Abortion myths and facts

Myths and facts about medical abortion

Myth: Medication abortion is just like taking a “morning-after” pill
Fact: Medication abortion involves taking one medication to disrupt the pregnancy and a second one 24-48 hours after that causes the uterus to cramp and bleed, contracting to push out the pregnancy tissue.

Myth: Medication abortion is the better option with an early pregnancy
Fact: Both medication and aspiration abortion are safe and effective for very early pregnancies.

Myth: Medication abortion is safer than aspiration (surgical) abortion
Fact: Complication rates for both medication and aspiration abortion are less than 1 percent. Both kinds of abortion are very safe.

Myth: Medication abortion is unbearably painful
Fact: Pain levels vary widely – for some it is like menstrual cramps and for others more like labour pain. For the majority, the most intense discomfort lasts only a few hours, and it is tolerable with the use of pain medications.

Myth: Medical abortion isn’t safe for teenagers
Fact: Both kinds of abortion are very safe for teenagers

Myth: My regular health care provider can just prescribe the abortion pills for me
Fact: Medication abortion is more than just a prescription – it is a medical process that requires some teaching and care over a period of time. Health care providers should have special training and be able to provide a 24 hour emergency line in order to provide medication abortion.

Myth: Medication abortion is only for those too anxious to have an aspiration
Fact: People choose medication abortion for many different reasons, including having more control over the process, having it happen at home instead of in a clinic, it being less invasive or needing/wanting it to appear more like a miscarriage.
Myth: Medication abortion can be reversed
Fact: Medically, there is zero evidence to support this, and not taking the second medication may in fact be harmful as there is a risk of serious bleeding.

Myths and facts about aspiration (surgical) abortion

Myth: It is like a major surgery
Fact: An aspiration abortion is a very safe, minor procedure that involves gentle suction. There is no cutting, stitches, or scarring. It takes about 7-8 minutes and most people return to normal activities within the next day or two.

Myth: It involves more bleeding than medication abortion
Fact: Aspiration tends to have less bleeding than medication abortion. With aspiration, bleeding tends to be less than a period; with a medication abortion bleeding tends to be heavier than a period.

Myth: It makes it harder to have a baby in the future
Fact: Unless there is an extremely rare complication, abortion of either kind  has no effect at all on future fertility/pregnancies.  The chance of an early surgical abortion affecting future fertility is approximately 1/10,000. Fertility returns very quickly after both kinds of abortion, and it is possible to be pregnant again right away. We are happy to help you with birth control.

Myth: You can’t have an aspiration abortion when a pregnancy is very early
Fact: An aspiration abortion can safely take place just as early as a medication abortion.


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Everywoman’s sits on the traditional, ancestral, and un-ceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples– xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam),  Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish).