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Abortion RisksPhysical Risks: With any procedure there is a certain amount of risk. Sometimes side effects may occur with induced abortion. These include:

  • Abdominal pain/cramping
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

In most abortions, no serious complications occur. However, complications may happen in as many as 1 out of every 100 early abortions and 1 out of every 50 later abortions. Such complications may include:

Heavy Bleeding: Some bleeding after abortion is normal. There is, however, a risk of hemorrhage, especially if the uterine artery is torn. When this happens a blood transfusion may be required.

Infection: Bacteria may get into the uterus from an incomplete abortion resulting in infection. A serious infection may lead to persistent fever over several days and extended hospitalization.

Incomplete Abortion: Some fetal parts may not be removed by the abortion. Bleeding and infection may occur. RU486 may fail in up to 1 out of every 20 cases.

Allergic Reaction to Drugs: An allergic reaction to anesthesia used during abortion surgery may result in convulsions, heart attack and, in extreme cases, death.

Tearing of the Cervix: The cervix may be cut or torn by abortion instruments. Scarring of the Uterine Lining: Suction tubing, curettes, and other abortion instruments may cause permanent scarring of the uterine lining.

Perforation of the Uterus: The uterus may be punctured or torn by abortion instruments. The risk of this complication increases with the length of the pregnancy. If this occurs, major surgery, including a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be required.

Damage to Internal Organs: When the uterus is punctured or torn, there is also a risk that damage will occur to nearby organs such as the bowel and bladder.

Death: In extreme cases, other physical complications from abortion include: excessive bleeding, infection, organ damage from a perforated uterus, and adverse reactions to anesthesia (all of which may be life-threatening. This complication is very rare and occurs, on average, in less than 20 cases per year in the United States.

Note: If you experience immediate physical problems after an abortion, such as: pain, bleeding, fever or nausea, call your doctor immediately, call 911 for help, or go to an emergency room.