Many women feel that abortion is the best option for them, but hesitate
because of concerns regarding the medical procedure. Following are the questions
we hear most often, with our answers supported by careful research. It is
important to underline that anti-choice groups, intent on preventing abortions,
have spent a lot of money supporting research that will make abortion appear
unsafe and their money also goes into the dissemination of this false information.
You may come across this information and be worried. Pro-choice groups have
looked at the available research and support findings published by unbiased
researchers. We use these findings to answer women’s questions.
Is abortion safe?
All medical procedures carry some degree of risk. Abortion is in the
category of minor medical procedures and as such has one of the lowest
rates of complication. To put things in perspective, abortion is considered
to be twenty times safer than childbirth.
Will I be able to have children in the future?
Abortion, performed by a competent medical practitioner using the method
we use - dilation, aspiration and curettage - is unrelated to infertility.
Infertility is primarily caused by untreated infection, usually resulting
from a sexually transmitted infection. If you think you are at risk for
such an infection it may be a good idea to get checked before you have
an abortion. We do a routine screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea, common
sexually transmitted infections that are easily treated with oral antibiotics.
Is the procedure painful?
We give a combination of pain medication including a local anaesthetic
and a strong narcotic given intravenously. We do not use a general anaesthetic
and are not equipped to do so; we also feel that a general anaesthetic
adds an unnecessary degree of risk to the procedure. An abortion takes
an average of five to ten minutes to perform and the medication we provide
is appropriate for the level of discomfort expected. If you have specific
questions about drugs offered we will be happy to answer them.
Can I have a hemorrhage?
Hemorrhage is extremely rare with the aspiration-curettage method, especially
in healthy women. We are equipped to handle such an emergency were it
to occur, and a registered nurse is always present during the procedure
for reasons of health and safety.
How late can a woman have an abortion?
In Quebec, abortion is available up to twenty-two weeks of pregnancy,
and at our clinic up to eighteen weeks. As this procedure requires more
preparation, we see the woman once or twice before the procedure. If the
pregnancy is beyond our twenty week limit, we refer the woman to another
service, either here in Quebec or to a clinic in the United States of
America where late second trimester abortions are performed.
What is surgical abortion?
An abortion performed by dilation, aspiration and curettage is referred
to as a surgical abortion as it requires instrumentation; unlike most
surgery nothing is cut. The cervix of the uterus is gently dilated so
that a small cannula may be introduced into the uterus and the products
of conception aspirated. An exploratory curettage is performed at the
end to allow the doctor to be sure the uterus is empty. This technique
has been practised for many decades and is very safe when performed by
an experienced physician.
When can I resume normal activities?
Some women choose to rest on the day of the procedure, while many return
to work or school on the same day. Other than activities that could increase
your risk of infection we suggest doing what you usually do while listening
to your body. You may want to rest for a few days, and you may need to
wait to resume athletic activities.
Link to a pro-choice organization