Surgical abortions are the most common abortion procedure in the United States. In 2014, about 67% of women aborted their children through the use of suction, dismemberment and poison. Women can suffer from serious health complications after a surgical abortion, especially later in pregnancy, and these complications often require additional surgery.

Types of Surgical Abortions:

There are a couple of ways that surgical abortions are committed and each is more disturbing than the last. However, abortionists often downplay the reality of the procedures, portraying it as something mundane in an effort to deceive women and the public about what happens behind closed doors. (As a warning, some of what is described as follows is disturbing.)

Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA): The contents of the uterus, including the developing preborn baby, are removed through the use of a suctioning device. It is a first trimester abortion and can be used up to 12 weeks gestation.

Aspiration Abortion or a Suction D&C: This is a procedure that can be used to abort a preborn baby up to 13-14 weeks after a woman’s last period. A local anesthesia is applied to the cervix, and a suction machine is used to remove the preborn from the uterus. After that is completed, a tool is used to scrape the lining of the uterus to remove any part of the child or the placenta that was not removed by the suction tool. (Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explains the procedure.)

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): This is a common second trimester abortion method, usually performed after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Some states are in the process of trying to ban this abortion method. The invasive procedure begins with a doctor inserting laminaria sticks (sterilized seaweed) into the cervix to slowly dilate it overnight. Then, a woman might receive a medication like misoprostol, the second drug of a chemical abortion, which helps soften the uterus and also helps dilate the cervix. An anesthetic is usually administered to the cervix and a gripping tool helps keep the cervix open. The doctor then vacuums out the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. Forceps will be used to dismember the baby and remove his or her limbs and other body parts. The skull is often crushed in order to remove it from the uterus as it is too big to come out of the cervix intact during a later term abortion. A curette or the vacuum is used to scrape the inside of the uterus to remove any remaining tissue. To check that the abortion is complete, the doctor will reassemble the deceased baby to account for all the pieces. (Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explains.)

Induction or Late-Term Abortion: This is a late second, third trimester abortion that has some similarities to the D&E in terms of cervical dilation, though the process is longer and lasts several days. There are only a handful of abortionists in the U.S. willing to perform late-term abortions. Most of these abortions occur because of an in utero diagnosis of a disability or anomaly. The abortionist first injects the preborn with a lethal dose of a digoxin or potassium chloride and then the woman is sent home. The second day she returns for additional laminaria sticks to help continue the dilation of the cervix. A couple days later, the woman usually will deliver her dead baby in the abortionist’s office or at home if she goes into labor early. If the baby does not come out intact, the abortionist will utilize the curette or forceps to remove any remaining tissue or body parts. (Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explains.)

What’s a “Partial-Birth Abortion?”

In 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. This law prohibits abortionists from “deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivering” a living baby who is then killed at some point in the birth process. Current abortionists get around the ban by killing the baby in the uterus first and then “delivering” the dead baby.

Surgical Abortion Complications:

Uterine Perforation: Abortionists use a variety of tools inside the uterus in order to remove the dead preborn baby, and each of these has the potential to perforate the uterus and other surrounding organs. This can cause bleeding and can damage the pelvic vessels, bowel, bladder, and tubes and ovaries. Depending on the location and severity of the perforation, surgical intervention might be necessary.

Cervix Laceration: During an abortion procedure, the cervix, the entrance to the uterus, can be torn or lacerated. This can lead to bleeding and the need to repair the tear with stitches, but sometimes it remains undiagnosed and could be potentially problematic in a future pregnancy.

Incomplete Abortion: This is when the abortion procedure is incomplete. This condition is potentially life threatening since the remains of an aborted baby can cause a life threatening infection.

Bleeding: Hemorrhage can occur in up to 1 percent of abortions in the first trimester and 2.5% in the second trimester. This can be caused by lacerating the cervix, perforating the uterus, or an incomplete abortion.

Infection: Occurs in 1 to 5 percent of surgical abortions. A septic abortion is one of the most common surgical complications and can usually be treated through broad spectrum antibiotics and the removal what remains of the dead preborn baby.

Anesthesia: During a surgical abortions, most women request sedation or general anesthesia, and its use is deeply concerning if the proper safety measures are not in place. Usually, anesthesia is performed by either an anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Both disciplines require years of training and have one of the highest pay grades in their respective fields. Most women are unlikely to find that level of expertise and competence in an abortion center and risk complications with lesser expertise. Even if a woman only has moderate sedation, experts suggest that respiratory support should be on site in case she has trouble breathing. It is especially dangerous if a woman’s body mass index (BMI) is too high since she has a greater likelihood of having airway problems if she uses a form of sedation.


Planned Parenthood often uses words like “ending the pregnancy” or “emptying the uterus” in order to minimize what an abortion actually is and the complications that can occur. A woman who has a surgical abortion can expect to have bleeding, cramping, and experience pain. Surgical abortions are invasive for the woman, and always fatal for the preborn baby. Any attempt that minimizes the procedure gives women a false sense of hope that it is just tissue, and not a baby.


Related articles:

Complications from the Abortion Pill(s) 

Abortion: Emotional Challenges 

The Long-Term Physical Risks of Abortions 

Bias in Abortion Research