Get The Facts

If you are considering abortion, we can offer you a factual, medically accurate education so you can make an informed choice. Prior to having an abortion, it is critical to know how long you have been pregnant and to have the viability of your pregnancy confirmed. As with any medical or surgical procedure, finding out how it is done, the risks and side effects is essential.

Abortion Methods

Early Non-Surgical (Medical) Abortion
This procedure is used up to 9 weeks of pregnancy. A drug is given to stop the development of the pregnancy. A second drug is given by mouth or placed in the vagina, causing the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy. After receiving these drugs, women might experience cramping of the uterus, pelvic pain or bleeding, and pass clots and tissue within hours or days. A follow-up visit is necessary 12-18- days after the drug is administered.

Risks and Side Effects of Abortion Pill (RU486)

  • Nausea or vomiting, diarrhea
  • Warmth or chills
  • Headache, dizziness, fatigue
  • Inability to get pregnant due to infection or complication of an operation
  • Hemorrhaging (heavy bleeding) that may require treatment with an operation and/or blood transfusion
  • Serious infection
  • Incomplete removal of the pregnancy requiring an operation
  • Rarely, death

Since September 2000, the FDA has tracked complications in the US following medical abortions.  You should consider what the FDA says about possible side effects and complications.


Vacuum Aspiration
This type of abortion is done before 14 weeks of pregnancy. Different kinds of pain control can be used, as decided by the patient and her doctor. After pain medication has been given, the opening of the cervix is gradually stretched. This is done by the insertion of a series of metal dilators, each one thicker than the previous one, into the opening of the cervix. After the opening is stretched, a clear plastic tube is inserted into the uterus and attached to a suction system. The pregnancy is then removed. After the suction tube has been removed, a spoon-like instrument called a curette may be used to gently scrape the walls of the uterus to be sure it has been completely emptied of the pregnancy.
Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E)
This type of abortion is usually done after 14 weeks of pregnancy. The D&E procedure requires more dilation (opening) of the cervix, so it is done in two steps, first dilating the cervix, then removing the pregnancy from the uterus. Dilating the cervix can be done either by placing small sticks of laminaria, into the cervix or by placing a medication into the vagina to soften the cervix. They will remain in place several hours or overnight. Occasionally, a second or third application of laminaria may be necessary. Once the cervix has been adequately prepared, requiring from a few hours to a few days, pain medication is provided and the pregnancy is removed from the uterus using medical instruments such as forceps and vacuum.

Risks and Side Effects of Surgical Abortion Procedures:

  • Heavy bleeding, blood clots in the uterus
  • Cut or torn cervix
  • Perforation of wall of uterus
  • Pelvic infection
  • Incomplete abortion
  • Anesthesia-related complications
  • Diminished fertility
  • Rarely, death

Long-Term Medical Risks of Abortion

The “long term” effects of elective abortion are difficult to study and thus poorly understood. Nevertheless, it is important to use the best evidence available to attempt to understand these questions.

Source: Thorp JM Jr, Hartmann, Shadigian E: Long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion: review of the evidence. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003 Jan;58 (1) :67-79
Future Childbearing
Some complication associated with an abortion, such as infection or a cut or torn cervix, may make it difficult or impossible to become pregnant in the future or carry a pregnancy to term.
Psychological Risks of Abortion
After having an abortion, some women suffer from a variety of psychological effects ranging from malaise, irritability, difficulty sleeping, to depression and even post-traumatic stress disorder. The risk of negative psychological experiences may increase if a woman has previously suffered from mental health issues. Research continues to study this issue; a very recent study that analyzed previous studies found a moderate to highly increased risk of mental health problems after abortion.

Source: Coleman, Priscilla: Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1195-2009. British Journal of Psychiatry, 199:180-186
Breast Cancer
Your chances of getting breast cancer are affected by your pregnancy history. If you have carried a pregnancy to term as a young woman, you may be less likely to get breast cancer in the future. However, your risk is not reduced if your pregnancy is ended by an abortion.

Source: Coleman, P.K. (2011). Abortion and mental health: Quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009.  The British Journal of Psychiatry, 199, 180-86. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077230
Information taken from “A Woman’s Right To Know” pamphlet from the North Carolina Department of Human Resources Division of Public Health. This information can be found at

Morning After Pill

Before Taking the Morning After Pill
If you’ve recently had unprotected sex, you may be afraid of an unwanted pregnancy. Before you take the morning after pill, be sure you understand what it is, how it works and how it may affect you. Make an appointment to talk with us. We provide free services to help you understand your options when facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Before Taking the Morning After Pill
The morning after pill, sold over the counter as Plan B One Step® and Next Choice, is intended to be taken as soon as possible within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It may work on rare occasions to prevent the embryo from implanting in the uterus. But there are many factors to consider.

  • Does it work?
  • What are the risks?
  • How will it affect me?
  • What if I am already pregnant?
  • Am I at risk for an STD?
  • What if I’ve taken it before or need it again?
These are great questions to ask and we offer real answers and real help. All of our services are free & confidential. Make an appointment today and talk to us.

Please note: Our center offers client advocates providing consultation to equip you to make an informed decision about your pregnancy. However, we do not offer or refer for abortion services.

If you have had an abortion and need help,

please call 252.446.CARE (2273) or 

email .

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Rocky Mount, NC 27804


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