General Information about Abortion
Below you’ll find some basic information about different abortion options. The descriptions below are to help give you an idea of different types of abortions -- this is not intended to give you all the information you need. We’ve included links for more extensive reading. TASC is available to help you understand more about your options.
What is it?
A Medical Abortion is done by taking medication which ends your pregnancy and then makes the uterus contract and empty. A doctor will give you the first pill, mifepristone, at the clinic. Mifespristone blocks the hormone progesterone in your body, which is needed to continue the pregnancy.
You’ll be given a second medication, misoprostol, to take at home. Misoprostol creates cramping in your uterus to empty the uterus.
You will probably also be given antibiotics to take to minimize risk of infection.
What to Expect
When do choose a medical abortion, you will bleed at home as your uterus empties. Most people describe this as a heavy, crampy period. For some people the cramping is painful, for others there is not very much pain. You can take ibuprofen for pain, and seek out other comfort measures like a hot water bottle, heating pad, or look to a friend or partner for massage. In most cases, your pregnancy will pass about 4-6 hours after you take the medication at home.
When can I have a medical abortion?
Medical abortion is available in Arizona until 9 weeks 6 days into a pregnancy. The cost is between $520 and $585, plus about $80 for your required initial consultation and ultrasound.
What can I expect after?
After the initial loss of the pregnancy, it is normal to spot for a few weeks. After any type of abortion, you may feel tired, crampy, and emotional, In addition to any personal feelings you’re having about your experience, the hormones of pregnancy and pregnancy loss can increase your emotional response.
Scroll to the bottom of the page, or click here, for a video from Planned Parenthood about medical abortions / "the abortion pill"
Vacuum Aspiration, or "In Clinic Abortion"
If you get an in-clinic abortion in Tucson, you’ll likely get a vacuum aspiration, or suction abortion. In this procedure, the doctor will begin by inserting a speculum into your vagina, and will then use a small instrument to open, or dilate, your cervix. They will then pass a small tube through the opening into your cervix into the uterus. The tube is connected to a machine that will suction out the contents of the uterus. This process itself usually takes between 5-15 minutes and is often accompanied with cramping. The doctor may also use a tool called a curette to check for any leftover tissue in your uterus and empty it completely.
Scroll to the bottom of the page, or click here, for a video about In Clinic abortions.
When can I have a suction abortion?
Suction abortions are available up to 16 weeks into a pregnancy. The cost ranges from $520 to $1325 depending on gestational age.
What can I expect after?
It’s normal to have cramping and bleeding after an abortion, and you may spot for a few weeks. If you’re concerned about your physical symptoms, call the help line number given to you by the clinic. After any type of abortion, you may feel tired, crampy, and emotional, In addition to any personal feelings you’re having about your experience, the hormones of pregnancy and pregnancy loss can increase your emotional response. If you’d like resources and ideas for comfort measures during the time after your abortion, see our page here or contact TASC for help.
Dilation and Evacuation Abortion (D&E)
Dilation and Evacuation is usually done after 16 weeks. If you are 16 weeks or beyond in your pregnancy, you will need to leave Tucson to get your procedure. You can still contact the Tucson Women’s Center for your consultation and to help you understand your options.
In a D&E procedure, the doctor will use both suction and instruments to empty the uterus. If you are 16 weeks or farther into your pregnancy, your cervix will need to be able to dilate more in order to empty the contents of the uterus. To achieve this, a doctor will place dilators in the cervix in advance of the procedure (sometimes hours, sometimes a day before) to help the cervix open. Then when it is time for your procedure, a doctor will use both the suction and a curette to empty your uterus. A D&E usually lasts about 30 minutes.
When can I have a D&E?
Dilation and Evacuation procedures are used for 2nd trimester pregnancies. If you are 16 weeks or beyond in your pregnancy, you will need to leave Tucson to get your procedure. You can still contact the Tucson Women’s Center for your consultation and to help you understand your options.
What can I expect after?
It’s normal to spot for a couple of weeks after an abortion. If you’re concerned about your physical symptoms, call the help line number given to you by the clinic. After any type of abortion, you may feel tired, crampy, and emotional, In addition to any personal feelings you’re having about your experience, the hormones of pregnancy and pregnancy loss can increase your emotional response.
