Philadelphia Abortion Information

Philadelphia Abortion Information

If you think you may be pregnant, and are considering abortion, you have a tough decision ahead of you and the best thing you can do is get all the facts first. The Community Women’s Center of Philadelphia has knowledgeable staff that can provide all the information you need to make an informed decision. You have the right to know all the options — as well as all potential risks to you — before you decide what you should do regarding an unexpected pregnancy. Our services are free, confidential, and non-judgmental.

You have a tough decision ahead of you and the best thing you can do is get all the facts first. We have a knowledgeable staff that can provide all the information you need to make an informed decision. It is your right to know before you decide. Take some time to look through our website and learn more about the types of procedures available, your rights and other things to consider. Feel free to call us or stop in for more information!

WARNING: The information on this website is graphic by nature and may be sensitive for some viewers.

  • Types of Abortion Procedures
  • Types of Anesthesia
  • Side Effects
  • Cost

Types of Abortion Procedures

Medical Abortion Services

Methotrexate and Misopristol (MTX)

This method is used up to the first seven weeks of pregnancy. During the first office visit, methotrexate is taken orally or injected into the woman. She will return to the office in approximately 5 to 7 days when the second part of the medication will be taken. The misopristol will be taken orally or vaginally inserted. She will then return home and the abortion will take place anywhere from a few hours to a few days after her second visit. One week later, she will return to the office to have an exam to make sure the abortion procedure was completed and there are no complications. If the abortion procedure failed, a surgical abortion will have to be done to remove the fetus.

  1. Methotrexate causes the embryo and placenta to separate from the uterus
  2. Misopristol causes contractions and the expulsion, or “passing” of the embryo

Physical side effects and risks include: approximately 10% failure rate, cramping, nausea, heavy bleeding, fever

More serious physical side effects include: severe hemorrhaging and possible need for blood transfusion, serious infection and shock, and other potentially fatal risks.

Emotional/Psychological Side effects: Many women do experience emotional side effects after abortion.  Because every woman is different, these side effects may set in the same day, a few weeks later, or even years later.  Studies have shown that certain women have a predisposition to more severe psychological side effects.  Since each situation is unique, we suggest counseling prior to your abortion in order to better gauge what you might expect.

Please note: Because methotrexate is not marketed for use in this way, there are many potential side effects for women using this drug who are also on certain medications or have certain health conditions.  Please call for more information.

** Remember, abortion facilities DO NOT provide emergency medical care.  If you are experiencing a medical emergency, proceed to the nearest emergency room- do not return to the abortion clinic.

RU-486 Mifepristone (Mifeprex) and Misopristol (aka “abortion pill”)

This method is used up to the first 7 to 9 weeks of pregnancy. At the first office visit, the woman will be orally given mifepristone which will block the effect of progesterone in the uterine lining causing the fetus to starve and die without nutrients. This may also cause contractions to expel the fetus. During the second office visit, approximately 1-2 days later, the woman is given the misopristol either orally or by vaginal insertion, which will cause contractions and the expulsion, or “passing” of the fetus. This can take hours to days or in some cases, up to 2 weeks. A physical exam is done 2 weeks later to make sure the abortion procedure was completed and there are no complications. If the abortion failed, a surgical abortion will be done to remove the fetus.

Physical side effects and risks include: approximately 8-10% failure rate, cramping, nausea, heavy bleeding, infection, vomiting.

More serious side effects include: severe hemorrhaging and possible need for blood transfusion, serious infection and shock, and other potentially fatal risks.

Emotional/Psychological Side effects: Many women do experience emotional side effects after their abortion.  Because every woman is different, these side effects may set in the same day, a few weeks later, or even years later.  Studies have shown that certain women have a predisposition to more severe psychological side effects.  Since each person is unique, we suggest counseling prior to your abortion in order to better gauge what you might expect.

Please note: There are many medical conditions and physical circumstances for which women are advised by the FDA to avoid using this type of drug. For more details, please call.

** Remember, abortion facilities DO NOT provide emergency medical care.  If you are in a medical emergency, dial 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room- do not return to the abortion clinic.

Surgical Abortion Services

Suction Aspiration (also known as suction curettage or vacuum aspiration)

This method is used during the first 6 to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The woman will lie flat on her back with her feet up in stirrups. The abortion provider will then use a local anesthetic to numb her cervix. He or she will then insert an instrument known as a speculum into the vagina after which he or she will use another instrument, known as a tenaculum (which looks like a pair of scissors with the edges rounded inward) to hold the cervix in place. Then he or she will use a series of cone shaped rods gradually increasing in size, to forcefully dilate the cervix. This will feel like menstrual cramping to the woman. He or she will then insert a long tube attached to a suction device into the uterus. The suction tube will be swept through the uterus suctioning out the fetus and the placenta. This will be done using a sonogram, or ultrasound, of the inside of the uterus. The procedure usually lasts about 10-15 minutes, and the recovery usually requires a few hours.

