Finding out you are pregnant can be scary, especially if the pregnancy was unplanned. Maybe you are not ready to be a parent for financial or other reasons. Maybe the baby’s father is not someone you can depend on to help you through your pregnancy and in raising your child. There are many reasons women choose to have an abortion. Having access to the most accurate and complete information about abortion and all your pregnancy options is the best way to approach the decision.
Types of abortion
There are two types of abortion. The kind you have depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy when you make the decision to have an abortion.
Chemical abortions are commonly used for women who are less than 10 weeks pregnant. Two separate medications are used in a chemical abortion, which requires a two-step process to complete. In the first step, women are administered the oral drug called Mifeprex. This drug works by blocking progesterone, a hormone that is necessary for an embryo to survive. Within 48 hours, the woman will take a second medication orally, called Mifepristone. Following the second dose, women can expect to have heavy bleeding and cramping as the contents of their uterus are expelled. Depending on how far along you are, what is expelled can include a fertilized egg or a developing embryo.
Surgical abortions are performed in women who are more than 10 weeks pregnant. The procedure involves opening the cervix and suctioning out the uterus with special medical tools. Depending on the trimester of the pregnancy, additional medical instruments may be required to physically remove the fetus from the womb. There are several levels and procedures involved with surgical abortions. If you decide abortion is the right choice for you, receiving additional information and pre-and post-abortion support is recommended.
Make sure you follow this abortion safety checklist to help protect your health before committing to a termination procedure.
Abortion patient rights
If you are exploring the option of abortion, make sure any pre-abortion counseling or support you receive provides information about your rights. The first and most important is that no one has a right to force you to have an abortion. Not your parents (if you are a minor) and not your partner. It is illegal in Albuquerque to force someone to have an abortion. If this is happening to you, reach out to someone who can help.
Other abortion patient rights include:
- You have the right to a licensed physician. In New Mexico, only licensed physicians can perform surgical abortions.
- You have the right to know the physician’s history, including whether they have ever been disciplined by the state medical board or lost their license to practice for any reason.
- You have a right to know the physician’s malpractice insurance status. Never allow a physician without malpractice insurance coverage to perform your abortion.
- You have a right to quality care, including before, during, and after your abortion. If there are complications, your physician is required to transfer you to the nearest emergency room for treatment.
- You do not have to sign away your rights. If a physician or abortion clinic asks you to sign forms saying you will not hold them liable for any serious injuries (or death) from the procedure, refuse to sign them. No reputable doctor or clinic would ever ask you to sign away your rights.
You also have the right to change your mind. Even if you are already prepped and ready for the procedure, it is OK to say you no longer want an abortion. There is no shame in changing your mind at the last minute. It can and does happen.
What are the risks of having an abortion?
Roughly 620,000 legal abortions are performed in the U.S. every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That does not mean there are no risks to having the procedure. A first-trimester abortion is considered minor surgery and the risks to the mother are relatively low. The risk of complications increases the further along the mother is in her pregnancy. Here are some of the most common risks associated with an abortion.
- Anesthesia-related complications happen in about 1 of every 5,000 abortions and can include pain, nausea, and anaphylaxis.
- Blood clots in the uterus and severe cramping happen in roughly 1 percent of all abortions. Suction curettage is required to remove the clotting.
- Cut or torn cervix happens in fewer than 1 percent of women having an abortion. When it does happen, it occurs when the uterus is stretched to allow surgical instruments access.
- Hemorrhaging will require repeat suction, medication, and sometimes surgery to repair. While some bleeding after an abortion is normal, heavy bleeding is not and should be reported to a healthcare provider immediately.
- Perforation of the uterine wall is another possibility. Medical instruments used during an abortion can pierce the uterus in 1 out of every 500 abortions. If the perforation is severe, it can cause infection or heavy bleeding that will require immediate follow-up care.
Where to get abortion support in Albuquerque
Care Net Pregnancy Centers are here for you as you make important decisions about your pregnancy. This is a no-judgment zone. We can help you through every step of your journey. We do not perform abortions at our pregnancy centers. If you choose an abortion, we can offer pre-abortion educational resources and post-abortion support. Contact us today to get the help you need.