What is Abortion?

Abortion is the direct and intentional killing of a pre-born human being. 

WARNING:  This video contains graphic content that may be unsettling to some viewers, viewer discretion is advised.

There are 2 types of abortion: (1) Medical Abortion (2) Surgical Abortion.

Medical Abortion

Medical abortions are generally performed until 10 weeks gestation.  This type of abortion does not involve surgery or other invasive methods, rather it relies on medications to terminate pregnancy.  In Canada, mifepristone and misoprostol are usually the two drugs used to perform this type of abortion.  Mifepristone (commonly known as RU-486), taken first, impedes the development of the embryo by cutting off nutrients and blood supply, while misoprostol, taken later, removes the embryo from the uterus.  

Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion involves invasive methods to terminate pregnancy and is generally performed after 5 weeks gestation.  The method of surgical abortion used depends on the gestational age of the pre-born child.  There are 3 main surgical methods of abortion: [2]

1)  Suction Dilation and Curettage (D&C)

Performed under anesthetic, the cervix is forcibly dilated using a series of rigid rods.  A hollow plastic tube is inserted into the uterus through the dilated cervix and attached to a suction machine. The force of the suction tears the fetus into small parts, which are sucked through the tube into a collection bottle. A loop-shaped knife called a curette is then inserted through the cervix to scrape away any remaining fetal parts or placenta.

 2)  Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

This method of surgical abortion is generally performed after 13 weeks gestation, because as the fetus grows larger, her bones grow stronger and she becomes more difficult to extract. The cervix must be opened wider using laminaria (a water-absorbing sterilized seaweed) and the fetus’s head must be crushed before it can be removed. A D&E abortion is performed using forceps to dismember and extract the fetus together with suction. Bone fragments are sharp and must be carefully removed to avoid damage to the uterus and cervix. The fetal parts removed must be identified to make sure the abortion is complete and no parts are left in the uterus. A curette is used to clean out any last bits of fetal or placental tissue that may remain.

3)  Induction

Performed after 25 weeks gestation, an induction abortion takes multiple days to perform.  Digoxin is injected directly into the pre-born child through the mother’s abdomen to cause death, and then the mother’s cervix is dilated using laminaria.  Approximately 2 days later, the dead pre-born child is delivered. If the child is not delivered whole, then the abortionist uses the D&E method to extract the remaining fetal pieces from the mother.



– William Wilberforce, social reformer and abolitionist of the British Slave Trade