Considering Abortion

Michigan’s Informed Consent for Abortion Law*

Michigan’s Informed Consent for Abortion law was created by Public Act 133 of 1993. This law requires that certain information be made available to a woman who is seeking an abortion at least 24 hours prior to the abortion procedure. The information is designed to provide a woman with accurate and unbiased information on the procedure she is about to undertake.

The Michigan Department of Community Health has been charged with developing and providing certain documents. The following documents are required to be given to a woman seeking an abortion at least 24 hours prior to the abortion procedure:

  • A written summary of the abortion procedure she will undergo.
  • Depictions, illustrations or photographs of fetal development corresponding to the gestational age nearest the probable gestational age of the woman’s fetus.
  • Prenatal care information
  • Parenting information

*This information and additional details are available via the Michigan Department of Community Health. Copyright State of Michigan, 2014

Considering Abortion?

Are you pregnant or think that you might be? We are here to help.

Whether you have questions, just need someone to talk to or you want more information about your options our counselors are here for you.

Call us to schedule a confidential appointment or to get additional information. You don’t have to go through this alone.

There are many different types of abortion procedures; a few are listed below.  Our counselors are available to discuss these and answer other questions you may have. All medical procedures carry risks. Be sure to speak with someone who will explain all the risks and benefits of abortion so you can make a fully informed decision.

Medical Abortion Using Mifepristone & Misoprostol: Abortion Pill
Two drugs, Mifepristone and Misoprostol, are used to end an early pregnancy. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, early pregnancy means that your pregnancy began 49 days (seven weeks) or less from the first day of your last menstrual period1.

Mifepristone blocks a hormone (progesterone) that is necessary for pregnancy to continue. This drug will stop the embryo from continuing to grow and develop. When followed by the second drug, misoprostol (which causes the uterus to contract), the pregnancy is usually ended.

What You Must Do

You will typically visit the doctor up to three times. At the first visit you will be given the first set of pills that will stop the development of the embryo (an early stage of human development). A few days later, if the embryo has not been expelled from your body you will be given the second drug (misoprostol) which will cause your uterus to contract and will help expel the embryo. The final visit to the doctor is several weeks later so the doctor can ensure the procedure has been successful. If you are still pregnant a surgical procedure (described below) will be necessary. Be sure to always follow up with a doctor even after your procedure is completed so you can ensure you do not end up with an infection or additional complications.

Vaginal bleeding and uterine cramping are a normal part of this abortion procedure and will occur in almost all patients. Misoprostol may also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Your doctor may send you home with additional medicines for these symptoms2.

*Note: this procedure does NOT work in cases of ectopic pregnancy3. An ectopic pregnancy is when an embryo implants in the fallopian tube instead of in the uterus. This condition can be life-threatening if not diagnosed early.

How Effective Is It?

In U.S. research trials, ABORTION OCCURRED 96-97% WITH THIS METHOD. The remainder required surgical interventions for reasons that included excessive bleeding, patient request, incomplete abortions and ongoing pregnancy, after receiving the drugs4.

Do not take these drugs from any doctor who is not a qualified dispenser of mifepristone or who has not examined you in person. Do not take drug that are dispensed by non-medical individuals or that have been ordered online since there is no way of knowing what you are receiving or that you will have care if something should go wrong.

This procedure should be discussed with your physician for information regarding risks which may apply to you.

Suction Curettage: 1st Trimester (up to 12 Weeks)
This is a procedure generally used in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy (the first trimester). Unless there are unusual complications, this procedure can be done on an outpatient basis and will not require a stay at a hospital or clinic.

Depending on the provider and the cost, there are different methods of pain control that can be offered during this procedure. The most common is a local anesthetic (applied to the cervix) while general anesthesia (sedation) is available less frequently.

What You Must Do

You will make an appointment with a doctor or clinic for this outpatient procedure. It is recommended that you ask questions of the doctor so you will know what will happen during your procedure.

Typically, the doctor first widens (dilates) the cervix, which is the opening of the uterus. This may be over a period of several hours by inserting a small rod or sponge into the cervix or the doctor may choose to enlarge the cervix right before the abortion by inserting and withdrawing larger and larger smooth metal rods until the cervix has been opened to the necessary size5.

