I Know About Plan B. But What About Abortions?

I post regularly about the many kinds of contraception available for women interested in sexual health and preventing unintended pregnancies. There is a wealth of information – granted, sometimes misleading – about contraception options for young women and the effects and risks of various kinds of contraceptives.

But what about the effects and risks of a much more disputed and often inaccurately represented issue? Abortion.

As an advocate for pro-choice reproductive health and justice, I firmly believe that all women should have access to accurate information about abortion and the right to have abortions safely because women should have control over their own bodies. That’s why I think it’s important that young women be aware of all the misinformation that exists in the United States about abortions. Studies, clinics posed as abortion service centers, and reports often provide “facts” that help to discourage or mislead women about abortions. While I have no intention of providing the many individual narratives of abortion experiences, there are some basic things to know about the procedures.

There are two kinds of abortion procedures. In-clinic abortions are medical procedures that cost anywhere from $350 – $900 and must occur within the first trimester. After 24 weeks of pregnancy, abortions are performed only for serious health reasons. Most women feel menstrual-cramp-like pain or more discomfort during and after the procedure. Typically pain relievers or local numbing medicines are used and occasionally a general anesthesia is offered (though it increases the medical risks of the procedure).

A second option is the abortion pill or medication abortion. It can be used up to 9 weeks after the first day of your last period. An abortion pill is provided at the clinic and is followed with a second medicine, misoprostol, to be taken according to your doctor’s instructions. Misoprostol will cause cramps and heavy bleeding that usually lasts a few hours. The procedure works 97 times out of 100 and a follow up appointment with your clinic is required. The price of the procedure can range from $350 to $650.

The range of non-physical side effects varies just as much as the side effects of giving birth. Depending on the individual, women may experience sadness, anger, or distress after their procedure. Studies that claim that women who have abortions end up with mental health issues later on in life are inaccurate and are often propagated by anti-choice agendas. There are many factors that can contribute to how you may feel after the procedure. While there’s no way to know for sure what it will be like for you, remember that the experiences vary.

If you’re unsure where to find an accurate resource about abortion procedures, Planned Parenthood clinics can provide you with accurate information and recommend you to one of their clinics or another health care provider that performs abortions.

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