Abortion is a legal option in the state of New Mexico. As with all medical procedures, it’s crucial to understand how they might impact you both physically and mentally. If you are considering abortion, check out our Abortion Safety Checklist first. 

Learn more about the different types of abortions and all the possible side effects and risks associated with the procedures.

Medication Abortion

A medication abortion (the abortion pill) is available through the first ten (10) weeks of pregnancy. Many women believe it is a quick fix to an unplanned pregnancy, but there are risks and side effects to consider.

Medication abortion works through two powerful drugs. You usually take the first drug (mifepristone) at the abortion clinic. It blocks the essential hormone progesterone, causing fetal demise.

The second drug (misoprostol) is taken at least 24 to 48 hours later at home. It causes uterine cramping and contractions to expel the pregnancy from the uterus.

Side Effects

According to the Mayo Clinic, the medications used in medical abortion cause vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. They may also cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache


The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) lists the following risks of a medication abortion:

  • Heavy Bleeding. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you bleed enough to soak through two thick full-size sanitary pads per hour for two consecutive hours or if you are concerned about heavy bleeding. 
  • Abdominal Pain or “Feeling Sick.” Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have abdominal pain or feel weak, nauseous, vomit, or have diarrhea, with or without fever, more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol.
  • Fever. In the days after treatment, if you have a fever of 100.4 °F or higher lasting more than 4 hours, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. Fever may be a symptom of a serious infection or other problem.

It’s essential to know about the side effects and risks associated with any medical procedure beforehand.

Surgical Abortion

How far along you are will determine the type of surgical abortion used.

While there are variations in the different procedures, in general, a surgical abortion works by having your cervix dilated and the pregnancy removed from your uterus with vacuum aspiration (a suction device).

Other surgical instruments are commonly used, such as scraping tools and forceps.

Surgical abortion is invasive and more expensive than a medication abortion.

Side Effects

The Mayo Clinic lists the following common side effects of surgical abortions:

  • Bleeding, including blood clots 
  • Cramping 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Feeling faint


In addition to the above side effects, there are risks to be aware of as well:

  • Bleeding that’s heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
  • Fever
  • Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
  • Pain that gets worse instead of better
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection 

Before Your Abortion

Make sure you receive an essential pre-abortion screening before making your abortion decision. 

The screening includes an ultrasound to determine how far along you are, which will let you know what kind of abortion you are eligible for, and the location of your pregnancy, which will let you know if abortion is an option for you.

We provide no-cost ultrasounds and STI testing to help protect your health and physical well-being. Contact us to schedule your appointment today.