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What is abortion?

Abortion is when a pregnancy is ended so that it doesn't result in the birth of a child. Sometimes it is called 'termination of pregnancy'.

BPAS cares for women with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. We treat thousands of women who've decided that abortion is the right choice for them, and give advice and counselling to women who don't know what to do next.

There are two types of abortion treatment, 'Medical' and 'Surgical' abortion:

1. Medical abortion: The abortion pill

Some women feel that a medical abortion is a more natural process. There are two types of medical abortion

Abortion pill (also known as early medical abortion) up to 10 weeks

  • Involves taking medication to cause an early miscarriage (women experience cramping, pain and heavy bleeding).
  • 2 visits to the clinic may be needed (which may be on the same day or up to 3 days apart). Check the details when you book.
  • No surgery or anaesthetic.

More information on the abortion pill.

Abortion pill from 10 weeks up to 24 weeks

  • Involves taking medication to cause the womb to contract and push out the pregnancy.
  • 2 visits to the clinic are needed.
  • Sometimes an overnight stay is needed on the 2nd visit – check when you book.

More information on the abortion pill between 10 and 24 weeks.

2. Surgical abortion

Surgical abortion involves a quick, minor operation. There are two types of surgical abortion:

Vacuum aspiration up to 15 weeks

  • Removes the pregnancy by gentle suction.
  • Up to 14 weeks of pregnancy this can be done while you are awake (with local anaesthetic). The quicker recovery time for this option means you can leave the clinic unattended and drive sooner.
  • Up to 15 weeks it can be done while you are asleep (general anaesthetic) or sedated (relaxed and sleepy).
  • One visit to the clinic and you go home the same day.

More information about vacuum aspiration abortion - awake, asleep, and with sedation

Dilatation and evacuation between 15 and 24 weeks

  • Carried out while you are asleep (under general).
  • The pregnancy is removed using narrow forceps passed through the neck of the womb and some gentle suction.
  • One visit to the clinic and you go home the same day.

More information about dilatation and evacuation abortion.