After dilation, a plastic tube about the width of a pencil is then inserted into the uterus through the enlarged cervix. The tube is attached to a pump which suctions out the fetus, the placenta and other uterine contents. After the suctioning, the doctor may find it necessary to use a tool called a curette (a sharp, spoon-like instrument) to gently scrape the walls of the uterus to make sure all the fragments of the fetus and placenta have been removed from the uterus. This is done to lower the risk of infection6.

The procedure will usually take about 10 to 15 minutes. You may experience uterine pain and cramping afterwards. You will remain for observation for approximately one hour following the procedure. If you are not experiencing heavy bleeding or other complications you will be allowed to leave.

This procedure should be discussed with your physician for information regarding risks which may apply to you.

Dilation & Evacuation (D&E): 2nd Trimester or later (after 12 week)
This is a procedure generally used after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The procedure can be done on an outpatient basis but may sometimes require hospitalization. The doctor will often use ultrasound to determine how far along you are in your pregnancy so he/she can recommend the best procedure.

What You Must Do

You will make an appointment with a doctor or clinic for this procedure. Since this can require hospitalization it is always recommended that you check with your doctor or clinic to see if they have hospital privileges in case a problem occurs.

To prepare for the procedure, the physician will enlarge (dilate) the cervix (the opening to the uterus). This may be done over a period of several hours by inserting a small rod or sponge into the cervix or the doctor may choose to enlarge the cervix right before the abortion by inserting and withdrawing larger and larger smooth metal rods until the cervix has been opened to the necessary size.

Most women experience some pain, so the physician will give you a pain-killer, either locally by shots in the area of the cervix or by a general anesthetic.

The uterus may be scraped with a curette (a sharp, spoon-like instrument). The fetus and placenta are extracted, using forceps or other instruments. This procedure will take approximately 30 minutes.

You will remain for one to several hours for observation. If you are not experiencing heavy bleeding or other complications you will be allowed to leave.

This procedure should be discussed with your physician for information regarding risks which may apply to you.

Medication-Induced Abortion: 2nd Trimester or later (after 16 weeks)
This is a procedure generally used after 16 weeks of a pregnancy and will usually require a hospital stay of one to two days. The skin on the abdomen is numbed by a pain-killer. A needle is used to inject a substance drop by drop through the abdomen into the amniotic fluid in the uterus which surrounds the fetus8.

Generally one of three substances is used:

  • a salt solution (saline)
  • a drug (prostaglandin)
  • or a chemical compound (urea).

Other medicines may be given to cause contractions to begin.

Labor pains generally start within a few hours. Delivery of the stillborn fetus and placenta occurs, usually within 24 hours. This may be followed by a scraping of the uterus with a curette (a sharp spoon-like instrument) to make sure the removal of the fetus and other tissue has been completed. This procedure will generally require a stay in the hospital9.

Risks and Complications

This procedure should be discussed with your physician for information regarding risks which may apply to you.

Complications may include infection, heavy bleeding, and perforation of the uterus (a hole or tear in the wall of the womb). The risks of uterine perforation and laceration are slightly greater at this stage of pregnancy than they are in an abortion done earlier due to the larger fetus and thinner uterine walls9.

The Lennon Pregnancy Center does not offer or refer for abortion services. Our Center does offer counseling and accurate abortion procedure information from reliable sources such as the Michigan Department of Community Health. The information on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice or counseling services.

“Medication Guide: Mifeprex,” The Food and Drug Administration, last modified April 22, 2009, http://www.fda.gov/downliads/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm088643.pdf

2 “Medical Abortion Using Mifepristone and Misoprostol,” Michigan Department of Community Health, last modified 2014, http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2940_4909_6437_19077-46287–,00.html

“Mifeprex: Prescribing Information,” Danco Laboratories, last modified April 22, 2009, http://www.earlyoptionpill.com/userfiles/file/Mifeprex%Labeling%204-22-09_Final_doc.pdf

4 “Medical Abortion Using Mifepristone and Misoprostol,” Michigan Department of Community Health, last modified 2014, http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2940_4909_6437_19077-46287–,00.html

5 “Suction Curettage,” Michigan Department of Community Health, last modified 2014, http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2940_4909_6437_19077-46301–,00.html

6 Ibid.

7 “Dilation and Evacuation (D&E),” Michigan Department of Community Health, last modified 2014, http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2940_4909_6437_19077-46298–,00.html

8 “Medication-Induced Abortion,” Michigan Department of Community Health, last modified 2014, http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2940_4909_6437_19077-46297–,00.html

9 Ibid.

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