We’ve arrived at late-term abortion procedures, or abortions performed in the second or third trimester. Today, I’m going to write about induction abortion.
Induction abortions represent less than 1% of all abortions performed in the United States, and are more commonly done in the third trimester than the second, since D&E is safer, quicker, and more effective at an earlier stage. Induction abortions are done because of a medical problem or illness in the fetus or pregnant person, and allow for an autopsy and genetic testing, should there be any fetal abnormalities that are cause for future concern. It also allows grieving parents to hold, baptize, and arrange a burial or cremation for their lost, but intact, child.
Induction abortions must be done in a hospital so the pregnant person can be monitored. This procedure can take more than one day, depending on how exactly the doctor does it and how long labor takes.
Some doctors will want to induce fetal death beforehand. This can be either because of patient preference, or to be in compliance with the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Guided by ultrasound, the doctor can inject digoxin or potassium chloride directly into the fetus’ heart; this stops cardiac function.
The cervix will be dilated ahead of time as well, using osmotic dilators.
Next, medication is needed to induce labor. This could be in the form of an injection, like oxytocin, which is more commonly known as Pitocin and is used to induce labor in full-term pregnancies as well. Another option is medication inserted into the vagina, which includes misoprostol and dinoprostone. These also soften the cervix. Yet another strategy is to remove amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac, which encourages movement of the fetus and placenta into the cervix.
A person undergoing an induction abortion will go through labor and delivery. Pain medications are available during labor and delivery.
The doctor/nurse will check to be sure labor is going as anticipated. Complications, like excessive bleeding or incomplete labor, can arise, which is why the procedure is done in a hospital. The doctor will probably check on you afterwards to be sure the delivery was complete, and may need to scrape the uterus to remove remaining tissue.
After delivery, antibiotics may (should) be given to prevent infection. The uterus will shrink back to its normal size, so you can take Tylenol or Advil to relieve cramps. You’ll probably bleed and spot for the first two weeks. You should rest for a few days, or until you feel ready to resume your normal activities. As always, avoid putting stuff in your vagina for a week or more. This includes tampons and wieners and strap-ons and dildos and…okay.
Later-term abortions can carry more emotional weight than early abortions, for numerous reasons. Pregnancy hormones are going wild, and those who seek later-term abortions have usually had some difficulty in accessing or making the decision to have an abortion. It’s possible, too, that later abortions are performed on very much wanted pregnancies that, for one reason or another, can’t be carried to term. For these reasons and more, a person should never, ever hesitate to seek counseling from a grief counselor or other licensed mental health professional.
I should probably reiterate that I am in no way a medical professional. I am doing my best to provide accurate information, and always provide my sources. These posts should not be substituted for your doctor’s instructions and advice.
(The reason there are only two sources on this post is that the article on WebMD has been copied and pasted on pretty much every other site I could find detailing the procedure. Lazy bums.)