According to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 25 million unsafe abortions happen every year worldwide. The majority of unsafe abortions take place in developing countries, and WHO states that every 8 minutes a woman in a developing nation will die of complications arising from unsafe abortion.
What Is An Unsafe Abortion?
Unsafe abortions don’t just happen outside the United States, though. Many states regulate abortion-providing facilities differently because there are no federal standards in place. “Less-than-safe” abortions can be performed by a trained provider using an unsafe or outdated method such as “sharp curettage.” But abortions can also be unsafe when women self-manage their abortions at home by taking a medication abortion too late in the pregnancy.
Unsafe Surgical Abortions
Abortion is a medical procedure and should be performed or overseen by qualified doctors in a safe, clean environment. According to WHO, “Unsafe abortion occurs when a pregnancy is terminated either by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards or both.”
Unsafe Medication Abortions
Women who access abortion pills online also run the risk of unsafe abortion. The first drug given for medication abortion is called mifepristone. Here in the United States, this drug is highly regulated because it can lead to dangerous complications if taken improperly.
According to the FDA, “Mifepristone labels have a boxed warning that serious or even life-threatening adverse effects, such as serious infections and prolonged heavy bleeding, can occur after taking this medication.”
When women purchase this drug online, they run the risk of buying it from outside the United States where it is not regulated. Therefore, a woman could receive the wrong drug, an incorrect dosage, or medication that was manufactured in unclean facilities. In addition, the companies that sell drugs online do not always include directions on how to self manage abortion.
Complications of Medical Abortions
Using the abortion pill after your ninth week of pregnancy puts you at greater risk of not having a complete abortion. You would then need to have a surgical abortion to remove the remaining tissue. The farther along you are in your pregnancy, you also run the risk of infection. Heavy bleeding is probably the most common medical abortion complication. Bleeding could last anywhere from 9 days to as long as 4 weeks.
In 35% of medical abortions, it takes several days or weeks to release all of the pregnancy tissue. It’s possible this tissue will take one or more days to start coming out.
Complications of Unsafe Abortions
If you have an abortion in a facility that is not clean or the abortion provider was not capable, you run the risk of any of the following:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding and possibly hemorrhaging
- Severe abdominal pain and cramping
- Infection and possibly sepsis
When considering an abortion, it is important to make sure the clinic meets health standards. It is also important to know the doctor performing the procedure. Before you can have an abortion, you need to know how far along you are in your pregnancy. Again, your risks increase the farther along you are especially if you’re considering the abortion pill. The only way to determine the gestational date is to have an ultrasound. At Palm Beach Women’s Clinic, we offer no-cost ultrasound scanning.
In many cases, the use of a period-tracking app can make you more aware of your menstrual cycle. The more aware you are, the less chance you will have for an unplanned pregnancy. However, a tracking app is only as useful as the information you put in it. If the unthinkable should happen, be sure to have an ultrasound to get the information you need about your unplanned pregnancy.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you would like to know more about abortion procedures, or you suspect you may be pregnant, we are available to help. We offer no-cost pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and options consultations. We would be happy to talk with you. Please contact us so you can make a fully-informed decision about your reproductive health options.