Here’s What Actually Happens When You Have An Abortion

You probably have an opinion on abortion, but do you know what the procedure actually involves? This video explains the procedures that are commonly used, and corrects some misconceptions you may have picked up along the way.

Early in the pregnancy, you can take a course of medication that causes the uterus to expel the pregnancy. (This accounts for 22 per cent of all abortions in the US, according to the CDC.)

Up to about 16 weeks, another option is dilating the cervix and removing the contents either with vacuum aspiration or with instruments like a curette — best known as a “D & C” or dilation and curettage.

For later abortions, up to 24 weeks, a “D & E” or dilation and evacuation procedure removes the contents of the uterus.

Despite all the political controversy over late term abortions, only one per cent occur after 21 weeks, and most abortions — 92 per cent — happen in the first trimester. Check out the video for more information on these procedures and some of the myths surrounding them.

What Actually Happens When You Have an Abortion? [ASAP Science]


  • Not sure why this article is being published on a website devoted primarily to tech and work related matters (and I write this as a very, very strong pro-choice supporter).

    Anyone on the LH team feel like sharing their views on how it relates to what I’d wager is an audience skewed towards the young and male?

    • Hey Leigh, even though we do have a very strong tech section here, we also have a considerable ‘Life’ category that caters for everything from home to cooking to health — yes, even women’s health.

      I’d assume that any young male readers on the site should be savvy enough to scroll past an article that’s not relevant to them (although you never know — perhaps some of them are interested in the topic regardless)

  • Ignore another fact, that the so-called ‘contents’ that are removed has a heartbeat, fingers, toes, a face etc – at least call it a fetus and acknowledge its humanity rather than describing it as simply ‘contents’.

  • I cringed as I read this, and I read it quickly, nevertheless I was curious and wanted to be a little better informed. I would have thought a pro-lifer would want people to read this, be informed, and maybe think about what is happening.

    So on the level of be better informed I give it a plus. However, I am not sure how this relates to a so-called hacking site. There was not any advice on how to go about it, how to tweak it, do it better, … So although interesting I am not completely convinced it conforms to what I expect to see on Lifehacker.

    Specifically, I don’t see how I can use it to enhance my home, my cooking or health. Although I am not a pro-life advocate I think it is inappropriate for this site..

  • Is a tadpole a life form?
    Is a genetically modified bacteria a life form?
    Is the trunk of a tree a life form?
    Is a chimera a life form?
    Is helicobacter pylori a life form?
    Is a trocophore larvae a life form?
    Is a tape worm a life form? How about its eggs? What about when they are half hatched from their shell and starting to move?
    Is a fertilised chicken egg a life form?
    Is an alien a life form?
    Is a ghost a life form?
    Is a kangaroo Joey a life form?
    How about an 8wk old human foetus with a beating heart?
    A n 11wk foetus who clenches it’s fist?
    A foetus who purposefully communicates with its twin?
    If you reason that a parasite or a bacteria, a chimera, or a genetically modified being is life, but a human in development is not, there is something seriously flawed with your logic.
    Still think abortion is ok?

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