A surgical abortion is a surgical procedure that results in the termination of a pregnancy. Like all surgical procedures, surgical abortion poses certain health risks to the women choosing to undergo it. Please note that Obria Medical Clinics do not perform or refer for abortions except as required by law.

Dilation And Curettage With Vacuum Aspiration Procedure

Also called Suction Curettage, this procedure is a surgical abortion procedure usually employed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The doctor opens the cervix with dilators (metal rods) and then empties the uterus via a hollow plastic instrument connected by tubing to a suction machine. After suctioning, the doctor may scrape the walls of the uterus with a loop-shaped curette to ensure that the fetus, placenta and contents of the uterus are completely removed.

Dilation And Evacuation Procedure

A surgical abortion procedure generally performed between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. The doctor inserts laminaria sticks into the cervix for 1-2 days to start the dilation process; these dried seaweed sticks absorb moisture and expand, causing the cervix to enlarge. On the day of the procedure, the physician will use dilating rods to further enlarge the cervical opening. The fetus is removed with forceps, along with the placenta and other tissue. A curette may then be used to scrape the uterus to make sure that all tissue has been removed.

Dilation And Extraction Procedure

A late-term surgical abortion procedure that takes three days to complete. During the first two days, the cervix is dilated and medication is given for cramping. On the third day, the woman receives medication to start labor. After labor begins, the doctor uses ultrasound to locate the position of the fetus. Using forceps, the doctor rotates the fetus, grasps the legs and pulls the torso, arms and shoulders through the birth canal. An incision is made at the base of the fetus’s skull and a suction catheter is placed into the cranium. The catheter removes the cerebral material until the skull collapses and then the fetus is completely removed.

Side Effects

  • Cramping of the uterus or pelvic pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Emotional/Psychological distress
  • Vaginal Bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


  • Infection of the uterus
  • Infection of the fallopian tubes (which can cause scarring and cause infertility)
  • Puncture (perforation) of the uterus
  • Scarring of the uterine lining (suction tubing, curettes and other abortion instruments may cause permanent scarring of the uterine lining)
  • Damage to the cervix (creating complications with future pregnancies)
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Death, in rare circumstances

Choosing an abortion provider

If you choose abortion, there are several things to consider. It is not a risk-free procedure and needs to be treated seriously. To ensure a woman’s health and safety, there are several very important questions to ask yourself and the abortion provider.

  • Have I confirmed that my pregnancy is viable?
  • Do I understand the risks involved in an abortion procedure?
  • Am I going to a licensed medical clinic?
  • Who performs the surgical abortion procedure? A licensed OB/GYN physician or a nurse?

Ask to speak with the physician before the procedure regarding anesthesia choices, how the procedure is done, and the possible complications.