No woman wants to be in a situation of an unplanned pregnancy!
And most women do not want to abort an unborn baby. But if the situation arises, then the main focus is to remove the problem. Abortion often seems the most obvious – and the easiest – answer to that problem. However, on closer inspection it may not be that simple. In this two-part blog, we will look closely at the physical and emotional effects of abortion so you can understand it more fully.
Effects of Abortion: The Physical Aspects
There are two different types of abortion that are generally found in most abortion clinics. The type of abortion is dependent on the stage of pregnancy.
Abortion Pill (RU-486)
The abortion pill is given at the abortion clinic and blocks the pregnancy hormones that maintain the embryo (embryo is the early stage of a baby). It can only be used in very early pregnancy. It is recommended by the drug manufacturers that the patient make 3 visits to the clinic after taking the drug. However, most abortion clinics combine visits and often, the woman has returned home when the cramping and bleeding begin with no medical supervision. Being alone (or at the least, without medical help), can put the woman in a frightening situation, leaving her with no one to ask if the amount of bleeding is normal or not. One in 100 women require surgery to stop the bleeding after taking the abortion pill. As many as 8 out of 100 times, RU-486 does not end the pregnancy, leading the woman to require an additional procedure to end it.
To understand the physical effects of abortion, we need to share a simple description of the procedure. Depending on the stage of pregnancy, different procedures are used. All procedures involve opening the cervix. The cervix is meant to be tight and closed except when it opens naturally during the process of giving birth. The cervix is located at the at the back of the vagina and is the opening to the uterus. The fetus or baby lives in the uterus. Abortion procedures include suctioning and scraping of the uterine walls, insertion into cervix and uterus by forceps, and using a sharp instrument inside of the uterus. Forceps are a surgical instrument that resemble a pair of tongs and are used for grabbing, maneuvering, and removing the fetus. As many as three visits to the abortion clinic may be required.
You should know the risks!
Approximately 1 in 100 women having an early abortion will have complications. For abortions performed in later pregnancy, 1 in 50 women will have complications. Complications include:
* Excessive bleeding
Heavy bleeding is the most common problem after an abortion. Uterine cramping is normal after any kind of abortion. The main way that the uterus controls bleeding is to contract, squeezing the blood vessels shut. Excessive bleeding is usually caused by pieces of the baby or placenta that are left in the uterus. The uterus cannot squeeze itself shut and keeps bleeding. This is called an incomplete abortion. If the pieces are removed, often the bleeding will stop. Sometimes the bleeding is caused by a torn cervix, which must be stitched for the bleeding to stop. Additional causes can include a major blood vessel having been nicked during the procedure, or the uterus failing to contract after the procedure.
* Abdominal pain and cramping after the procedure
This can also occur during the procedure, as most abortion centers only use local anesthetic and the woman is awake throughout.
* Infection of the uterus or blood
Infection can arise from vaginal-anal bacteria moving through the open cervix into the uterus, as well as bacteria moving into the blood stream. Infection can also occur from incompletely sterilized equipment. Interestingly, abortion clinics are not subject to the same regulatory inspections by public health officials that hospitals and other clinics have. Some states have proposed regular inspections of abortion clinics. Infection can cause inability to have future babies. In severe cases, infection may be life threatening.
* Damage to cervix
In order to perform an abortion, the cervix must be stretched open with a great deal of force. Forcing open the cervix can cause damage, especially in younger women. The damage may cause inability to keep the cervix closed tight enough to carry future babies to term. Miscarriages and premature babies may be the result.
* Scarring of the uterus
Caused by scraping and use of instruments inside of the uterus, scarring can lead to inability to implant a fertilized egg in future pregnancies (2-5%). Scraping of the uterine walls may cause accidental punctures and lead to hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). In extreme circumstances, it may lead to a potentially fatal condition called peritonitis.
* Ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies not in the uterus, like in the fallopian tube)
Studies point out that the risk of an ectopic pregnancy is 30% higher for women who have had one abortion and up to 4 times higher for women with 2 or more abortions. Ectopic pregnancies can cause infertility and can be fatal. (For more information on ectopic pregnancies, read our article here.)
* Unnecessary abortion
It has been documented that abortions have been “performed” on women who actually have an ectopic pregnancy or have miscarried. It is very important to have a sonogram before an abortion to ensure that the pregnancy is in the uterus and that the fetus is alive. Fifteen to twenty percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
* Rh sensitization
This condition can occur during pregnancy if a mother’s blood type is Rh-negative and she is pregnant with a Rh-positive baby. Antibodies are produced during the abortion procedure and can attack the red blood cells of a baby in future pregnancies. She must receive medication to prevent the development of antibodies that would endanger future pregnancies.
A woman seeking an abortion should be an informed consumer. She has the right to be informed of all the risks of abortion and given resources for who to contact and where to go if complications occur.
If you or someone you know is considering abortion, it’s very important that you have all the facts before making the decision. You need a caring friend who will take the time with you to listen to your concerns and walk you through your options. We will never judge . . . We will never push. We are simply here for you.
You can even schedule your first appointment without having to talk to anyone – just visit us online and pick a time that works for you. It’s simple, it’s free . . . it’s the step you need to take to have someone who cares about you helping you with this decision.