What are the Different Types of Abortion?

What are the Different Types of Abortion?

Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, there are two different abortion options: medical abortion and surgical abortion. A medication abortion can only happen during the first ten weeks of pregnancy, but a surgical abortion can be performed up to 14 weeks gestational age.


Any medical procedure carries its own set of risks, and an abortion is no different. If you’re navigating an unplanned pregnancy, one of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to do your research so you can make a decision with confidence.

Surgical vs. Medical Abortion

Medical Abortion

A medical abortion most commonly is where oral prescription drugs are used to end a pregnancy. The first in the series of drugs is mifepristone, which blocks an essential hormone, progesterone, so the pregnancy stops growing.


The second pill, misoprostol, is taken 24-48 hours later and is used to empty the womb. You can expect heavy cramping and bleeding for 4-5 hours as your cervix softens, your uterus contracts, and your body works to expel any pregnancy tissue.

Surgical Abortion

A surgical abortion is a procedure to remove fetal tissue from your uterus. It requires an in-clinic visit where the doctor will dilate the cervix and use a curette and suction to remove the pregnancy remnants from the womb. It may require a follow up visit.

Risks of Surgical Abortion

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as potential risks of surgical abortion:

  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to the cervix
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Scar tissue on the uterine wall
  • Infection


Many of these risks can lead to other complications, such as a weakened cervix, which can possibly affect future fertility.

Risks of Medical Abortion

The Mayo Clinic lists the following risks associated with medical abortion:

  • Incomplete abortion (may need to be followed by surgical abortion)
  • An ongoing unwanted pregnancy (if the procedure doesn’t work)
  • Heavy/prolonged bleeding
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort
  • Infection


Schedule an Appointment

At First Coast Women’s Services, we offer no-cost limited ultrasounds and pregnancy tests. These two steps will confirm the pregnancy and verify the age of the pregnancy, both of which are required to qualify for an abortion.


We’re here to give you medically accurate evidence-based education and provide a pressure-free space for you to discuss your options. Contact us today!