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What Is Abortion?

Abortion is a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and is performed using medicine or surgery to remove the embryo and placenta from the mother's uterus.  Abortions are only performed by licensed medical health professionals. US federal law currently allows abortions to be performed in any stage of development, from first trimester up until birth. 

Medical Abortions

Medical abortions are those that normally take place in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and are caused by taking medications1,2. These medications block progesterone, a hormone needed for maintenance of the implantation of the baby inside the uterus.  When progesterone is blocked, the uterus lining becomes weak, thin, and breaks down, causing the death and expulsion of the baby out of the birth canal.

Surgical Abortions

Surgical abortions are those that require a performed procedure to remove a child from the mother. They can be performed in the first, second, and third trimesters using manual vacuum aspiration, dilation and evacuation, or induction via injection1,2, respectively. As the baby grows and becomes stronger, the procedure required to remove the child becomes more forceful.  To get a better understanding of these procedures, please watch the videos below. 

Abortion Risks and Complications 3



  • Excessive bleeding
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • GI disturbances
  • Rh sensitization 
  • Blood clotting and embolism
  • Infection/sepsis
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Anesthesia complications
  • Sterility or future ectopic/tubal pregnancies
  • Cervix damage
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Sleep dysfunction
  • Guilt and remorse
  • Intense grieving
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Relationship problems