People on both sides of the abortion argument sometimes know very little about what an abortion actually encompasses and the stages of development during these abortions. Before coming to an conclusion on where you fall on the issue, it’s important to know what goes on during the abortion procedure. This is an unbiased look at what abortion is.

First trimester

During the first three months of fetal development, the baby will develop all of his/her organs. The baby will also have developed a head, nose, toes, elbows that bend, genitalia, and fingernails.

The abortions during the first trimester are:

      • Methotrexate and Misoprostol (MTX) is a two step method occurring within the first seven weeks of pregnancy with the first step being a methotrexate tablet taken by mouth or an injection of methotrexate administered by a doctor. The methotrexate will stop the growth of placenta which makes it separate from the mucous membrane. The second step is tablets of misoprostol which can be taken orally or inserted vaginally, although some doctors may administer it buccally, or inside the cheek. This second step usually occurs 5 to 7 days after the first step. This second step will cause contractions so that your body passes the contents of the uterus. 

      • Mifepristone and Misoprostol is a two step method occurring between the seventh and ninth weeks of pregnancy. The first step is taking the Mifepristone tablet which will block the natural substance of progesterone that is needed for your pregnancy to continue. 24 hours later, the second step of taking the misoprostol occurs which causes contractions so that your body passes the contents of the uterus.

      • Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) is a procedure that can be used from the third week of pregnancy up until the twelfth week of pregnancy. This is considered to be one of the less invasive surgical procedures. There is only local anesthesia that is applied to the cervix. This procedure includes a special syringe that uses suction to get the contents of the uterus out.

      • Aspiration is a surgical abortion technique that occurs within the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. This procedure is done with a suction catheter being inserted to the uterus to extract the pre-born baby before removing any remaining parts by using tools to scrape the uterus.

Second trimester

During the second trimester, the baby can urinate. The sex of the baby becomes more obvious. Scalp pattern is formed. Eyes begin to move. Toenails develop. The baby begins to hear things. They can suck their thumb. Hair can become visible. Fingerprints and footprints form. The baby can respond to your voice. Finally, the baby’s lungs develop.

Babies can survive outside of the womb at 22 weeks. 

The abortion during the second trimester are:

      • Dilation & Curettage (D & C) is a surgical procedure done within the first 16 weeks  where the cervix is dilated. An instrument is then inserted into the uterus to remove the the preborn baby by scraping the walls of the uterus and normally suctioning them out. This procedure is a lot like aspiration.

      • Dilation & Evacuation (D & E) is a surgical procedure used after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy where the cervix is dilated then instruments are used to dismember and extract the preborn baby from the uterus. 

      • Instillation Abortion is a rare saline abortion that is performed before the 16th and 24th week of pregnancy where substances including saline, digoxin, potassium chloride, or prostaglandin are injected into the amniotic sac. This chemically burns the preborn baby and it normally takes an hour before the preborn baby is killed. The solution that is injected into the sac also causes contractions therefore the mother will give birth the next day to her stillborn child.

Third trimester

During the third trimester of pregnancy, a baby’s hearing is fully developed. The baby responds to stimuli and changes positions frequently. The brain is developing rapidly, lungs are close to full development, and the baby is ready to be born. 

“Late term abortions” are normally done by D & E’s or there is an instillation abortion.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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