What do I need to know about abortion?

As the realization of your unplanned pregnancy settles in, you may feel abortion is the only answer. Although you’ve been told it’s an easy, safe procedure, there are risks and side effects you need to be aware of.

Abortion is a serious medical and emotional decision. Any time you are taking something out of your body, there will be side effects and possible risks.

Types of Abortions

There are two main types of abortion, medical and surgical. Which procedure they’ll perform depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy. We provide medically accurate information to help you understand what you can expect from each type of abortion procedure.

Medical Abortion

The medical abortion method can also be called the abortion pill, RU-486, or self-managed. Most people are familiar with the abortion pill, but you can only use this method if you are under nine weeks pregnant. If you’ve been pregnant longer than nine weeks, the fetus may be too large for a medical abortion to be successful.

Did you know the abortion pill method isn’t just one simple pill? Actually, the abortion pill uses two powerful drugs.

The first drug is called mifepristone. This drug stops your body from producing a hormone called progesterone. This hormone is necessary for an embryo to stay planted on the lining of your uterus. Mifepristone thins the lining, stopping the embryo from growing. This drug is usually administered at the abortion clinic.

The second drug is known as misoprostol. This drug causes your body to start cramping to get rid of the embryo and pregnancy tissue.

If you’ve taken the first drug, mifepristone, and change your mind, there is a chance the abortion pill method can be reversed. However, you need to contact us as soon as you have second thoughts. Time is important. This can only happen if you haven’t taken the second drug though.

Risks and side effects of a medical abortion include:
  • Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by a surgical abortion
  • Heavy and prolonged bleeding
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Infection
  • Fever lasting longer than 24 hours
  • Digestive system discomfort, diarrhea

Surgical Abortion

If you have been pregnant for longer than ten weeks, you’ll probably have a surgical abortion. Depending on how far along your pregnancy is, there are a couple of different procedures. These outpatient procedures are more invasive and require more recovery time than a medical abortion.

Vacuum Aspiration is essentially a dilation and curettage (D & C) to remove the contents of your uterus. The abortion doctor clears out all the tissue through suction or a sharp surgical instrument by using a curette. This procedure can usually be performed up until your 15th week.

Dilation and evacuation (D & E) abortion is performed after the 15th week. The abortion doctor inserts a tube attached to a suction machine to empty the contents of the uterus. After the suction tube is removed, a curette is used to scrape any remaining tissue from the lining of your uterus.

Risks and side effects of a surgical abortion include:
  • Bleeding, including blood clots (some could be as large as a lemon)
  • Pain and cramping
  • Uterine perforation
  • Infection with fever, abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling faint, sweating

Am I really pregnant?

Just having a late period doesn’t mean you’re actually pregnant. Read our list of multiple pregnancy symptoms, then get a pregnancy test and ultrasound at no cost to you. We’ll provide you with all the information you need before you make an abortion appointment.

How far along am I?

The best way to determine how long you’ve been pregnant is with an ultrasound. At Charis Center, we offer ultrasounds at no cost to you.

Could I have an STD?

Being tested for STDs/STIs is a healthy practice for anyone sexually active. It’s the only way to know for sure if you have an STD. It is possible to be pregnant and have an STD which is dangerous for both you and your baby. We’ll be happy to give you referrals for STD testing in our area.

Voluntary and Informed Consent:

Did you know in Oklahoma, abortion can’t be performed without your voluntary and informed consent?

This means no one, regardless of his/her relationship with you, can force you to have an abortion against your will. If you feel threatened or pressured into having an abortion you don’t want, you have the right to contact any local or state law enforcement agency to receive protection, whether you were threatened or actually suffered from physical abuse or violence.

Additionally, an abortion facility cannot legally perform, induce, prescribe, or refer you for an abortion without your voluntary and informed consent. By law, every abortion facility must post a sign that provides this information for patients.

The abortion facility must also provide you with the following information at least 72 hours before an abortion:

  • The name of the physician who will perform the abortion. Confirm that he or she is a licensed physician and a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist.
  • The medical risks associated with the particular abortion procedure to be employed
  • The probable gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed
  • The medical risks associated with carrying your child to term, availability of free ultrasound imaging, and heart tone monitoring facilities
  • Medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care
  • The father is liable to assist in the support of your child
  • You have the option to review printed materials provided by the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision, which include a Resource directory and Information Booklet
  • You have the option to review the material via the Internet, www.awomansright.org

We do not provide or refer clients for services that render the termination or endangerment of human life.