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"How do partial-birth abortions differ from other types of abortion?"
I am 24 and this will be my first regular abortion. What is the difference between this and partial-birth abortion?
A partial birth abortion is a political term (not a medical term) used to describe an abortion that requires dilatation of the cervix and mechanical evacuation. Sometimes the term partial birth abortion is also used to described abortions carried out later in the second trimester between 18 and 22 weeks. Most women that choose to have their pregnancies terminated do this very early on in the first trimester. During this time, most pregnancy terminations can occur with the administration of a single medication that causes the inner lining of the uterus to shed. When this occurs, the embryo and placenta are lost with the rest of the inner lining. To most women, this is not unlike having a typical (possibly somewhat heavier) period. If the termination occurs later, sometimes a dilatation and curettage is required. If you just found out you were pregnant, and desire a termination of that pregnancy, then you will likely only need a prescription for a abortifacient medication. Physicians that prescribe these medications are typically OBGYNs (though some primary care physicians can prescribe them as well). Most OBGYNs will want to schedule a visit with you prior to give you the medication to make sure that you know all the risks associated with them. Please discuss with your OBGYN for more information.
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