If you think you may be pregnant, it’s understandable that you may be scared or questioning what to do. You may be confused given the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, and what that means for you and your options.
Rest assured that you are not alone. There is help available and resources to support you. First, know what your options are for pregnancy in the state of Washington.
Is Abortion Still Legal in Washington?
Abortion is protected in Washington state law for any reason up until the point of viability. This means that once the fetus can survive outside the womb – typically 24 to 26 weeks – abortion is no longer legal except to protect the life or health of the mother.
Due to this state law, abortion is still an available option in Washington. This includes both medication abortion (otherwise known as the abortion pill) as well as surgical abortion. Abortion methods depend on how far along in pregnancy the patient is, and different methods vary in cost and risks.
If you are considering abortion, take the time to learn which abortion option would be medically appropriate and what medical information you need to know before an abortion.
What Do I Need to Know Before Abortion?
Each method of abortion comes with associated risks and side effects. Medication abortion, or the abortion pill, while more widely accessible online or in-clinic, still is a serious medical procedure. You owe it to yourself to find out all the facts to protect your health and safety.
The FDA has approved the use of the abortion pill for pregnancies up to 10 weeks – taking the abortion pill past this point could result in serious medical complications or incomplete abortion.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are potential physical risks of the abortion pill:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Digestive system discomfort
Surgical abortion, on the other hand, is a method of abortion used for the termination of later pregnancies, from 10 weeks through 24 weeks. One of the most common techniques of surgical abortion is known as dilation & curettage. In this procedure, medical instruments are used to scrape or lightly suction the fetus and uterine tissue out of the uterus.
Because this procedure is in-clinic, often involves sedation, and has more associated risks, the cost of surgical abortion is higher, and seeking surgical abortion may involve traveling to a physician or clinic.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following as potential physical risks of surgical abortion:
- Passing blood clots that are larger than a lemon for more than two hours
- Bleeding that is heavy enough that you have to change your pad twice in one hour for two hours straight
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Pain or cramping that gets worse instead of better, especially after 48 hours
- Pregnancy symptoms that persist after one week
Before you make your choice to prioritize your health and safety, you should be sure which abortion or pregnancy option is right for your unique situation. As there are serious medical risks involved with taking the abortion pill too late or pursuing an abortion if a unique medical complication is a concern for you, seeing a medical professional to confirm your pregnancy and receive an ultrasound is very important.
Why Do I Need An Ultrasound?
An ultrasound can answer key questions before you make your abortion or pregnancy decision. A medical professional such as a nurse sonographer can help you be sure of:
- How far along you are (and subsequently, what options are available to you)
- If the pregnancy is viable (or if miscarriage care is a better choice for you)
- If the pregnancy is located in the uterus (or if you are at risk of ectopic pregnancy)
The answer to each of these questions is essential to know before selecting your next steps. For instance, if ectopic pregnancy is a concern for you, you would need to seek immediate medical attention separate from abortion care. Delay in treatment could result in serious medical complications and the need for emergency surgery.
Schedule Your Appointment
At Pathways Clinic, we can provide an ultrasound to answer your questions at no charge to you. Our caring, professional medical staff would highly value the opportunity to help you navigate your pregnancy options.
Schedule your free appointment today to prioritize your health and safety. Learn all the information you can about your unique situation and receive individualized care.