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Types of Abortion

Your doctor is required by law to give you A Women’s Right to Know before your receive an abortion. It includes the risks, side effects, and statistics on the risk of dying as a result of the procedure.

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion uses drugs (as opposed to surgery) to terminate a pregnancy. RU 486 (mifepristone) and methotrexate are the two drugs used for medical abortions. Given orally or vaginally by injection, they cause you to bleed and pass clots, tissue and the unborn child over a course of few hours or days. You may bleed for up to three weeks and will require a follow-up visit with your physician.

Surgical Abortion:

D&C (Dilation and Curettage with Vacuum Aspiration)

This form is used during the first trimester of pregnancy. The doctor dilates (opens) the cervix and empties the uterus using suction. After suctioning, the doctor may also scrape the walls of the uterus to ensure the unborn child and placenta have been completely removed.

D&E (Dilation and Evacuation)

This procedure is used after the first trimester and may need to be done in the hospital. It can be a painful process, so painkillers, local anesthesia, or sedatives may be used. The doctor dilates the cervix and scrapes the uterus, removing the unborn child. If preformed after 16 weeks, the unborn child must be taken out piece-by-piece using forceps and other medical instruments.

D&X (Dilation and Extraction)

Used in pregnancies after 16 weeks of gestation, this procedure begins with the doctor dilating the cervix and grasping the unborn child by its foot. The baby is then delivered, except for the head. While the head is still in the birth canal, scissors are used to make a hole at the base of the skull. A tube is inserted and the contents of the head are suctioned out. The skull is crushed and the baby is delivered dead.

IDX (Partial-Birth Abortion or Intact Dilation and Extraction)

This procedure follows similar steps as a D&X abortion, which involves delivering the baby except for the head, puncturing the skull, and suctioning it out. Used for late-term pregnancies, it has been banned in the United States under most circumstances.


Saline abortions are performed by injecting a saline chemical solution through the abdomen into the uterus. The chemicals induce pre-mature labor. Sometimes additional vacuuming or scraping may be required to remove the unborn child and placenta.