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Many women feel that abortion is the best option for them, but hesitate because of concerns regarding the medical procedure. Following are the questions we hear most often, with our answers supported by careful research. It is important to underline that anti-choice groups, intent on preventing abortions, have spent a lot of money supporting research that will make abortion appear unsafe and their money also goes into the dissemination of this false information. You may come across this information and be worried. Pro-choice groups have looked at the available research and support findings published by unbiased researchers. We use these findings to answer women’s questions.

Is abortion safe?

All medical procedures carry some degree of risk. Abortion is in the category of minor medical procedures and as such has one of the lowest rates of complication. To put things in perspective, abortion is considered to be twenty times safer than childbirth.

Will I be able to have children in the future?

Abortion, performed by a competent medical practitioner using the method we use - dilation, aspiration and curettage - is unrelated to infertility. Infertility is primarily caused by untreated infection, usually resulting from a sexually transmitted infection. If you think you are at risk for such an infection it may be a good idea to get checked before you have an abortion. We do a routine screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea, common sexually transmitted infections that are easily treated with oral antibiotics.

Is the procedure painful?

We give a combination of pain medication including a local anaesthetic and a strong narcotic given intravenously. We do not use a general anaesthetic and are not equipped to do so; we also feel that a general anaesthetic adds an unnecessary degree of risk to the procedure. An abortion takes an average of five to ten minutes to perform and the medication we provide is appropriate for the level of discomfort expected. If you have specific questions about drugs offered we will be happy to answer them.

Can I have a hemorrhage?

Hemorrhage is extremely rare with the aspiration-curettage method, especially in healthy women. We are equipped to handle such an emergency were it to occur, and a registered nurse is always present during the procedure for reasons of health and safety.

How late can a woman have an abortion?

In Quebec, abortion is available up to twenty-two weeks of pregnancy, and at our clinic up to eighteen weeks. As this procedure requires more preparation, we see the woman once or twice before the procedure. If the pregnancy is beyond our twenty week limit, we refer the woman to another service, either here in Quebec or to a clinic in the United States of America where late second trimester abortions are performed.

What is surgical abortion?

An abortion performed by dilation, aspiration and curettage is referred to as a surgical abortion as it requires instrumentation; unlike most surgery nothing is cut. The cervix of the uterus is gently dilated so that a small cannula may be introduced into the uterus and the products of conception aspirated. An exploratory curettage is performed at the end to allow the doctor to be sure the uterus is empty. This technique has been practised for many decades and is very safe when performed by an experienced physician.

When can I resume normal activities?

Some women choose to rest on the day of the procedure, while many return to work or school on the same day. Other than activities that could increase your risk of infection we suggest doing what you usually do while listening to your body. You may want to rest for a few days, and you may need to wait to resume athletic activities.

Link to a pro-choice organization

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