Morning-After Pill / Plan B / Emergency Contraception
Emergency contraception (also called Plan B or the morning-after pill) is a high dosage of the same hormones in the birth control pill. It is taken up to 72 hours after intercourse to either prevent or end a pregnancy.
The morning-after pill works by three mechanisms:
- If ovulation has not yet occurred, it works to prevent ovulation, which means that no egg will be released and therefore conception cannot happen
- It can also work by delaying ovulation, which means that the sperm would die before an egg is released, also preventing conception
- If ovulation has already happened before a woman takes the morning-after pill, the pill works by irritating the uterine lining so that if conception has occurred, the newly formed baby cannot attach to the lining of the uterus, causing a very early abortion.
For more information about the morning after pill / Plan B / emergency contraception, see:
Dilation and Curettage (D & C)
These abortions are usually done before 12 weeks. The cervix is dilated to permit the insertion of a loop-shaped knife that is used to cut the baby into pieces and scrape him or her from the uterine wall. Body parts are pulled out piece by piece through the cervix. The scraping of the uterus typically involves more bleeding than from a suction abortion and increases the risk of uterine perforation and infection.
This method – also called “vacuum aspiration” or “vacuum curettage” – is used in 90% of all abortions performed during the first trimester. A tube (often with a sharp cutting edge) is inserted through the cervix into the uterus and is connected to a strong suction apparatus. The powerful vacuum dismembers the tiny baby and placenta, tearing them to pieces and sucking them into a collection bottle. Although the baby is extremely small, body parts are often easily identified, and the abortionist will typically identify the parts to ensure that all contents of the uterus have been removed. This method sometimes follows a D & C abortion. Infections, damage, and pain in the cervix and uterus can result.
This abortion regimen involves the use of two synthetic hormones: the French-developed “abortion pill” called mifepristone and a labor-inducing drug, or prostaglandin, usually the generically named misoprostol. Used between the fifth and ninth weeks of pregnancy, this procedure requires at least two visits to the clinic or hospital. On the first visit, the woman is given a physical exam to rule out contraindications – smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, allergies, epilepsy, asthma, or age restrictions (under 18 or over 35) – which could make the drugs deadly. The RU 486 drug (mifepristone) is taken to inhibit the production of progesterone, the hormone that prepares the nutrient-rich lining of the uterus. As a result, the tiny developing baby literally starves to death as the womb’s lining sloughs off. At the second visit, the woman is given misoprostol to induce contractions and cause the dead baby to be expelled from the uterus. While most women abort during the waiting period at the clinic, many abort later – up to five days later – at home, work, etc. A third office visit includes an exam to determine whether the abortion is complete or whether a surgical abortion will be necessary to complete the procedure. RU 486 can cause severe disabilities in babies who survive the abortion, can injure and possibly kill women, and could harm a woman’s subsequent offspring. There have been five reported deaths of women who have taken RU 486 in the U. S. (See this article http://www.nrlc.org/news/2005/NRL09/RU486Deaths.html for more information about for further information regarding the deadly side effects and risks of RU 486.)
Methotrexate and Misoprostol
Researchers have discovered that the prescription drug methotrexate (often prescribed to combat cancer), when used with misoprostol, can induce abortion during the first trimester. Both drugs act on a woman’s reproductive system: methotrexate kills the rapidly growing cells of the trophoblast, the tissue that develops into the placenta, and misoprostol causes uterine contractions to expel the baby. This regimen also involves multiple clinic or hospital visits. After receiving an injection of methotrexate, the woman returns 3 to 7 days later to receive the misoprostol vaginally. She returns home, where cramping and bleeding begin. The baby is usually aborted within 24 hours.
It is worth noting that methotrexate is a highly toxic drug with side effects and complications such as nausea, pain, diarrhea, bone marrow depression, anemia, liver damage, and lung disease occurring even at low doses. Manufacturer warnings claim that deaths have been reported with the use of methotrexate, and even some doctors who support abortion are reluctant to prescribe methotrexate because of its high toxicity and unpredictable side effects. Long-term effects of the two drugs are unknown.
As with the RU 486 regimen, women using this form of chemical abortion must participate more directly in ending the life of their unborn children, having to verify – often by themselves – that the “uterine contents” have been passed and the procedure is complete. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, many RU 486 and methotrexate advocates fail to see the negative psychological consequences of such an experience.
For more information about methotrexate, see this page: http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/ASMF/asmf7.html