Methods of Abortion

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Of the many pressing issues and challenges faced by our society today, abortion is one of the most serious and heavily debated subjects. Like Euthanasia, abortion involves the decision to end the life of another. Abortion is the induced termination of a pregnancy with destruction of the embryo or fetus. Upon the decision to abort, one would have chosen to end the life of the unborn child.

Background information about Abortion
Methods of Abortion
RU486 (also called Misoprostol, Methotrexate, abortion pill (Mifeprex) or medical abortion) The Abortion Pill (RU486) is an early abortion option for women who are 8 weeks pregnant or less. It consists of two medications – mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone needed to maintain the pregnancy. When progesterone is blocked, the uterine lining begins to shed and bleeding may occur. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract and the pregnancy is usually expelled within 6 to 8 hours. Since every woman's body is different, bleeding varies from woman to woman. Some may experience light bleeding similar to that towards the end of a period while others have heavier bleeding like a heavy menstrual period. Some women do not experience any bleeding until taking the misoprostol. Medical abortion through the pill RU486 is about 97% effective. In some cases though the woman may have heavy bleeding which may require surgical abortion. Side effects may include heavy bleeding, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and heavy cramping.

Surgical Abortion - Vacuum Aspiration, D&E (Dilation and Evacuation) MVA - Manual Vacuum Aspiration involves the use of handheld syringe as a source of suction for removing uterine contents. Cervical anesthesia is used and the procedure time is 5–15 minutes. A patient can leave the clinic within two hours.

Vacuum Aspiration involves the use of a slim, flexible tube attached to an electric pump with gentle suction and the procedure takes about 5 to 10 minutes. After the procedure there is some cramping and bleeding. The method called D&E (Dilation and Evacuation) is used during the second trimester, 13 to 24 weeks and consists of two parts – dilation and evacuation. The procedure is similar to first trimester abortion but the preparation is quite different and the whole process may take 1-2 days. The cervix is gradually dilated over a period of time with the use of plastic dilators or “laminaria”. Laminaria is made of sterile, match-stick sized rods, derived from seaweed, which are inserted in the cervix. As they absorb moisture, they slowly expand to gently dilate the cervical canal.  The evacuation procedure is performed with a combination of suction aspiration and surgical instruments such as small forceps and the curette a narrow, spoon shaped instrument.

Underground Abortion Methods: What Women do when Abortion is Illegal All around the world, regardless of religion or nationality, women faced with an unwanted pregnancy sometimes opt for abortion. Of the 46 million abortions which take place around the world every year, around 19 million are performed illegally under unsanitary conditions by untrained practitioners or the women themselves. The range of methods is extensive and includes:

Herbal: parsley, papaya sap, rue, guava leaves, some herbs can be toxic and women have died from using pennyroyal oil.

Physical: catheter insertion, crotchet hook, ball-point pen, bicycle spoke, wire, uterine massage, sticks, blows to stomach.

Pharmaceutical/manufactured:  alcohol, detergent, bleach, potassium permanganate, epsom salt, quinine, pitocin, aspirin, Cytotec.

The World Health Organization estimates that around 68.000 women die every year in the developing world from the effects of unsafe, illegal abortion. In countries with total abortion bans such as El Salvador, Chile and Nicaragua, doctors are too afraid to treat women with ectopic pregnancies and other...
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