Physical side effects: cramping, nausea, bleeding, feeling faint or dizzy, discomfort. More serious physical side effects may include: heavy, prolonged bleeding, infection, puncture of uterus or bowel, damage to the cervix, and blood clots.  

Psychological/Emotional Side effects: Most women do experience emotional side effects after an abortion.  Because every woman is different, these side effects may set in the same day, a few weeks later, or even years later.  Studies have shown that certain women have a predisposition to more severe psychological side effects.  Since each person is unique, we highly recommend counseling prior to your abortion in order to better gauge what you might expect.

Dialation and Evacuation

This method is used between the 14th and 24th week of pregnancy. A woman can choose either local anesthesia (numbing just area of the body where the abortion is performed) or a general or “twilight” anesthesia (where she would be completely unconscious for the entire procedure).

This method may take 2 visits to the clinic to complete. During the first visit, the abortion provider will insert laminaria, or synthetic dilators, into a woman’s cervix. This is a small instrument that will absorb the woman’s fluid and swell in size, similar in appearance to a tampon. The dilators will be held in place by gauze inside the woman’s vagina, and she will be given antibiotics to help prevent infection. The abortion should be scheduled for the next day.

During the second visit, the woman’s cervix will be further dilated using rods of increasing size. A tenaculum will be inserted to hold the cervix in place during the procedure.

During many procedures, a drug called Cytotec, which is a brand name of misopristol, a chemical which induces labor by causing uterine contractions may be placed in tablet form inside the woman’s cheeks.

Once open enough, the abortionist will insert a tube connected to a suction machine into the uterus. He or she will then sweep the tube, attached to a curette (which looks like a sharply sided spoon), through the uterus and along the walls to remove the fetus and placenta. Forceps will be used to remove the larger parts of the fetus which can not be removed through the tube.

The abortionist will then reconstruct and inspect the remains of the fetus to make sure that no part of the fetus or the placenta was left in the uterus in order to avoid infection or an incomplete abortion.

This procedure will take about 10 to 15 minutes but the recovery will require a couple hours.

Physical Side effects include: nausea, vomiting, bleeding, cramping, discomfort, soreness, feeling faint or dizzy.

More serious side effects include: heavy prolonged bleeding, severe, sometimes fatal infection, puncture of uterine wall or bowel, damage to the cervix, and blood clots.

Psychological/Emotional side effects: Most women do experience emotional side effects after an abortion.  Because every woman is different, these side effects may set in the same day, a few weeks later, or even years later.  Studies have shown that certain women have a predisposition to more severe psychological side effects.  Since each person is unique, we highly recommend counseling prior to your abortion in order to better gauge what you might expect.

***

Types of Anesthesia Used during abortion

Many abortion clinics do not have the medical capability to provide general anesthesia.  Most commonly, abortionists will use a local anesthesia to numb the cervical and vaginal area of the body. This will make it so that a woman is conscious through the entire procedure, and she can feel tugging or what may feel like menstrual cramping during the procedure.

The abortion clinic may offer different levels of sedation to women, but because the procedure is done as an outpatient surgery, they would prefer women to be as awake and aware as possible so that they can return home as soon after as they can.

For late term abortions, usually a woman will be fully sedated. They will use an intravenous (IV) injection through her arm to administer medication to sedate her. This will allow a woman to be unconscious through the entire procedure but it also carries much greater risks. Not all abortion clinics offer general anesthesia because of their medical limitations. The cost of the procedure is also greatly increased due to the extra medical care needed. The woman would have a longer recovery period and more side effects after the abortion.

***

Side Effects

All surgical abortions carry a risk of side effects- the most commonly experienced being cramping, nausea, bleeding, and feeling faint.

Other side effects which are more serious but less likely include infections, damage to the cervix, damage to the uterus, blood clots, and heavy or prolonged bleeding. If these symptoms occur, a woman should immediately go to the emergency room.

Abortions that occur after 14 weeks have a significantly increased risk of complications due to the size and development of the fetus.

Emotional/psychological side effects vary based on an individual woman.  Please call for a consultation.

***

Cost

An abortion done during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy will cost at least $350 and can cost up to $750. Later term abortions are usually done in hospitals because of their increased risks and are therefore more expensive.