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Women's, Children's and Family Health

About Abortion Methods

The first step to making an informed decision concerning the outcome of your pregnancy is to make sure you are pregnant. See a health care provider for a pregnancy test, a physical examination, and possibly an ultrasound procedure to accurately determine how far along you are. The stage of pregnancy will affect pregnancy decisions. If you decide on abortion, the stage of pregnancy will affect the method your doctor uses to terminate your pregnancy.

A careful assessment of your health history may also reveal information important to your decision-making about abortion. For example, are you in good health now? What is your blood type? Do you have an illness or condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which would complicate a pregnancy? Is there a genetic family trait that could affect your fetus? Has the fetus been exposed to toxic substances like alcohol or "street drugs" that can cause damage? Is this pregnancy the result of rape or incest? And, it is vitally important to know what your options are for this pregnancy: adoption, abortion, or continuing the pregnancy and parenting a child.

Abortion Risks

Prior to any abortion procedure, it is important to make sure that the pregnancy is in the uterus. Generally speaking, the earlier in pregnancy an abortion is performed the safer it is for the woman. The risk for complications increases with advancing fetal age. According to year 2000 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overall risk of dying as a direct result of a legal abortion in the U.S. is less than 1 per 100,000 procedures.

Some of the risks and possible complications of different abortion procedures are listed in the next section. More descriptive comments can be found at the end of this section.

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