Safe Abortion


An abortion is the removal or expulsion of an embryo or foetus from the uterus. It may be induced or spontaneous (miscarriage).


Types of Abortions

There are 2 types of abortions.

  • Spontaneous abortion refers to a natural process by which the embryo is expelled. It is also referred to as a miscarriage.
  • Induced abortion refers to termination of pregnancy.


A large percentage of the product of the union of an egg and a sperm does not get implanted in the uterus and therefore the uterus often has to expel it. This may occur very early on with the woman only experiencing a larger than usual blood flow around the time of her expected menstrual period, or it may occur later.

When it occurs later, the event is commonly called a miscarriage, but technically it is a spontaneous abortion if it occurs before twenty weeks of conceptionSpontaneous abortions can be the body’s way of preventing the birth of a defective child. Sometimes they may also occur due to maternal health problems.


These result from a planned interruption or termination of pregnancy. Medical and surgical methods may be used for induced abortions.


This term refers to abortions that are thought to be necessary because of fetal anomalies, rape, or to protect the health of the mother when the birth of a child might be life threatening or may be physically or psychologically damaging to her.


Termination of the embryo at the woman’s request for reasons other than fetal anomalies or maternal risk is often referred to as elective or voluntary abortion. Such abortions often result from social problems, such as teenage pregnancy, non-marital births, and economic difficulties such as insufficient income to support a child, inappropriate timing or failed contraceptive usage.

If you want to discuss any of the above issues with a health professional , or want advice or suggestions , please call the toll free number 0800 22 333 or email the Panel Specialist at and get an answer within 24 hours.


An unsafe abortion is the termination of an unintended pregnancy by persons lacking the necessary skills, or in an environment lacking the minimal medical standards, or both. Unsafe abortion is a significant maternal health risk. According to WHO, worldwide, 48% of all induced abortions are unsafe and responsible of one in eight maternal deaths.
Complications of unsafe abortion include incomplete abortion, infection, heavy bleeding, and injury to the internal organs, such as puncturing or tearing of the uterus resulting in permanent loss of ability to conceive (infertility).


Medical abortion is non-surgical abortion that uses pharmaceutical drugs. It is an option for women who are 8 weeks pregnant or less.

How far along in the pregnancy can you be?

Up to 8 weeks (49 days) for best success (97%). Success rates decrease as the pregnancy advances.

How long does it take?

It usually takes several hours for the abortion to occur.

How painful is it?

From mild to very strong cramping on and off throughout the abortion (commonly a 1 to 3 hour period). Simple pain killers can be taken for such pains.

How much would you bleed?

Heavy bleeding and passing clots is common during the abortion. Afterwards, lighter bleeding is common from 9 to 14 days or longer.

Can you still have children afterwards?


What are the side-effects?

Side-effects may include heavy bleeding, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and heavy cramping.


There are two surgical methods of abortion; suction-aspiration and dilation and evacuation (D&E)

How far along in the pregnancy can you be?

Suction-Aspiration method for pregnancy of 6-12 weeks. A pregnancy less than 6 weeks may increase the chance of failed abortion.
Dilatation and Evacuation method for pregnancy of 15 to approximately 26 weeks.

How long does it take?

One 3-4 hour visit to the clinic. The abortion procedure itself takes 3 to 5 minutes.

How painful is it?

From mild to very strong cramping during the abortion (commonly a 5 to 10 minute period). Pain killers are often given during the procedure.

How much would you bleed?

Usually light to moderate bleeding and may continue for up to 6-8 weeks

Can you still have children afterwards?

Yes, provided the procedure is done by an expert.

Are there any side-effects or complications?

Complications are rare (less than 1%) if the procedure is done by an expert. Nausea, vomiting and headache can happen due to anesthesia or pain killers.