Almira, Arushi, Rhea
- There are 1.1 million abortions in the U.S that take place every year.
- About 1 in 4 or 22% pregnancies have the result of abortion.
- 50% of women now seeking abortion have already had at least one previous abortion.
- The U.S. abortion rate is highest of developed countries.
- 51% of abortions are done on women less than 25 years of age.
- Approximately 1/3 of American women have had one abortion by age 45.
- Abortion affects a majority of black and Hispanic women.
Parental Notification and Consent
Even further delays are introduced by states that require abortion providers to notify or obtain consent from a minor’s parents before proceeding with an abortion. While most teens do tell a trusted adult, those faced with an abusive or absent parent are left with only two choices. They must either:
- petition a state court and convince a judge that they are competent to make this decision or that an abortion is in their best interest
- arrange an abortion in a state without such restrictions, raise extra money, and travel to the out-of-state facility.
Clearly either choice can tax the resources of a teenager, and can create delays that might easily push the abortion past the first trimester.
Lack of Money
In one study of women who were having an abortion at 16 or more weeks, a substantial percentage said the delay occurred because they needed time to raise money. Women who depend on the federal government to provide their health insurance coverage must pay for abortion services separately; they may receive Medicaid funding for other medical services, but the federal government and most states have prohibited the use of federal funds to pay for almost all abortions.
In addition, as the pregnancy advances, abortions have a higher risk of complications, require specialized skill from the physician, increased nursing care, and more medications. Therefore, they are more expensive. For a woman who has no savings, gathering enough money can take time and delay her abortion by weeks.
Even though states can't make abortion illegal, they can pass laws that make the cost of abortion very high. The average abortion costs anywhere from $300-$1,600 if you want it before the first trimester is over. As more and more time passes, the costs keep rising, and women often find themselves in great dilemmas because of this. In addition to this, it gets more and more difficult to find a provider to do the surgery since many clinics do not offer abortions after the first trimester.
Complications of Abortion
- Heavy bleeding
- Incomplete abortion
- Damage to the cervix
- Scarring of the uterine lining
- Uterine perforation
- Damage to internal organs
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Teens at Special Risk
About one-third of all the abortions that occur after 12 weeks are with teenagers. Teens go through problems regularly, but also it takes them a while to find out that they are pregnant and they end up taking action late. For example:
Know only a little about how their body functions and goes through the menstrual system. They also may not know what signs show pregnancy.
Many people believe a variety of myths, such as “You can’t get pregnant the first time”;
and to keep rape or sexual abuse a secret, denying the possibility of pregnancy.
When such young women do realize they are pregnant, they may panic, fearing their parents will never forgive them or that their parents will force them out of the house. They may hide the pregnancy in secret shame, or spend weeks wishing and hoping it isn’t true, or that it will go away. Of course, when the pregnancy does not go away, the realities of the situation gradually become evident.
Another factor in teenagers’ delay is that few are experienced in using the health care system. They may not know where to go for a pregnancy test, or they may fear that they cannot speak in confidence to a school counselor or nurse for assistance or a referral.
Methods of Abortion
Mifepristone: Mifepristone, taken orally, blocks the action of progesterone, which causes the uterine lining to thin and the pregnancy to detach. It also causes the cervix to soften and dilate, and increases the production of prostaglandins, which cause uterine contractions. Misoprostol, a prostaglandin analogue taken either orally or inserted vaginally within a few days of mifepristone, induces uterine contractions and increases the effectiveness of mifepristone to approximately 95-98%.
Methotrexate: given by injection, or occasionally orally, stops the ongoing process of implantation of an early pregnancy. Misoprostol, a prostaglandin analogue inserted vaginally several days after the methotrexate, causes uterine contractions and increases the effectiveness of methotrexate to approximately 95%.
Vacuum Aspiration: The cervix is gradually opened with tapered rods. A cannula (straw-like tube), which is attached to a suction apparatus (either an electric machine or hand-held syringe), is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The contents of the uterus are emptied by suction. Vacuum aspiration is approximately 99% effective.