In the face of an unplanned pregnancy, you may be overwhelmed by the many options and choices ahead of you. As you decide what’s best, it’s important to take the time you need to understand your various options and the pros and cons of each. You may be to a point where you are already wondering which type of abortion is safest.

Your friends at Pregnancy Clinic are here to help you navigate this season and the decisions you might be facing.

For women considering abortion, we’re here to inform you about the risks and side effects of the various abortion options so you can be empowered to make the best decision for you and your future.

What are my abortion options?

There are two main types of abortions — medical and surgical — and your eligibility for abortion depends on the stage of your pregnancy.

A medical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, is a two-pill process that chemically ends and expels the pregnancy from the uterus. This option is available to women who are less than 11 weeks along and is started at a doctor’s office and completed at home.

Surgical abortions use surgical means to end the pregnancy and extract it from the uterus. All legal surgical abortions are performed in a medical setting and the method of surgical abortion used depends on the stage of the pregnancy. Regardless of the level of development your pregnancy is in, the abortion procedure will involve some form of dilation, followed by an extraction using forceps or a suction device.

Is abortion safe?

Like any serious medical procedure, it’s necessary to be informed regarding the risks and side effects you might encounter during and after an abortion.

With the abortion pill, women should expect to experience symptoms like intense physical pain, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and heavy bleeding. In some cases, medical abortions can cause clotted blood, infections, and excessive bleeding.

Surgical abortions might also be accompanied by abdominal cramping, pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition to these more mild side effects, surgical abortions can come with serious risks like heavy bleeding, infection, and damage to the cervix, uterine lining, and other internal organs. The most severe risk of surgical abortions is death due to untreated complications.

For many women, the side effects related to abortion go beyond physical consequences. A side effect women should take into consideration involves an increased risk of long-term mental health issues as many women report their abortion caused or triggered mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.1

Similarly, some women report experiencing relationship issues following the abortion procedure with a 40-70 percent increase in breakups and divorces in post-abortive couples. In addition to romantic relationship issues, women also report difficulties bonding with their future children.2

What are my other pregnancy options?

For women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, abortion can seem like the only valid option. As you make your pregnancy decision, know that parenting and adoption are both empowering options that women just like you choose every day!

Pregnancy Clinic is here to help you walk through each option — abortion, adoption, and parenting — and provide you with the resources you need to make a decision you can feel confident in.

1. Reardon DC. The abortion and mental health controversy: A comprehensive literature review of common ground agreements, disagreements, actionable recommendations, and research opportunities. SAGE open medicine. 2018;6: 1–38. 10.1177/2050312118807624 . [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

2. Women’s Health After Abortion: The Medical and Psychological Evidence Paperback – April 1, 2002. Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy (Author), Ian Gentles (Author)