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ChoosingAnAbortion

Choosing to Have an Abortion

Deciding to have an abortion can be a major decision. Are you unsure?  Take the time you need to make your decision.

Planned Parenthood Toronto is pro-choice. We believe people have the right to make their own choices about pregnancy and have the right to factual and non-judgmental information about the three options available: parenting, adoption, and abortion.

There are many myths about abortion. Some people have strong opinions about abortion and may try to pressure you into a decision. To make your own choice, it is helpful to have all the facts.

Is abortion safe?

  • An abortion is a safe medical procedure that ends pregnancy.

Is abortion legal?

  • Abortions are legal. There are no legal restrictions on abortion in Canada.

What are the different types of abortions?

Surgical abortion

  • A surgical abortion uses gentle suction-type devices or curettes (scoop shaped devices) to remove pregnancy tissue from your uterus. There is no cutting involved.
  • There are 3 kinds of surgical abortions. The kind you have will depend on how long you have been pregnant and whether you have your abortion at a clinic or a hospital.
  • For more information on how a surgical abortion is done, see below.

Medical abortion

  • A medical abortion uses drugs to stop the growth of the pregnancy and to release the pregnancy tissue from the uterus.
  • A medical abortion must be done very early in a pregnancy, usually within 7 weeks from the first day of your last period.
  • For more information on how a medical abortion is done, see below.

Will the abortion hurt?

  • Generally no, but this depends on your tolerance as well as the pain medications selected/available.
  • During the actual abortion you should not feel any pain because your pelvic area will be frozen OR you will be given an anesthetic so you will not be conscious.
  • After the abortion, you may feel some cramps in your belly and have bleeding. The clinic or hospital will tell you what medications are safe to manage the discomfort.
  • In most cases, the pain from an abortion is no worse than a really bad period.
  • You may also feel sick to your stomach because of the anesthetic.

Can I keep my abortion secret?

  • Yes. The fact that you have had an abortion is private medical information. It is illegal for this information to be shared with anyone, even your parent/guardian or partner, without your consent.

Do I need to have my parent or guardian’s permission?

  • No. You do not need your parent or guardian’s permission. They do not need to know you have had an abortion unless you choose to tell them.

Will I be able to get pregnant in the future?

  • Yes. Someone who had an abortion has the same chance of getting pregnant in the future as someone who has not had an abortion.

What exactly happens during an abortion?

Surgical abortions when  up to-8 weeks pregnant

  • A flexible tube attached to a plastic syringe is inserted into your uterus.
  • The pulling on the syringe creates suction and removes the pregnancy tissue.
  • You will be awake for the procedure.
  • It takes less than 10 minutes.

Surgical abortions when 5-16 weeks pregnant

  • Your cervix will need to be opened a bit first.  You may have tablets called misoprostyl inserted into your vagina*, or you may be asked to have a laminaria tent (a natural cervical dilator) inserted.
  • A thin hose attached to a machine is inserted into your uterus. Gentle suction is used to remove the pregnancy tissue.
  • An instrument called a curette will be put into your uterus to sweep for any remaining pregnancy tissue.
  • You can be awake or asleep for the procedure.
  • It takes less than 10 minutes.

Surgical abortions when 16 weeks pregnant and up

  • Your cervix will need to be opened a bit first.  You may have tablets called misoprostyl inserted into your vagina, or you may be asked to have a laminaria tent (a natural cervical dilator)  inserted.
  • You may need to return for a second appointment to insert more laminaria tents before the procedure.
  • An instrument called a curette will be put into your uterus and will be used to sweep for any remaining pregnancy tissue.
  • You will be awake for the procedure.

Medical abortions when up to  7 weeks pregnant

  • You will receive an injection (shot or needle) in your hip which containing a medication that stops the growth of the pregnancy.
  • 3-5 days later you will put pills in your vagina called misoprostl. The pills cause your uterus release the pregnancy tissue. The tissue will look like a heavy period.
Useful Tip
In 35% of medical abortions it takes several days or weeks to release all of the pregnancy tissue.  This tissue may take 1 or more days to start coming out. There is no way to know when it will start, so you may have to leave work or school immediately if it suddenly starts. Also, medical abortions may involve more cramping and bleeding than a surgical procedure.

Download Planned Parenthood Toronto’s info pamphlet on this subject: Abortion

 


*We know that these aren’t the words everyone uses for their bodies (eg. trans folks), and support you using the language that feels best for you.