Overview

An abortion procedure occurs when an in-clinic procedure is used to end a pregnancy.  Two of the most well-known methods are vacuum aspiration and Dilation and Evacuation (D&E).  Vacuum aspiration is used up to 14-16 weeks of pregnancy and is the most common abortion procedure during the first trimester.  D&E can be used for abortions occurring after 16 weeks of pregnancy, which are uncommon.  This procedure is also used outside of abortion care as a treatment for miscarriages.  Generally, abortion procedures can take 5-10 minutes to complete and are done under the supervision of medical providers.  For some abortion seekers, it may be necessary to have an abortion procedure instead of a medication abortion because of underlying health disorders like bleeding or clotting conditions.

For information about abortion procedures see below.

Planned Parenthood, “In-Clinic Abortion”, Planned Parenthood, https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/in-clinic-abortion-procedures 

Salzman, Sony. “In-clinic ‘surgical’ abortion procedures: What are they, who needs them?” ABC News, July 19, 2022, https://abcnews.go.com/Health/clinic-surgical-abortion-procedures/story?id=87013603 

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). “FAQs: Abortion.” ACOG, Questions, https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/induced-abortion.

University of California San Francisco. “Surgical Abortion, First Trimester.” UCSF Health, https://www.ucsfhealth.org/treatments/surgical-abortion-first-trimester.

University of California San Francisco, “Medical Versus Surgical Abortion.” UCSF Health, https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/medical-versus-surgical-abortion.

Guttmacher Institute, “State Legislation Tracker, Major Developments in Sexual and Reproductive Health”, Guttmacher Institute, 31 August 2022, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy#.

Guttmacher Institute. “Bans on Specific Abortion Methods After the First Trimester.” State Laws and Policies, 1 August 2022, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/bans-specific-abortion-methods-used-after-first-trimester.

American Bar Association, Resolution 107A, opposes criminal prosecution of any person having an abortion, or for experiencing a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other pregnancy outcome. See Resolution and Report at: https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/directories/policy/midyear-2021/107a-midyear-2021.pdf.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Joint Statement on Abortion Access During the COVID-19 Outbreak”, 18 March 2020, https://www.acog.org/news/news-releases/2020/03/joint-statement-on-abortion-access-during-the-covid-19-outbreak.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG),” Statement of Policy, Abortion Policy”, Revised and Approved: May 2022, https://www.acog.org/clinical-information/policy-and-position-statements/statements-of-policy/2020/abortion-policy.

According to the Pew Research Center’s reporting on data from the CDC, in 2019, 56% of abortions in clinical settings were surgical abortions, while 44% were medication abortions.  However, preliminary data from the Guttmacher Institute indicates that in 2020, there were more medication abortions than surgical abortions. Diamant, Jeff, Mohamed, Besheer. “What the data says about abortion in the U.S.”. Pew Research Center, 24 June 2022, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/06/24/what-the-data-says-about-abortion-in-the-u-s-2/

According to the University of California San Francisco, abortion procedures are successful and do not require a repeat procedure or medical intervention 98% of the time. University of California San Francisco, “Aspiration Versus Medication Abortion UCSF Health, https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/medical-versus-surgical-abortion

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