Funding Your Abortion
For many people seeking abortion care, financing their abortion is a huge barrier. In Arizona, state law prevents Medicaid from paying for abortion services, and most private insurance companies do not cover abortion care. This means that most patients must pay out-of-pocket, and an abortion can cost in the range of $520 - $1325. If you have private insurance, it may cover some of the costs, make sure to ask at your first appointment.
You may be able to get assistance from an abortion fund to cover part of your needs. However, it’s unlikely that these funds will be able to cover your entire cost. Keep in mind that costs go up as your pregnancy continues.
Abortion Fund of Arizona
The Abortion Fund of Arizona provides financial assistance to people 16 weeks pregnant and more, especially those traveling to Phoenix from care. The Abortion Fund of Arizona does not currently provide funding through any Planned Parenthood clinics, including the Tucson Women’s Center in Tucson, but may be able to help if you are traveling to Phoenix for an abortion after 16 weeks.
Volunteers return calls every 24-48 hours, usually in the evenings.
National Abortion Federation (NAF)
The NAF is a national fund that can offer financial assistance based on household size and monthly income.
If you’re going to the Tucson Women’s Center, someone at their call center can take you through the NAF intake process and let you know whether or not you qualify for funds. Make sure to let them know you need help when making your abortion appointment.
If you are going to a clinic in Phoenix, you can call NAF directly at 1-800-772-9100 (Weekdays: 7:00 A.M.-11:00 P.M. Eastern time; Saturdays and Sundays: 9:00 A.M.-9:00 P.M.)
National Network of Abortion Funds
The National Network of Abortion Funds is a network of organizations that are funding abortion and building power to fight for cultural & political change.
They believe that every person has the non-negotiable human right to determine whether, when, and how to create a family. People deserve unrestricted access to the rights, information, and resources to care for themselves and their families.
Self Care Through Your Abortion
Remember is that no two people will have self care that looks exactly the same. Your recovery and healing are completely personal.
Being patient and kind with yourself regardless of how you feel before and after your abortion is the most important part.
There is no right or wrong way to feel. Where you expected there to be sadness, there may only be a sense of relief. By the same token, the opposite may occur and you experience a sadness you did not expect. Pain you were told would subside in a few days may linger for much longer, or be virtually non existent.
Self care means that you give yourself the time and space to feel the way you are feeling, without judgement or expectation.
It can mean crying your eyes out or not shedding a single tear.
It is something that happens hours, days, months or even years after your abortion.
Self care looks different for everyone. It is a way to look at your needs and prioritize them. This isn’t always easy, especially when we are taught to take care of our family, friends, our neighbors and it leaves us last. Self care teaches us to take care of yourself the way you would treat someone else you love.
There are not very many spaces where self care is taught. There isn’t a precise answer on what the correct way to take care of ourselves. Like most things, the more you practice self care, the better you become at it’s practice. Self care isn’t a one time thing, and then you check it off your to-do list. Self care is an ongoing process and can be built into your everyday life. Sometimes you need to ask other people for help, other times self care is what you need in yourself.
Self care can be especially difficult for people who are busy taking care of other people. When we are on an airplane, they tell us that in an event of an emergency, we need to put on our own oxygen mask before we assist someone else. Why do you think flight attendants take so much time making this request?
What are some examples of self care?
-Eating yummy foods
-Taking a long walk outside
-Watching a movie
Ideas on how you can prepare before your abortion:
Have some food ready. Make sure you have groceries and/or prepare meals. Make it easy to reheat or just snack on food after your procedure.
Try to have some clean comfy clothes like PJ’s or socks. Having these tasks done ahead of time, will help you take the time to rest and not worry about taking care of them after. Don’t feel bad asking others for some support.
(wipes too, if you’re into that) Baby wipes are cheaper than the marketed “feminine wipes” and work just as well!
Things that bring you COMFORT!
Gather books, magazines, crayons, coloring books, music, Netflix or whatever else you want to do while you wait.
Buy a heating pad or hot water bottle ahead of time so you have it on hand to help ease cramping. You can also fill a sock with rice and microwave it in 30 second intervals until it gets warm.