely practiced but are now obsolete thanks to new technologies.
Abortion is an extremely safe procedure when performed correctly: this means using a recommended method and assistance/service from a competent healthcare provider.
Abortion may be less safe when involving non-recommended methods, like ingesting caustic substances or traditional concoctions or allowing untrained persons to insert foreign bodies into the vagina and/or uterus. These unsafe methods come with a much higher risk.
Source: World Health Organization
The images below show how the Manual Vacuum Aspiration removes the uterine lining with suction while the metal curette scrapes the lining, potentially causing harm:
You can see here the possible damage sharp curettage can cause, compared to an MVA procedure.
Click on the squares below and discover two main safe abortion methods.
Common myths/misconceptions around abortion
Does surgical abortion hurt?
Most women feel cramping during and after the abortion, similar to strong period cramps. But your doctors and nurses will make the procedure as comfortable as possible with pain relief and numbing medications.
Will I be able to get pregnant afterward?
Yes. Having an abortion doesn’t affect your ability to get pregnant again in the future; you can actually become pregnant again in the months right after your abortion. If you do not want to become pregnant, remember to use contraception! Many healthcare providers will offer contraceptive counseling services as part of comprehensive abortion care – if you are interested make sure to ask about what birth control options might be available. #BeContraceptiveWise
For more information please read: https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/pregnancy-after-abortion#takeaway
Will I be able to have sex again?
Of course! You will be able to have sex as soon as you feel ready. Your healthcare provider may recommend waiting until vaginal bleeding stops to reduce the risk of infection. It is also a good idea to use contraception if you want to avoid pregnancy, as you might be fertile again right after your abortion.
Do I need contraception when abortion is available?
While there is nothing wrong with having an abortion, using a contraceptive is usually simpler, less costly, and gives you more control of your life. Another consideration is to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)!
Is abortion dangerous for my health?
No, safe abortion is not dangerous for your health. Getting accurate and reliable information about safe options like Vacuum Aspiration (manual or electrical), medical abortion, or Dilation and Evacuation empowers you to make the right choice for you. You can also talk to your healthcare provider for more information. If you would rather speak with someone else, the counselors from Safe2Choose are available to explain your options and help you think about what is right for you. Unsafe abortion, on the other hand, can be dangerous for your health and future fertility. Protect yourself and your future by choosing a safe method.
Is abortion morally wrong?
No – it is okay to have an abortion. Each woman has the right to exercise control and agency over her body, including whether she wants to continue a pregnancy or not. While not always an easy decision to make, many women have done it before. If you need support or want to talk about it, you can talk to our friends at safe2choose.
Women get breast cancer more easily after having an abortion
There is no scientific evidence supporting a link between abortion and breast cancer. While interest groups spread this rumor for personal reasons, the American Cancer Society debunked this myth with the following statement: “Linking these topics creates a great deal of emotion and debate. But scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.” American Cancer Society
Will I have emotional problems afterward?
It depends and varies for every woman. Some women experience a feeling of loss and psychological unease, but other women feel liberated and even call abortion a beautiful experience. No matter how you feel about it, there are people to talk to if you need to. Counselors at safe2choose are available (by phone or chat), or you can reach out to health centers and family planning resources in your own community.
Do I need the permission of my husband/partner?
No, it is your decision. However, depending on where you live, you may need written permission from your parents or guardian if you are underage (generally under 18 years old). It’s your body, It’s your choice!