Surgical Abortion

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. See the main Abortion page for abortion types and additional information. For the purposes of this page, “abortion” refers to induced abortion. This page is not referring to care for spontaneous abortion (miscarriage).

There two types of induced abortion:

How Is A Surgical Abortion Suction Aspiration Performed?

The aspiration abortion procedure is typically performed within 6 to 16 weeks gestation. If a patient is past the 16th-week mark of her pregnancy, the fetus will likely be too developed to be removed successfully through aspiration.

If you’re curious to know more about the stages of pregnancy development, click here.*

This abortion option is an outpatient procedure that must be performed by a medical professional. It typically requires the administration of a local anesthetic to manage pain and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

During the procedure, the cervix is both numbed and dilated, and a suction device is inserted into the body to remove the contents of the uterus.

After the procedure, the patient may be required to stay at the clinic for several hours to recover. The medical professional will provide antibiotics to prevent infection, but there is always a risk factor with any medical procedure.


*This website is not affiliated with Alternatives. The EHD website organizes development milestones according to post-conception week (PCW). To calculate gestation age based on Last Menstrual Period (LMP), add 2 weeks to the post-conception date.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

This surgical procedure is generally performed from 16-24 weeks of pregnancy. The doctor generally first insert laminaria (thin sticks of seaweed) into the cervix 1-2 days before the procedure to start the dilating process. These dried seaweed sticks absorb moisture and expand, causing the cervix to open. On the day of the procedure, the physician will use dilating rods to further enlarge the cervical opening. The fetus is dismembered and 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. It is important that all of the fetal parts are identified to help ensure a complete abortion.

Dilation and Extraction (D&X)

This procedure is used for 20 weeks to full term. This procedure takes three days. 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 abortion doctor uses ultrasound to locate the positioning of the fetus. Using forceps the fetus is delivered up to the head. Next, the physician uses tools to remove the contents of the skull. The skull collapses and the fetus is removed.

Anesthesia for Surgical Abortion

Three options are available for pain relief during a surgical abortion:

  1. Local anesthesia: A local anesthetic is injected into the cervix to cause a numbing effect before dilation.
  2. Local anesthesia with sedation: Along with a local anesthetic injected into the cervix, a medication usually oral, is given to help the woman relax or become “sleepy” during the procedure.
  3. General anesthesia: Anesthetic medications are given intravenously to cause the woman to be “asleep”, completely unaware of her surroundings.

How we can help!

Free and Confidential Services

Alternatives Medical Clinic is committed to providing the evidence-based medical care and education you need to decide with confidence how you will proceed concerning your unique situation.

While we do not perform abortions or provide abortion referrals, our services are an important first step when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. We do not make any money based on your decision and are committed to providing our Free, confidential services in a friendly, safe and non-judgmental atmosphere.

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Request an appointment or call 760-741-9796  for a confidential consultation. We are here to help. We inform, you decide.

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