The type of abortion often depends on how far along you are (gestational age), patient preference, cost, and availability. If you are considering an abortion, your first steps can include:

  • Confirming your pregnancy and verifying how far along you are with ultrasound
  • Talking to a nurse about your health history and options
  • Learning about the risks and side effects of the abortion pill and surgical abortion procedures

Take the first step and make an appointment today to confirm your pregnancy. (Note: we don’t perform or refer for abortions.)

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The following is an explanation of the most common abortion procedures.

First Trimester Abortions

RU486, Mifepristone (The Abortion Pill): Up to 10 weeks after last menstrual period (LMP)

This method uses a pill to end the life of the embryo. If the abortion has not occurred within two days, the mother is given a second drug to induce cramps and expulsion of the fetus. The mother will then have a final doctor’s visit to verify the procedure’s completion. The abortion pill will not end an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy where the embryo implants outside of the uterus). An undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening to the mother. For this reason, you should
always have an ultrasound done before choosing RU-486.

Vacuum Aspiration Abortion: Up to 14 weeks after LMP

Local anesthetic is given to the mother. The cervix is widened with a series of dilators. A thin hollow tube is inserted into the uterus and suction is attached to the tube to remove the fetus and tissue from the uterus.

Second Trimester Abortions

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

The fetus is now too large to be extracted by suction alone and must be removed with forceps and other instruments. The provider will first dilate the cervix by inserting laminaria sticks (thin rods made of sterilized seaweed) a few days before the procedure. Following dilation of the cervix, intravenous medication may be given to ease discomfort. When the cervix is ready, the fetus’ skull will be crushed and its body will be dismembered and removed with forceps and suction.  Following the procedure, the patient may be given medication to contract the uterus and reduce bleeding.

Abortion procedures carry different risks. You owe it to yourself to learn more about how each option can impact you, your health and your future.

Next Steps

If you are pregnant and considering abortion, you owe it to yourself to get answers and learn your options before you decide. An empowered decision is an informed decision.

We provide free pregnancy services, including medical-grade testing, limited obstetric ultrasounds, consultations, and evidence-based information about abortion and pregnancy options. We do not perform or refer for abortion.

Make an appointment today.

Sources: Minnesota Dept of Health,