If you just got that first positive home pregnancy test, there’s probably a lot going through your mind. With the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, it’s understandable that you may be confused about what this means for you and your pregnancy options.
We’re here to help you navigate your pregnancy options and learn the facts about your options—you are not alone. There are resources and supportive services available to you. As a first step, let’s walk through more details on your pregnancy options in Pennsylvania.
Is Abortion Still Legal in PA?
Abortion services are still legal under state law in Pennsylvania up until the point of viability (generally understood to be at about 24 weeks of gestational age).
This abortion access includes both the abortion pill (or medication abortion) as well as surgical abortion (an in-clinic procedure). Which abortion method is medically necessary depends on a number of factors, including how far along in pregnancy the patient is. Abortion methods also vary in cost and associated risks.
If you are weighing your pregnancy options and considering abortion, it is very important to protect your health by finding out all the facts about your unique medical needs as well as what options are available to you.
What Do I Need to Know About Abortion First?
As with other involved medical procedures, both abortion methods come with associated risks and side effects.
The abortion pill—or medication abortion, actually a series of two separate doses—is approved by the FDA for the termination of early pregnancies up to 10 weeks gestation. It is vital for you to know that taking the abortion pill past this point in pregnancy may put you at risk for incomplete abortion or other medical complications that could be detrimental to your health.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as potential physical risks of medication abortion:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
There is another method of abortion used for the termination of later pregnancies beyond 10 weeks gestation, known as surgical abortion. This procedure is done in-clinic under a physician or provider, and typically involves some form of sedation.
While there are a few different surgical methods used for surgical abortions, one of the most common is known as dilation & curettage (D&C). This involves a physician using medication or various tools to open (dilate) the cervix, and then using medical instruments including a curette to scrape or lightly suction the fetus and uterine tissue from the uterus.
It is worth noting that surgical abortions often carry a higher monetary cost because of the more involved, serious nature of this procedure later in pregnancy and the higher associated risks.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the following may be physical risks of surgical abortion procedures:
- Passing blood clots that are larger than lemon for more than two hours
- Bleeding that is heavy enough that you have to change your pad twice in one hour for two hours straight
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Pain or cramping that gets worse instead of better, especially after 48 hours
- Pregnancy symptoms that persist after one week
In navigating your pregnancy options, it’s imperative to your health for you to make an informed choice with all the information on your unique medical needs. Do you know for sure which abortion method is medically appropriate? Might you be at risk for other medical complications? These questions are best answered by a medical professional through an ultrasound.
Why Is It Important to Get An Ultrasound?
Through an ultrasound exam, a trusted medical professional can answer key questions about your pregnancy, such as:
- How far along you are (and what options are available to you at this stage)
- If the pregnancy is viable (or if miscarriage care is more appropriate for your situation)
- If the pregnancy is located in the uterus (or if you are at risk of ectopic pregnancy)
Each detail an ultrasound can help reveal to you is important to know before making your next medical steps. For instance, if you are at risk of ectopic pregnancy, you may need immediate medical treatment outside of abortion, and any delay in treatment could be damaging to your long-term health.
Schedule Your Appointment
At A Woman’s Concern, our professional medical team can help answer your questions and advise you as you navigate your pregnancy decision. Prioritize your health by getting all the information you need to make a confident, informed choice.
Schedule your free appointment today—we’re here to help.
This information is presented as an informational tool only. It is not intended to replace medical advice or care from a qualified medical provider.
Call 717-394-1561 to schedule an appointment today!
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