• Project Defending Life

What Are the Different Types of Abortion?





Women in all walks of life face unplanned pregnancy, and one of the options they often turn to is abortion. Whether you are a student or someone already advanced in her career with specific plans for the future, if you’re considering abortion, you are not alone.


Read this article to understand the different types of abortion, any associated potential risks, and what side effects you can expect.

Surgical vs. Medical Abortion

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion consists of two drugs taken within 1-2 days of each other. The first drug is prescribed and taken at the abortion clinic, and the second is taken within the privacy of your own home.


The first drug, mifepristone, ends the fetal development by blocking an essential pregnancy hormone, progesterone. After this ends the pregnancy, the second drug, misoprostol, is taken 24-48 hours later to cause the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy, much like a natural miscarriage.

Surgical Abortion

The first difference of a surgical abortion is that it requires a visit to a clinic rather than just taking a prescription.


The procedure begins with dilating your cervix either through medication or a metal rod inserted temporarily. This allows a suction tube and other surgical tools to remove the fetal tissue and any remaining uterine lining. This procedure will often require a follow up visit to ensure it was successful and there is no remaining fetal tissue.

Risks of the Medical Abortion

The Mayo Clinic lists the following risks associated with medical abortion:

  • Incomplete abortion (may need to be followed by surgical abortion)

  • An ongoing unwanted pregnancy (if the procedure doesn't work)

  • Heavy/prolonged bleeding

  • Fever

  • Digestive system discomfort

  • Infection

While the abortion pill method is not as invasive as the surgical abortion, you can see there are still potential negative after effects.

Risks of Surgical Abortion

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as potential risks of surgical abortion:

  • Perforation of the uterus

  • Damage to the cervix

  • Heavy bleeding

  • Cramping

  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall

  • Infection

These risks can also potentially affect future fertility as well, which is essential to consider if interested in getting pregnant later on.

Schedule an Appointment

Some options may not be available to you, for example, if you have an ectopic pregnancy or you’re too far along in your pregnancy.


An ultrasound can give you all this information as well as confirm if the pregnancy is still viable (some pregnancy tests will give a false ready days after you’ve naturally miscarried).


At Women’s Pregnancy Options, we offer no cost ultrasounds in a confidential, pressure-free environment. Contact us today to schedule one and we’ll be happy to help you discuss your options and provide medically accurate information.


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