Priceless House

Thinking Things Through – Termination

Thinking Things Through - Termination / Abortion

Information about Termination/Abortion

Abortion Procedures

Priceless encourages people to seek information about the options they are considering. The information below about termination or abortion procedures briefly covers the most common methods in the first trimester of pregnancy. As with any medical procedure, everyone is entitled to receive full information and Priceless encourages anyone considering terminating their pregnancy to seek full information, including methods and risks and risk factors, from the medical staff to whom they are referred.

The Abortion Pill – RU486

In Australia, the abortion pill is approved for use up to the 9th week of pregnancy. This method requires two doses of pills that are administered after a medical screening has been completed. The first tablet, mifepristone, is usually taken while at the medical facility. Mifepristone blocks the action of progesterone which is required for the continued development of the embryo. The second medication, misoprostol, is taken 24/48 hours later. This will act to cause cramps and contractions to expel the embryo, usually within the next 24 hours. A follow up medical appointment two weeks later is required to check the procedure has been completed.

Surgical Abortion – suction or vacuum aspiration

This form of abortion is used in the first 12/13 weeks of pregnancy. After anesthetic is administered, the cervix (at the entrance of the uterus) is dilated using medical instruments. A tube which is attached to a pump is then inserted into the uterus and suction is used to remove the fetus (which breaks apart during the procedure) and the placenta. The uterus is checked afterwards to make sure that no fetal tissue remains. A follow up medical appointment two weeks later is required to check the procedure has been completed.

Possible Post Abortion Complications

Physical Complications

As with all medical and surgical procedures, there are potential risks and complications after abortion. Physical/physiological complications may include:

  • Retained products of conception
  • Damage to the womb or cervix / Infection
  • Excessive bleeding / post-operative haemorrhage
  • Incomplete abortion, requiring an additional surgical abortion procedure
  • Scarring of the inside of the uterus
  • Sepsis or Septic shock
  • Uterine perforation

Additionally, there have been links made between abortion and long-term effects on reproductive health and well-being.

Psychological Complications

Some research considers only the physical complications of abortion. Other researchers have looked into the mental health outcomes for those who have had an abortion. In a comprehensive review of the link between abortion and negative mental health outcomes there is ongoing research consensus indicating that abortion contributes to negative outcomes or effects for at least some women (Reardon, 2018). 

Such effects may include:

  • Normal sadness, grief, and feelings of loss
  • Clinically significant mental-health decline including depression, anxiety, substance use, traumatic symptoms, and/or sleep disorders
  • Experiences of limited coping that lead to unresolved feelings of grief and loss
  • Manifestation of negative reactions over an extended timeframe

Reardon (2018) highlighted that when interpreting data whilst there are two central perspectives – proponents and minimalists – there are clear areas of agreement that may be termed as relevant risk-factors.  Such risk-factors may be pertinent to abortion decision making and informed consent.

Relevant risk-factors include:

  • Perceived pressure from others to terminate a pregnancy
  • Terminating a pregnancy that is wanted or meaningful
  • Perceived opposition to the abortion from partners, family, and/or friends
  • Lack of perceived social support from others
  • Feelings of stigma; perceived need for secrecy
  • Exposure to antiabortion picketing
  • Low perceived or anticipated social support for the abortion decision
  • A prior history of mental health problems
  • Personality factors such as low self-esteem and low perceived control over her life
  • Use of avoidance and denial coping strategies
  • Feelings of commitment to the pregnancy
  • Ambivalence about the abortion decision
  • Low perceived ability to cope with the abortion prior to its occurrence
  • A history of prior abortion
  • Abortion after the first trimester

The abortion and mental health controversy: A comprehensive literature review of common ground agreements, disagreements, actionable recommendations, and research opportunities


Abortion Trauma

Some women can experience abortion as a trauma. And as per the DSM-5 criterion for PTSD, abortion trauma may involve symptomatology such as:

  • Intrusive memories
  • Avoidance
  • Negative changes in thinking and mood
  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions

In addition, abortion trauma specific symptomatology may include:

  • Self-destructive behaviours
  • Relationship problems
  • Replacement pregnancies
  • Ongoing mental health concerns

Further vital information regarding abortion trauma, it’s triggers, and healing can be read in the article Abortion Trauma…and Healing


Post Abortion Support

If you have had an abortion or termination of your pregnancy and are seeking support please contact Priceless House – we have trauma informed counsellors who are willing to work through your loss and grief with compassion and care.