What is an Aspiration Abortion?

There are two kinds of abortion available in BC: aspiration abortion (sometimes called surgical abortion) and medication abortion (sometimes called medical abortion). Both kinds of abortion are very safe, and the rate of complications is less than 1%. Abortion has no effect on future fertility unless there is a very rare complication.

Aspiration abortion is a procedure done in a clinic/hospital where the health care provider removes the contents of the uterus. In early pregnancy, this is done with aspiration (suction) and usually takes less than 10 minutes. Later in pregnancy, there may be additional steps in the procedure and it can take longer.

When is Aspiration abortion done?

Typically done in early pregnancy (first trimester), but may be done later in pregnancy (access may be limited based on where you live).

How many appointments?

Usually one appointment.

How much does it cost?

Cost covered by a Care Card (provincial medical coverage in BC). It is about $500 for those without a Care Card.

Is there pain or discomfort?

Typically, there is cramping (ranging from mild to strong) for a short time during the procedure and right afterward. Medications are available to help. Milder cramps may continue for some time afterward.

How much bleeding is there?

Typically lighter than someone’s usual period.

What are the side effects?

Some people will have dizziness or nausea/vomiting for a short time afterward. In most cases, you will need someone to drive/accompany you home.

Do I need to take time off from work/school/etc.?

Yes, the day of the procedure. Most activities can be resumed the following day.

Will people know I have had an abortion?

There is no way for someone to know you’ve had an aspiration abortion unless you choose to tell them.

What happens after an abortion?

  • It is important to follow the instructions given to you by your abortion provider. Some clinics may tell you to schedule a follow-up appointment.
  • Fertility returns very quickly after an abortion, so your abortion or regular health care provider can help you to find a birth control method that works for you.
  • After an abortion, you may have a variety of feelings, including relief and sadness. There are many services that provide emotional support after an abortion. If you need support you can ask your abortion provider or contact Sex Sense at 1-800-739-7367 or sexsense.org for resources

How can I find abortion services in BC?

What services are available will depend on where you live. You can ask your family doctor, local Options for Sexual Health Clinic, or Sex Sense for information on abortion services in your area. We also have some information listed on our abortion providers page.

Please note that some organizations that offer pregnancy options counselling, information or decision-making support are pregnancy crisis centers, anti-abortion organizations that spread misinformation about abortion and pressure people into continuing pregnancies. It can sometimes be quite difficult to know if an organization is a crisis pregnancy center. For pro-choice, nonjudgmental services that support all pregnancy options, please contact Sex Sense.

Questions? We’re here for you!

We are here to help.
You can visit one of our Options for Sexual Health Clinics to speak with a health care provider. Our Sex Sense Team is available Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. by phone 1-800-739-7367 or by email at SexSense.org to answer your questions about birth control, or any other questions about sex, sexuality, or sexual health. This fact sheet contains general information and should not be used in place of individual consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.

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