Personal & Compassionate Care in a Difficult Time
The Right To Know
Having as much information as possible is critical before making any pregnancy decisions.
When you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy you have several options. The problem is, it’s hard to think clearly when you are feeling stressed, or anxious. It’s tough to imagine the future and the impact this one decision will have on your life.
Here are your basic choices: you can carry the baby to term and parent, you can make an adoption plan, or you can have an abortion. Before you decide, you deserve to have as much information as possible.
This is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. Despite the stress – you need to weigh your alternatives. Before you choose, carefully consider the options based on information, not just emotion. Use your head to guide your heart.
An unwanted pregnancy affects other people, too. Talk to these people as calmly as possible. This will probably include the father, a good friend who can be trusted, and your parents.
Of course, you are the one who will be most affected. You will want to take responsibility for this decision – because you, more so than the others, will live with the outcome.
As someone considering an abortion, you have the right to be aware of these complications.
PHYSICAL RISKS OF ABORTION
Sometimes women bleed heavily during an abortion or a few days afterwards. With a medical abortion (RU-486) bleeding lasts 13-15 days or more. Occasionally it is necessary to receive a transfusion to replace the lost blood. Sometimes a second curettage procedure or a hysterectomy is needed to stop the bleeding.
The uterus is susceptible to infection right after an abortion especially if part of the fetus or placenta is accidentally left inside of you. Infections are even more of a risk if you have Chlamydia or Gonorrhea. Symptoms are pain and fever. This is generally treated with antibiotics but sometimes another curettage procedure must be used. If untreated, a very serious infection can develop and could result in infertility.
Sometimes the tools of abortion are accidentally pushed through the wall of the uterus during an abortion. If the instrument damages one of your internal organs, it may be necessary to do major surgery to repair the damage. This complication can cause extensive bleeding.
Effects on Later Pregnancy
Injury to the cervix may cause the early loss of a later wanted pregnancy. Scarring which blocks your fallopian tubes, may also occur. This can keep you from becoming pregnant in the future. The risk of miscarriage in later pregnancies is higher if a woman has had two or more abortions.
Other Possible Complications
The fetus may be growing in the fallopian tube rather than in your uterus. An abortion procedure could miss this. The continued growth of the fetus in your tube is dangerous and potentially fatal. Blood clots in the uterus are also common.
Anesthesia-related complications, Rh therapy
Death has occurred after abortion, although it is rare. When abortion is done after the first three months of pregnancy, the risk of death increases. The cause of death by abortion is usually from heavy bleeding or from complications with the drugs used for pain.
Some women experience an immediate feeling of relief following an abortion, but many find themselves later coping with feelings they did not expect. They may have a difficult time talking about these feelings. Some psychologists have labeled these problems as Post Abortion Stress. The symptoms of Post Abortion Stress span a wide range and can effect men who have lost a child to an abortion as well as women.
ONE WOMAN’S EXPERIENCE
“I had an abortion when I was 19. It seemed like a really logical thing to do. I could hardly pay my bills and wanted to get a decent job. My boyfriend didn’t say much. He wanted to be supportive and thought his silence was support. We later married, and admitted that we both regretted the decision.
We were surprised at how much we mourned the loss of that baby. We have both been depressed at various times, have experienced intense anger with each other over the abortion, and felt a lot of shame. Finally both of us spent time in a support group for people who have had abortions. I never expected that I would carry this emotional weight into my 30’s. We now have two children but we still regret the one we lost to that quick abortion decision.”
“Making an Informed Decision About Your Pregnancy”, Frontlines Publishing, 2001.