Induced abortion is the use of interventions (e.g., medication, procedures) to end a pregnancy. Common indications include patient choice, anticipated harm to the pregnant individual, and fetal genetic or anatomical abnormalities. Abortion may be performed via medical or surgical procedure. When performed under clinical guidance, induced abortion is highly effective and safe.
Common indications include: 
- Patient choice to end the pregnancy
- Anticipated harm to the pregnant individual
- Genetic or anatomical abnormalities in the fetus
Prior to induced abortion, the following steps should be considered: 
- Confirm pregnancy (e.g., with a ).
- Perform a .
- Consider ultrasound for patients with : 
- Use to select the method of induced abortion.
- Educate patients on expected symptoms and adverse effects, e.g.: 
- Offer additional care as indicated (e.g., referral for psychosocial services, , ).
|Methods of induced abortion |
|Medical abortion||Abortion procedures|
| || |
- For confirmation of abortion or evaluation of abortion complications, obtain: 
- Serum hCG level (if prior level is known) 
- Pelvic US: to evaluate for a gestational sac 
- Treat any complications.
- If a gestational sac is present, consider expectant management or repeat induced abortion. 
- Counsel patients on recommended follow-up:
Patients with uncomplicated induced abortions do not need a follow-up office visit, but one should be offered to all patients. 
Compared to unsupervised self-managed abortion, complications from medically supervised abortions are exceedingly rare, but may include: 
- DIC)  (
- Cervical laceration
- Uterine perforation
- Retained products of conception
- Pulmonary embolism, amniotic fluid embolism 
We list the most important complications. The selection is not exhaustive.
Unsupervised or unsafe self-managed abortion
- Definition: actions taken to end a pregnancy without any medical supervision 
- Epidemiology: In 2017, 18% of nonhospital facilities in the US treated women following self-managed abortion. 
Initial management 
- Stabilize patients with life-threatening complications, e.g., initiate:
- Pelvic examination to assess for products of conception, injuries, signs of infection (e.g., purulent drainage)
- Obtain diagnostic studies if clinically indicated, e.g.: 
- Consider imaging to evaluate for complications. 
- Identify and treat potential complications.
As of June 2022, medical practitioners are not required to report individuals who have performed an unsupervised self-managed abortion. 
Interested in the newest medical research, distilled down to just one minute? Sign up for the One-Minute Telegram in “Tips and links” below.
- One-Minute Telegram 54-2022-1/3: Google searches for abortion pills after SCOTUS leak