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Methods of Abortion

For many centuries, there has been intense debate over the issue of abortion. While some people associate termination of a pregnancy with the manifestation of violence and cruelty, others tend to consider it under certain circumstances as a compulsory surgical intervention. Obviously, as any other medical procedure, abortion has its peculiarities and consequences. Owing to advancements in the medical field, there exist several methods of abortion, including medical abortion, emergency contraception, vacuum aspiration, dilation, evacuation, and hysterotomy.

Each type of abortion involves potential effects on woman’s health and, therefore, should be performed at a certain stage of pregnancy. A medication abortion (RU-486) traditionally does not involve any surgery under anesthesia. This type of abortion considers a combination of two medications, namely mifepristone and misoprostol. Strict adherence to taking these two pills will lead to the successful termination of the pregnancy. Additionally, using such type of abortion, women do not necessarily need to undergo this procedure in a doctor’s office,. RU-486 blocks the hormone called progesterone which the body needs at an early stage of the pregnancy. Consequently, it makes the fetus stop growing and detaches it from the uterine wall. After taking the second pill, the woman may bleed or cramp during several hours. Regarding other side effects of the pills, they may include nausea, diarrhea, feeling of tiredness, and dizziness. Some females can also suffer from pain or discomfort, which is an individual reaction. However, usually, these pills enable to perform daily activities. Women use RU-486 within 2-10 weeks to end their early pregnancy.

Emergency contraception is another safe and effective way of pregnancy termination. However, doctors recommend resorting to this method only in certain situations. Emergency contraception entails taking special medications that temporarily inhibits ovulation. A woman should take a pill within three days after the unprotected sexual intercourse. This method is effective almost in 9 out of 10 cases. However, some studies show that such method of pregnancy termination is less effective if woman is more than 165 pounds (Casey). Emergency contraception includes several options, such as progestin, the combination of estrogen and progestin, and selective progesterone receptor modulator. The most common side effects of such method are usually nausea or vomiting. Sometimes, women may have breast tenderness, irregular bleeding, dizziness, and headaches. Considering the peculiarities of the procedure and a high number of reduced pregnancies, this type of abortion is one of the most effective abortion interventions as it does not require many efforts to achieve the desirable result.

Another method of abortion is vacuum aspiration, which is applicable within the first trimester of pregnancy. Usually, the female undergoes this procedure under the local or general anesthesia. First, a physician inserts a tablet into her vagina to help open the cervix. Afterwards, they place a small tube inside the womb of the woman which removes the fetus and a tissue surrounding it. Traditionally, the procedure lasts from five to ten minutes. However, after the vacuum aspiration, women need to have a rest for at least an hour. The side effects usually include bleeding that may persist for several weeks. Sometimes, women can suffer from extended cramps after the procedure (Swica). Due to the hormonal changes after the vacuum aspiration, women can experience some mood swings. Moreover, it is advisable to take painkillers so that it is easier to deal with the discomfort after the abortion.

Similarly to vacuum aspiration, the doctor performs dilation and evacuation under general or local anesthesia with the help of vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage, and certain surgical instruments. During the procedure, the cervix and fetus are removed. However, this type of abortion involves more risk than aforementioned types due to the fact that it is applicable during the second trimester of the pregnancy. Speaking of the side effects of this method of abortion, it may cause irregular bleeding and spotting within two weeks after the procedure, cramps, or various emotional reactions, such as sadness, guilt, or grief. In addition, some complications may appear after the dilation and evacuation method of abortion. The pitfalls of this medical intervention include severe bleeding, vomiting, swelling in the areas of genital, and pain in the woman’s belly (Swica). Furthermore, infection symptoms, such as headaches, muscle aches, and dizziness can be further signs of complications after the abortion.

Hysterotomy is another surgical method of abortion which involves removing uterine contents. This procedure is performed via the abdomen only during the first and second trimesters. Moreover, this method entails cutting a uterus of the woman. Some procedures require smaller incisions, whereas others need a uterus to be opened completely. The doctor applies general or regional anesthesia while performing this type of abortion. Traditionally, hysterotomy is associated with various serious risks and complications. The procedure may cause a pregnant woman to experience labor. Moreover, it is usually connected to such side effects as excessive vaginal bleeding in cases when the uterus is obtained within the woman’s vagina and adverse reaction to anesthesia. The method of hysterotomy must not be confused with hysterectomy. During the procedure of hysterectomy, the uterus is removed from the woman’s body, while hysterotomy presupposes operating on the uterus.

Summarizing the abovementioned facts, abortion remains one of the most controversial issues. Nevertheless, a large number of women decide on pregnancy termination due to various reasons. Consequently, medical experts and researches have invented several methods of abortion. Each method is applicable to a certain stage of pregnancy and has some peculiarities of its procedure.


Works Cited

Casey, Frances E. “Elective Abortion.” Medscape, 29 Feb. 2016, Accessed 13 Oct. 2017.

Swica, Yael. “Modern Methods of Abortion.” Journal Watch, 4 June 2009,