Mifeprex/Mifepristone (RU-486; Abortion Pill)
This drug is FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved for use in women up to 70 days after their last menstrual period. The FDA-approved procedure may require up to three office visits. On the first visit, the woman is given pills (mifepristone) that will cause the death of the embryo. Two days later, she is generally given a second drug (misoprostol) which causes cramping that expels the embryo. The last visit is to determine if the procedure has been completed.
Manual Vacuum Aspiration
This surgical abortion is done early in the pregnancy up until 13 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. The cervical muscle is stretched with dilators (metal rods) until the opening is wide enough to allow the abortion instruments to pass into the uterus. A hand held syringe is attached to tubing that is inserted into the uterus and the fetus is suctioned out.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
This surgical procedure is done from 13 weeks from the last menstrual period and above. In this procedure, the doctor opens the cervix with a dilator (a metal rod) or laminaria (thin sticks derived from plants and inserted several hours before the procedure). The doctor inserts tubing into the uterus and connects the tubing to a suction machine. Forceps are used to pull fetal parts out through the cervix. Sometimes the doctor may use a curette, a loop-shaped knife, or suction to remove any remaining tissue or blood clots from the uterus.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E After Viability)
This procedure is done from 24 weeks after LMP and up, and takes two to three days. Lethal injections may be given to stop the fetal heart. The cervix is softened and dilated for 3 days prior using laminaria and vaginal medication. General anesthesia may be used if available or IV sedation and local anesthetic may be given. Surgical instruments are used to grasp and pull fetal parts out through the open cervix. The fetal skull usually needs to be crushed before removal.
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