About Surgical Abortion

A surgical abortion is completed by surgically removing the contents of the uterus to end a pregnancy. The abortion surgery takes place in a clinic setting by licensed medical personnel.

There are currently two legal surgical abortion procedure methods in California.  The difference is when and how each abortion procedure is done.

  • Suction / Vacuum Aspiration – between 6 to 16 weeks gestational age.
  • Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) – between 16 to 24 weeks gestational age.

Gestational age is the common term used during pregnancy to describe how far along the pregnancy is. It is measured in weeks, from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual cycle to the current date.

Surgical Abortion: 6-16 Weeks

Surgical abortions between 6-16 weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period are called suction abortion or vacuum aspiration. During a suction abortion, a vaginal speculum is inserted to spread and hold open your vaginal walls. A numbing solution is administered to your cervix. Then, a tenaculum (a surgical instrument that resembles a pair of scissors with sharp pointed hooks at the end) is used to hold the cervix open so that it can be stretched wide enough by cone shaped rods to insert a cannula (a long plastic tube connected to a suction device). The cannula will then suction out the contents of the uterus. This procedure usually takes 10-15 minutes to complete, however, recovery may require you to stay for up to 5 hours.

Surgical Abortion: 16-24 Weeks

Surgical abortions between 16 and 24 weeks after the first day of your last menstrual period will require a Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) procedure. Usually 24 hours before a D&E, the abortion provider will insert laminaria or a synthetic dilator inside the cervix. At the time of the procedure, cone-shaped rods of increasing size are used to stretch your cervix to prepare you for the cannula. Depending on the gestational age, some providers may deliver a shot with a long needle through your abdomen to cause fetal demise before the procedure begins. The cannula is inserted to begin removing the fetus from the lining of the uterus. The lining is scraped with a curette (a surgical instrument designed for scraping biological tissue or debris) to remove any residual fetal parts. If the fetus is larger, forceps may be used to remove larger parts. Some providers prefer to crush the skull for easier extraction. This surgical abortion normally takes about 30 minutes, with extended recovery time.

Surgical Abortion Next Steps

If you are considering a surgical abortion, schedule your FREE pregnancy options consultation right away – see our contact information below. You will receive a comprehensive look at all your pregnancy options including abortion risks, possible side effects, and important questions to ask the abortion clinic or abortion provider so you can make a decision with confidence. We’re here for you!

We are not an abortion provider or abortion referral agency, so we do not benefit financially from your decision.

Get Help and Support

Contact us – 626-671-0581, office@optionslapuente.org, or request an online appointment.

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