What Needs to be Considered Before Having an Abortion

Your Options







Click Here for Resources Pertaining to Side Effects of Abortion 


A first trimester abortion is an abortion done up to 12 weeks of 

pregnancy. There are two types of abortions that can be performed 

during the first trimester, a surgical abortion and a chemical abortion.


   Surgical abortions can be performed starting from the earliest that the pregnancy can be seen by ultrasound. A surgical abortion can be done safely only if the pregnancy can be definitely seen inside the uterus on careful ultrasound exam. The lower limit of visualization 

of a pregnancy by ultrasound is 5 weeks by menstrual age (approximately 3 weeks after conception). The surgical abortion method used for first trimester abortions is known as suction dilatation and curettage (D&C). During the procedure, the cervical canal is very gently dilated with sterile dilators, and the uterine contents are gently suctioned out with sterile, one-use-only, disposable plastic uterine curettes.


Chemical abortions may be done in pregnancies less than 

6 weeks by menstrual age. In this method, medications are 

used to cause the pregnancy to stop growing and be expelled

in a manner similar to a miscarriage. The benefits, side effects, 

and alternatives are extensively discussed with each patient 

who chooses a non-surgical abortion. While this method may be 

appealing to some, it is not the ideal choice for every woman.



A second trimester abortion is done between 12-26 weeks of 

pregnancy. The procedure sometimes can involve two or three 

consecutive office visits all depending on ultrasound information 

and patient medical history, although some patients are able 

to have the procedure in one visit.


During the first step, sterile, disposable laminaria sticks are gently and expertly inserted into the cervix to dilate or open it. Once the laminaria sticks are in place inside the patient’s cervix, a period of time elapses to allow the laminaria sticks to gradually dilate the cervix. The patient usually returns the following morning for the second step of the second trimester abortion.
During the second step of the procedure, the gynecologist, with special expertise in second trimester abortions, uses a method called dilatation and evacuation (D&E). D&E is the safest method for second trimester abortions. In order to increase the safety for women having a late term abortion, ultrasound guidance is used but there are always risks involved since this procedure is more invasive.


Often referred to as late term abortions, are legal in a number of 

states including Maryland and Washington D.C. The time frame 

referred to as late term is often based on when a baby is considered 

“viable” (meaning able to survive outside the womb). However, the point of “viability” is a grey area in many medical communities. 

Most medical communities establish 24 weeks gestation, the later

part of the second trimester, as the earliest time of viability. Therefore, 

the availability of any procedure used in the third trimester is based 

on the laws of that state.

The procedures that can be done in the third trimester include:

  Induction Abortion:a rarely done surgical procedure where saltwater, urea, or potassium chloride is injected into the amniotic sac; prostaglandins are inserted into the vagina and Pitocin 

is injected intravenously.       


Dilation and Extraction:a surgical abortion procedure used to 

terminate a pregnancy after 21 weeks of gestation. This procedure 

is also known as D & X, Intact D & X, Intrauterine Cranial 

Decompression and Partial Birth Abortion. In the latter, there are 

two possible procedures: 1) severing the brain from the spinal cord 

using a sharp instrument once the baby's head is delivered; and 2) 

injecting digitalis into the baby's heart using a long amniocentesis 

needle which causes a heart attack (monitored it by using an 

ultrasound so that it can be determined that there is no heartbeat

in the baby).


Choosing to continue your pregnancy and become a parent can be challenging and rewarding. With the support of caring people, educational classes, and other resources, many women find the help they need to make this choice. We offer free services designed to assist you in your parenting decision and walk you through the pregnancy.

Helping you with Parenting
As a soon first-time parent (or a parent of more than one child), we will help you to get off to a great start. We offer our Pregnancy Education Classes which helps to provide information about:

Eating for Two
Going it Alone (Single Parenting)
Labor and Delivery
Breast Feeding
Bonding with your Unborn Baby
Getting Ready for Baby
Newborn Care

You will meet with a mentor who will guide you through the pregnancy, encourage you, and advocate for your needs with other agencies. Many women who have gone through this program say it was very helpful and fun! It is a great step to begin your parenting. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity! 


You have lots of choices with adoption. Will it be open or closed? Will it be private or will you use an agency? 

  • You are in the driver's seat when making an adoption plan and there are lots of things to consider if you don't want an abortion and aren't ready to be a parent
  • In today's adoptions, you can know your child and be a part of your child's life. You can have the peace of knowing your child is loved and cared for by the couple you choose.
  • We can help you understand your options with adoption. A compassionate peer counselor can provide you with information to help you make the best choice.  Contact us at 301-423-0063 to learn more.

Adoption Agency Referrals: Click Below
Bethany Christian Services
Barker Adoption Foundation
Catholic Charities
Birth Mother's Choice