If you have confirmed your pregnancy, and are considering an abortion, this information is to provide you with a clear education about surgical abortion procedures and risks, the cons of abortion, and your legal rights.

A surgical abortion is a surgical procedure that results in the termination of a pregnancy. Like all surgical procedures, surgical abortion poses certain health risks to the women choosing to undergo it, so therefore it is important to understand the pros and cons of abortion also. While CAPS Pregnancy Clinics do not perform or refer for abortions, as an alternative to using abortion clinics in San Diego, we can offer education on the types of abortions available, including a Medical Abortion, and other abortion options.


Also called Manual Vacuum Aspiration, this procedure is a surgical abortion generally performed within 7 weeks from the last period. The cervix is stretched open with dilators (metal rods), and a hollow plastic tube is inserted into the uterus. The fetus and the remaining contents of the uterus are removed using a handheld suction device.


Also called Suction Curettage, this procedure is a surgical abortion procedure usually employed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The doctor opens the cervix with dilators (metal rods) and then empties the uterus via a hollow plastic instrument connected by tubing to a suction machine. After suctioning, the doctor may scrape the walls of the uterus with a loop-shaped curette to ensure that the fetus, placenta and contents of the uterus are completely removed.


A surgical abortion procedure generally performed between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. The doctor inserts laminaria sticks into the cervix for 1-2 days to start the dilating process; these dried seaweed sticks absorb moisture and expand, causing the cervix to enlarge. On the day of the procedure, the physician will use dilating rods to further enlarge the cervical opening. The fetus is removed with forceps, along with the placenta and other tissue. A curette may then be used to scrape the uterus to make sure that all tissue has been removed.


A late-term surgical abortion procedure that takes three days to complete. During the first two days, the cervix is dilated and medication is given for cramping. On the third day, the woman receives medication to start labor. After labor begins, the doctor uses ultrasound to locate the position of the fetus. Using forceps, the doctor rotates the fetus, grasps the legs and pulls the torso, arms and shoulders through the birth canal. An incision is made at the base of the fetus’s skull and a suction catheter is placed into the cranium. The catheter removes the cerebral material until the skull collapses and then the fetus is completely removed.


  • Cramping of the uterus or pelvic pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Emotional or psychological distress
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection of the uterus
  • Infection of the fallopian tubes (which can cause scarring and cause infertility)
  • Puncture (perforation) of the uterus
  • Scarring of the uterine lining (suction tubing, curettes and other abortion instruments may cause permanent scarring of the uterine lining)
  • Damage to the cervix (creating complications with future pregnancies)
  • Death, in rare circumstances

Contact us to get help. All pregnancy services are free. All pregnancy services are free and we provide low to no cost STI/STD testing. Your privacy matters.