56 million abortions occur annually worldwide and though opinions on the matter are strong, many are simply unaware of how they actually work. So, regardless of whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice: What actually happens during an abortion? Abortion procedures range from taking a pill to surgical options often based on availability or how far along a pregnancy is and 92% of legal U.S. abortions take place within the first thirteen weeks of gestation. The oral tablet is effective 49 days from one’s last menstrual period often containing mifepristone; it works by blocking the hormone progesterone. Progesterone promotes smooth muscle relaxation in the uterine wall throughout pregnancy and so the pill causes the uterus to contract and the embryo to be expelled in what seems like a heavy period.
Vacuum aspiration is a surgical procedure usually used up to 16 weeks after conception and is typically performed under local or general anesthesia. The cervix is numbed and opened wide enough to pass the Slender Tube into the uterus where suction is used to empty the contents. Within the same time line, a D&C or dilation and curettage abortion can be used. First, this cervix is dilated using small instruments or medication and then a curette is used to remove the contents of the uterus If your pregnancy is between 12 to 24 weeks, a D&E or dilation and evacuation abortion is likely used although only 1.2 percent of abortions occur after 21 weeks.
In a D&A abortion, the cervix needs to be dilated wider often using osmotic dilators which are short rods made of seaweed or synthetic material which absorb moisture and slowly stretch the cervix. These are usually inserted the day before surgery. Once dilated a fetal, a placental tissue is removed at the evacuation of forceps and a curette. The decision to have an abortion after 24 weeks is extremely rare and often due to severe fetal anomalies. When abortions are allowed by the local law, they are one of the safest procedures in medicine with case fatality rates less than one death per 100,000 procedures. In the U.S., the risk of death associated with childbirth is 14 times higher in women than that of an abortion.
There are also myths that abortion is linked to an increased risk of cancer as well as difficulties in conceiving or carrying a future pregnancy But both of these claims have been refuted by extensive medical research. However, unsafe abortions practiced by individuals without the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to medical standards caused an estimated 68 thousand women to die yearly while a further 5 million suffered temporary or permanent disability. Methods range from ingesting toxic solutions, inserting foreign bodies into the uterus and even trauma.The World Health Organization has called unsafe abortions a ‘preventable pandemic’ And laws that limit a woman’s access to an abortion or make abortions illegal do not reduce the number of abortions Countries where abortions are illegal have roughly the same number of abortions.
What changes instead is the incidence of unsafe abortions. A 2011 study did find that state-level anti-abortion laws in Texas correlated with lower abortion rates in the state. But these results did not account for women traveling to other states with less restrictive laws to receive a procedure. Conversely, researchers have found that sex education and access to contraceptive methods do reduce the number of abortions by minimizing unwanted pregnancies. This can be seen in the abortion rates decreasing significantly in the developed world since 1990. Ultimately, access to legal abortions makes women’s lives safer and healthier