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Dr. Beverly McMillan is a board-certified OB/GYN with 45 years of experience. She completed around 500 abortions during her career and even helped open the first abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi in 1975.

In this video, Dr. McMillan describes a 1st-trimester D&C abortion, also known as a vacuum or suction abortion. She outlines how the procedure is performed and what steps are taken to make sure the fetus is completely removed from the woman’s uterus.

FAQs on 1st Trimester Suction Abortions

Q. When is a 1st-trimester suction abortion performed?
Suction abortions are performed up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Q. Is a woman given anything for the procedure?
Suction abortions are performed in an office or clinic while a woman is lying down on a table with her feet in stirrups. An abortionist will give local anesthesia which is injected into the cervix through a syringe.

Q. How is the fetus removed from the uterus?
The abortionist will open the vagina with a speculum to see the cervix, then grasp the cervix with a long metal instrument to stabilize it. A series of metal rods called dilators are then used to open up the cervix. From there, a small plastic tube called a cannula is inserted into the uterus. If the embryo is small enough, the cannula can be attached to a syringe and manual suction alone will remove the embryo and placenta. Otherwise, the cannula is attached to a suction machine that tears the fetus apart and suctions each piece and the placenta into a large glass bottle.

Q. How do they make sure the abortion is complete?
Once the abortionist thinks everything is removed, a long metal curette is used to scrape the lining of the uterus to make sure no fetal parts or the placenta are left behind. An incomplete abortion can cause infection or bleeding.

Q. Are they any risks or adverse effects associated with a suction abortion?
All abortions carry risk. With a suction procedure, some of the risks and adverse effects include uterine perforation, cervical laceration, hemorrhage, infection, and, in rare cases, maternal death. Future pregnancy complications may also be an issue due to abortion-related trauma and injury to the cervix.