Second Trimester Abortions
About 95% of second trimester abortions use the Dilation & Evacuation method. In this method, the cervix must be opened wider because the fetus is larger. Thin rods made of seaweed are inserted a day or two before the abortion to soften the cervix. If you are up to 16 weeks gestation, the fetus will be suctioned out using a manual suction device. If there are any remaining fetal parts, they are removed using a forceps (grasping tool). If there is any remaining tissue, it may be scraped out using a curette (a loop-shaped tool).
If you are after 16 weeks, suction alone will not work so a great deal of the procedure is done using the forceps. The doctor will keep track of all fetal parts so that none are left inside. The curette and or suction machine will also be used to remove blood clots and remaining tissue.
Risks of abortion are higher in the second trimester and may include heavy bleeding, infection, and damage to organs including the uterus (uterine perforation), bowel, and bladder. There is also a greater risk of cervical laceration.
Other risks associated with abortion include an increased risk of delivering prematurely in the future. The Human Family Research Center reports a 3-6% risk of complications of abortions at 12-13 weeks. This increases to 50% after 13 weeks.
There is also an increased risk of psychological consequences in second trimester abortions. The Human Family Research Center notes this may happen because women have more time to bond with the developing fetus and women are also more aware of the fetus’ presence. They also note that women may be feeling pressured to abort which can lead to psychological distress.
In the Toledo-area, abortions are performed up to 15 weeks only.