Change Links note: As abortion is increasingly criminalized, and as reproductive rights stand to be overturned by the Supreme Court, we are printing this informational piece about non-surgical methods to terminate a pregnancy, to empower women. We also heartily recommend collective mass action to end the war on women!
Methods of Non-surgical Abortion
Medical abortion is a way to end a pregnancy by using abortion-inducing drugs as an alternative to surgical procedures. This procedure is administered up to 49-63 days (7 – 9 weeks) after the first day of the last menstrual period, depending on the medicines and protocols that are followed.
Common Medical Abortion Medications
Mifepristone. Mifepristone (known as RU-486) is a pill taken by mouth. It works by blocking the hormone progesterone. Without this hormone, the lining of the uterus breaks down and the embryo detaches, causing the pregnancy to end. It causes the cervix (opening of the uterus or womb) to soften and dilate.
Methotrexate. Methotrexate can be given by injection or taken by mouth. It primarily affects rapidly dividing cells. Methotrexate stops the ongoing process of implantation in the uterus of the embryo.
Misoprostol. Misoprostol tablets may be placed either into the vagina, between the cheek and gum, or swallowed. Taken within a few hours or days, after taking mifepristone or methotrexate, it causes the uterus to contract and expel the embryo.
Resources for Non-Surgical Termination of Pregnancy
Planned Parenthood – First Trimester Options: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/
Feminist Women’s Health Centers – https://www.fwhc.org/abortion/index.htm
Some Doctors offer services right in their own office, such as Aspiration which is pretty much the same as a Menstrual Extraction, except that they use an instrument to open the cervix, where menstrual extraction does not.
The options I’d like to share are not commonly known but are occasionally given brief mention here or there, most often with no substantial information.
The first is using certain herbs to induce miscarriage, also called herbal abortion. It is not a sure way to terminate pregnancy, and seems to work about 40-45% of the time, IF herbs are started early enough. If herbal abortion is attempted and is not successful it is very important to follow up with a clinical abortion, as the herbs can cause birth defects and or complications during pregnancy. Herbs are most commonly used during the time period when an embryo is developing the foundations for all of the major body systems, organs in particular. This occurs from developmental weeks 4 through 8, which is the time that herbs are used. This is why it is so important to follow up with a clinical abortion if the herbs don’t work. The risk of causing damage is very real. Just because this is something you can do at home, doesn’t make it safe or without risk. There can be negative effects to you, or to any pregnancy carried to term. Just like they say, just because its natural doesn’t make it safe.
If you choose to utilize the knowledge contained within this website to try and end a pregnancy at home, please use this knowledge wisely and responsibly. I strongly believe that the choice whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term should be a woman’s choice, I also think the man should be involved if it is appropriate.
The second little known option is called Menstrual Extraction, unfortunately it is not a very available option, and for most women, finding someone to help you, is very remote. Menstrual Extraction and the device that is used were developed in the early 70’s by Carol Downer and Lorraine Rothman just before abortion was legalized by the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. It has multiple purposes, not only can it physically remove a fertilized egg, menstrual extraction can remove an inconveniently timed period, due to start right before a romantic weekend. I think it would be great if more midwives, naturopaths or inspired women took it upon themselves to learn how to do this and make it more available. However, the technique is likely to fall into the realm of practicing medicine without a license as it could be construed as an invasive procedure. It is difficult although not impossible to perform upon yourself. Personally, I would suggest having the help of someone who knows what they are doing.
Both of these alternative options must be used before the 8th week of pregnancy (starting from conception – 10 weeks from the Last Menstrual Period (LMP)).