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There are two main types of abortion, medical and surgical. No matter which method an abortion provider uses, abortion is a significant physical and emotional decision. Be fully prepared with information about the procedures, side effects, and potential risks. 

The Abortion Methods Used

Today, the most common form of abortion is the abortion pill. It is a medical or chemical abortion because it uses two drugs to terminate a pregnancy. The FDA has approved this method through ten weeks gestation only (70 days or less since the first day of a patient’s last menstrual period).

The later you are in your pregnancy, the more dangerous the abortion pill becomes. It’s critical you find out how far along you are before using this method. 

Surgical procedures also vary depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. They are all performed in-clinic and require dilating (opening) the cervix, which leads to the uterus. 

Abortion law in Missouri

Current law bans abortion in Missouri. It will be necessary for you to travel out of state to get an abortion. The FDA does not recommend purchasing the abortion pill online for the following reasons:

  • An approved healthcare provider who knows your health history should be the only one to dispense them to you.
  • The FDA has no control over the safety, quality, or effectiveness of the drugs used when you order them online. 
  • You should follow up with the healthcare provider who dispensed the drugs to ensure the abortion was complete.

The Abortion Pill Method

The abortion pill method uses two drugs over a 24 to 48-hour period to terminate a pregnancy.

All abortions cause bleeding and cramping, but the Mayo Clinic lists other potential risks of the abortion pill method:

  • An incomplete abortion. There is a possibility your body does not expel the entire pregnancy and tissue. An incomplete abortion can result in severe infection. 
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding. How will you know if you are bleeding more than you should without the direct oversight of a doctor?
  • An ongoing pregnancy. If the quality and quantity of the abortion pill drugs are incorrect, the abortion pill may not work.

Surgical Abortion

As with the abortion pill method, an abortion provider determines which surgical abortion procedure you will have based on the number of weeks you have been pregnant.

Procedures range from suctioning the pregnancy out with a vacuum-type instrument to scraping pregnancy tissue out with a sharp spoon-shaped curette. For later pregnancies, the abortion provider can use forceps to remove individual parts of the pregnancy. 

The Mayo Clinic lists possible complications of surgical abortion:

  • Perforation of the uterus. The abortion provider can poke holes in the uterus. 
  • Damage to the cervix. The cervix is the opening to your uterus. It is possible to tear it.
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall. Scar tissue can lead to unusual, absent, or painful menstrual cycles, future miscarriages, and infertility.

Emotional Risks of Abortion

The National Institutes of Health published a report about the mental health issues associated with abortion. They found that “abortion is consistently associated with elevated rates of mental illness compared to women without a history of abortion.” 

They also noted “the abortion experience directly contributes to mental health problems for at least some women.” It’s important to keep this in mind as you consider abortion.

Get A No-Cost Pre-Abortion Screening

Before moving forward with an abortion, Willowbrook Women’s Center recommends a no-cost pre-abortion screening. The screening includes the following:

  • Lab-grade pregnancy test
  • Limited ultrasound
  • STD testing
  • Consultation about abortion methods
  • Options overview
  • Confidential, no-cost services 

We are a safe place to discuss your situation, get the answers you need, and figure out how to move forward. We will not judge or pressure you because we never financially benefit from your choice.

Make an appointment conveniently online. We hope to see you soon! 

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