For many reasons, women are faced with the option of aborting a pregnancy, which is a tough decision but which should be made calmly and after considering all the options that a woman has at her disposal
There are several different methods of abortion, and they can each be used at different stages of the pregnancy.
Abortion Pill or Medical Abortion: This is also called an abortifacient or a substance that induces abortion. This is to be distinguished from an emergency contraception pill or the morning after pill which prevents a conception.
An abortion pill ends a pregnancy that is already subsisting. This is usually a two step process involving two doses and is seen to be successful in 90% cases as long as it is used within 49 days of gestation.
Vacuum Abortion: If the abortion is to be performed within 12 weeks of the conception, vacuum or suction aspiration where the pregnancy is removed from the uterus by vacuuming through a syringe. This is also the procedure used after a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage or when a sample of the endometrial lining is required for a biopsy. This is now the most common and safest obstetric procedure.
Dilating and Curettage (D&C): Here the cervix is dilated and the content of the uterus are surgically removed by using a curette, or a sharp curettage to scrape the lining of the uterus and checked for completeness so that no part of the pregnancy gets left behind.
Late term abortion is both more dangerous and more controversial because it is considered a viable fetus after 20 weeks gestation. In some cases D&C is still used, however many times labor is induced for this kind of abortion.
In many places abortion after the first trimester is not permitted by law or requires certain specific criteria to be met. The risk to the mother increases significantly after the first trimester so unless there is a medical requirement to terminate a pregnancy, this is not advisable.
For more information about abortion and birth control, it is available at Planned Parenthood.org which is a good resource for information and support. Here you will get help to find the nearest Planned Parenthood health center where confidential and low cost health care can be obtained.