There are two general types of abortion available to women in the U.S.: surgical and non-surgical (also known as "medical") abortions.
The vast majority (99%) of abortions performed in the U.S. today are surgical. The most common surgical methods include vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage (D&C), and dilation and evacuation (D&E). A much less common surgical method used for later abortions is dilation and extraction (D&X), a D&E variant.
Vacuum Aspiration: This method of abortion involves the use of a tube which has a strong suctioning ability. It has been said that this machine has a suctioning strength about 27 times that of a household vacuum cleaner. This device is inserted into the womb and in pieces, the baby, along with the placenta, are sucked form the womb and then disposed of in a waste bin of some sort. This method is usually only used in the first three months of pregnancy.
Dilation and Curettage: In this case, the mother's cervix is dilated and ring forceps are inserted in her womb. Piece by piece, the baby is extracted, and a sharp loop-shaped knife is inserted back into the mother and used to scrape away the remnants of the baby or placenta. This method is normally used at the end of the third month of pregnancy, or the beginning of the second trimester, and profuse bleeding tends to follow.
Dilation and Evacuation: After the thirteenth week of pregnancy, this method is used. Like the previous method, the mother's cervix is dilated. The unborn baby is dismembered with the aid of forceps. The forceps are used to grab the leg or other body part, twisted, and the force used to pull it out snaps the baby's spine and crushes the skull. To ensure no remnants of the baby are left in the womb, the pieces of the baby are reassembled. If all parts are not removed, this can cause serious complications and death can occur.
Medical (Non-Surgical) Abortions
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