What Are the Different Types of Abortion?

Any medical procedure is a serious decision and should be carefully researched and evaluated. This article will cover the two types of abortion: medical abortion (which is only FDA-approved up to 10 weeks gestation) and surgical abortion, typically done in the second trimester.

Surgical vs. Medical Abortion


Surgical abortion requires an in-person visit to a clinic to end the pregnancy. The earliest method of surgical abortion is Vacuum or Suction Aspiration. The abortion provider dilates your cervix via medication or a series of metal rods and uses suction to remove the fetus and pregnancy tissues from your womb.

For later pregnancies, an instrument called a curette scrapes any remaining pregnancy tissue. Sometimes, the abortion provider must use forceps to remove larger parts of the pregnancy. A follow-up visit will likely be required to ensure there isn’t an infection.


A doctor must prescribe the drugs for a medication abortion after a telehealth or in-person consultation. The abortion procedure consists of two different drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol.

The first drug, mifepristone, works to end the pregnancy by blocking progesterone, a hormone needed for fetal growth and development.

After the first medication has ended the pregnancy, misoprostol is taken 24-48 hours later and induces cramping to expel the fetus and pregnancy tissue from the womb. 

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

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)
  • Heavy/prolonged bleeding
  • Fever
  • Digestive system discomfort
  • Infection

As mentioned earlier, the FDA has approved medical abortions up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, so it’s crucial to confirm the age of the pregnancy before the abortion procedure. A no-cost ultrasound from our clinic can provide this information.

Before Scheduling an Abortion

Gathering as much information as possible is essential to make your decision with confidence rather than fear. While this article is a good starting point, we always highly recommend scheduling a no-cost ultrasound at our clinic so you can verify the viability, age, and location of the pregnancy.

Our staff is also qualified and equipped to answer questions about your options and details of the pregnancy process. We are here to help and empower you on this journey. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!