Medical abortions use drugs to kill the unborn child (although surgical procedures are sometimes required to complete the abortion.)
- Early Medical abortions (up to 9 weeks and 6 days)
- Late medical abortions (13+ weeks)
The type of abortion used will largely depend on the age of the unborn child and the circumstances of the mother. According to the Department of Health, the majority of medical abortions are performed using a chemical called RU-486.
Early Medical Abortions (up to 9 weeks and 6 days)
If the mother does not meet any of the restrictions for use of the drugs required she will be given a drug called Mifepristone (RU-486). This is a synthetic steroid that blocks the hormone called progesterone.
The result of this is the lining on the wall of the womb begins to deteriorate and becomes inhospitable for the growing unborn child. Bleeding may then occur and there is a chance the mother may expel her child whilst at home or wherever she may be.
A second series of drugs called Misoprostol (prostaglandin) which comes in the form of a tablet is then given either through the mouth (orally), under the tongue (sublingually) or inserted into the vagina. The purpose of this drug is to induce contractions to push the unborn child out of the uterus. This will likely cause painful stomach cramps and sickness for which even more drugs are given.
There is a chance of the abortion still being incomplete. This can be very dangerous as there is risk of severe haemorrhaging which if not dealt with can even result in death.
The process is fairly similar to the above procedure but sometimes the mother will be required to remain overnight. The first course of medication usually kills the unborn child (slowly and painfully) and the second course induces premature labour. We have heard of cases where the drugs have failed to kill the baby and so the abortionists just leave the baby gasping for breath in a cold surgical steel pan.
Much later in pregnancy the baby is a lot more difficult to tear apart with the standard medical equipment. Instead, drugs are administered to either the mother, or toxins to the baby. The death for the fetus is slow and painful.
Saline Abortions (16+ weeks)
A saline solution is injected into the amniotic fluid. The fetus swallows the solution and dies of acute salt poisoning. The solution also causes painful burns to the child. Death (or as the abortionists term it - fetal demise) usually takes over an hour. We have not been able to establish whether this method is used in the UK. There is an even greater risk to the health of the mother in a saline abortion procedure and some babies in the United States have been delivered alive.
This is given to the mother to bring on premature and violent contractions. A baby who has been subjected to this will typically be crushed to death.
Potassium Chloride (21 weeks and 5 days+)
The Department of Health report that physicians are recommended (though not obliged) to inject potassium chloride in to the child's heart to ensure the baby is born dead. The fetus suffers a heart attack. As it is likely that the baby will be thrashing around it is sometimes advised that a muscle relaxant be administered to the fetus so the mother can't feel her child moving around.
The woman then has to give birth to the dead baby.
- RU486 is only used up to the 10th week of pregnancy in the UK (7 weeks in the U.S,).
- In late term pregnancies (22 weeks and beyond) drugs are recommended (though not enforced) to kill the fetus. The chemicals either poison, crush or cause a heart attack.
- Up to 15 weeks vacuum aspiration is recommended.
- Over 15 weeks D&E abortions combined with vacuum are used.