Q. How safe is abortion?

A. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) notes that nearly half of women under 45 in the United States have had an abortion at some time in their lives. A first-trimester abortion in a reputable clinic using local anesthesia is the safest and most commonly performed outpatient procedure in the United States today.

Complication rates are low. In fact, complications from a first trimester abortion are considerably less frequent and less serious than those associated with giving birth. Some possible complications include incomplete abortion, infection, laceration of the cervix, heavy bleeding, resuction, uterine perforation, allergic reaction to a medication (including shock or cardiac arrest). According to NAF statistics, 97% of women having abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy report no complications; 2.5% have minor complications that can be handled at the medical office or abortion facility; and less than 0.5% have more serious complications that require some additional surgical procedure and/or hospitalization.

Anti-abortion activists claim that having an abortion increases the risk of developing breast cancer and endangers future childbearing. However, these claims have been refuted by medical research. In February 2003, a panel of experts convened by the National Cancer Institute concluded that studies have clearly shown that “induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk.” Furthermore, medical data show that a first trimester abortion poses virtually no risk to future ability to conceive or bear a child.

For more detailed information, visit the National Abortion Federation web site or call their hotline at 1-800-223-0618.

Q. What are the emotional risks of having an abortion?

A. Objective evidence and our own experience show that women feel a range of emotions after an abortion, with the most common being a sense of relief.  In 2008, the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (TFMHA) collected and analyzed the scientific research on mental health and abortion, including the psychological responses following abortion. They concluded that, “The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy.”

Women’s Health affirms women as competent ethical decision-makers, able to assess their situation, their readiness for parenting, their own well-being and that of their families. Women who have reached a carefully thought-out decision are less likely to experience doubt or regret later on. For those women who would like to speak to someone about their abortion experience, Women’s Health offers post-abortion counseling at no charge.

Q. Will you tell my parents?

A. Colorado law requires that any minor under 18 years old notify her parents or other legal guardian of her intent to have an abortion.  Click here for more information.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE HELP TALKING WITH YOUR PARENTS, TRAINED COUNSELORS ARE AVAILABLE FOR YOU. A COUNSELOR CAN MEET WITH YOU ALONE TO SUGGEST STRATEGIES FOR YOU TO USE, OR CAN MEET WITH YOU AND YOUR PARENT(S).

Q. How painful is an in-clinic abortion procedure?

A. Cramping during the procedure should be expected and varies from mild to heavy, with moderate cramping even after you go home. Pain medications are offered prior to the abortion procedure to all patients. Anyone who does not have a ride home or has a medical reason that makes them unable to have stronger medications will be offered prescription-strength Ibuprofen. Oral pre-medications are provided at no additional charge and may include a prescription-strength medication for cramping, as well as an optional relaxant. IV conscious sedation, which provides a higher level of pain relief, is available at an additional $40 charge. Whichever method of pain relief is chosen, patients are encouraged to stay hydrated by drinking and eating lightly prior to the appointment.

Patients will be given a written prescription for pain medicine that can be filled at a pharmacy if needed. Ibuprofen is also recommended.

Q. What is the difference between the abortion pill (medication abortion) vs. an in-clinic abortion procedure?

A. See a chart comparing the Pill vs. Procedure.

Q. How much bleeding can I expect after taking the abortion pill (Mifeprex)?

A. You can expect to experience heavy cramping and bleeding for about 3-5 hours after inserting the second medication, during which time you will pass the pregnancy. Heavy bleeding may last up to 24 hours. It can be normal to have irregular bleeding and spotting for 1-4 weeks after the abortion.

Q. How long will it take me to recover from an abortion procedure?

A. You should plan on two weeks of healing. During this time, you need to get plenty of rest, eat nutritious foods and avoid strenuous activity. Do not engage in intercourse or place any object – including a tampon – in your vagina. Do not take tub baths or get in a hot tub. Showers are fine.

Q. Who can I talk to about what I’m going through?

A. The counseling staff at Women’s Health is professionally trained. Call if you would like to schedule an appointment. It can be helpful to speak with an experienced listener who is non-judgmental and supportive. There is no charge for this appointment. You can call Women’s Health at any time — even years later — for support and understanding.

The information contained in this Web site, or conveyed to you electronically in response to a question from you, does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Women’s Health assumes no liability for any medical decision made or action taken based on information in this Web site.  For help with a specific medical concern, please make an appointment at our clinic by calling 303-442-5160.