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An abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy.

It's also sometimes known as a termination of pregnancy. The pregnancy is ended either by taking medicines or having a surgical procedure.

A lot of states allow the right to abort, but some states have already passed “anti-abortion laws”. Anti-abortion laws do not stop or reduce abortions. In fact, they can make them dangerous. When carried out with the assistance of a trained healthcare provider in sanitary conditions, abortions are one of the safest medical procedures available. But, when abortions are restricted or criminalized, people are forced to seek unsafe ways to end pregnancies.

Eleven states have proposed Heartbeat Bills since 2018. Since 2019, such bills have passed including bills in Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas, most of which lie either partly or entirely in the Bible Belt. A fetal heartbeat may first be detected by a vaginal ultrasound as early as 5 1/2 to 6 weeks after gestation. That's when a fetal pole, the first visible sign of a developing embryo, can sometimes be seen. But between 6 1/2 to 7 weeks after gestation, a heartbeat can be better assessed. Heartbeat Bills generally make abortion illegal after about six weeks – before many women even realize they are pregnant.

Legal abortion is a safe procedure and safest, with less pain and bleeding, when carried out as early as possible in pregnancy. Most women will not experience any problems, but there is a small risk of complications, such as:

* infection of the womb (uterus)

* some of the pregnancy remaining in the womb

* excessive bleeding

* damage to the womb or entrance of the womb (cervix)

If complications do occur, you may need further treatment, including surgery.

Having an abortion doesn't necessarily affect your chances of becoming pregnant again and having normal pregnancies in the future. You may be able to get pregnant immediately after an abortion, although I question why go through the effort just to get pregnant again so quickly. You should use contraceptives if you do not want to get pregnant. Look for my blog on contraceptive options.

After an abortion, you'll probably need to take things easy for a few days. It's likely you'll have some discomfort and vaginal bleeding for up to 2 weeks.

Please note, abortion is an option but not the only one. Talking through your options and what they mean for your short - and long-term plans is best before making a final decision.

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