Abortion and Minnesota: What the Law Says
After getting a positive pregnancy test, your mind may be racing with a variety of emotions like fear, anger, or excitement. Some women may determine their plan for the pregnancy right away, while others may need more time. Regardless, it’s important to be educated on all pregnancy options (abortion, adoption, parenting) when facing an unexpected pregnancy to make an informed decision. This post will examine a woman’s legal rights surrounding abortion, what abortion methods are legal in Minnesota, and what steps can be taken if facing such a heavy decision.
Your Legal Rights
At least 24 hours before you have an abortion, you are required to give voluntary and informed consent that includes the medical risks of an abortion, the gestational age of the baby at the time of the abortion, and the medical risks of carrying the baby to term. You also have the right to be made aware of social aspects surrounding a pregnancy decision. These aspects include medical benefits available for prenatal care, childbirth and neonatal care, the father’s liability in supporting the child, a list of agencies that offer alternatives to abortion, and information on fetal pain.
Not only should you be informed of your options and risks, you should also be allowed to ask questions. This 24-hour waiting period is in place so that women have the right to think through their decision with the facts presented to them.
What Methods of Abortion Are Legal
Generally, abortions can be divided into two categories: before 14 weeks gestation and after 14 weeks gestation. While the medical aspects of these individual methods will be briefly outlined below, each method can be discussed further by calling one of our offices and/or scheduling an appointment with one of our staff.
Before 14 Weeks:
The most common method of abortion is a non-surgical abortion. This may also be referred to as a medical abortion, chemical abortion, RU-486, or “the abortion pill.” This type of abortion is legal up to 70 days after the first day a woman’s last menstrual period. This method uses a two-step process to end a pregnancy. The first step is taking a drug that blocks progesterone, which is a hormone needed to sustain a pregnancy. The second step is taking another medication that causes uterine contractions to expel all uterine contents including the baby and placenta.
The other method used prior to 14 weeks is called a vacuum aspiration abortion. This method opens the cervix and uses suction to remove the baby and placenta from the woman’s uterus.
After 14 Weeks:
After 14 weeks, there are two methods used. One of these methods is termed dilation and evacuation (D&E). This method is similar to a vacuum aspiration abortion in that the cervix needs to be dilated. This can be done with sponges or rods. After the cervix is opened, medical instruments such as forceps and suction are used to remove the baby and placenta.
The other method of abortion used after 14 weeks is labor induction. This form of abortion uses medication to initiate early labor. This may include receiving a drug intravenously (in your blood stream), intravaginally, or directly into the amniotic sac. Both intravenous and intravaginal medications start uterine contractions which induce labor and eventually lead to the delivery of the baby. In a small percentage of these deliveries, the baby is born alive. If the medication that is injected directly into the amniotic sac is used, this medication stops baby’s heartbeat and then stimulates uterine contractions.
When Does Abortion Become Illegal
In Minnesota, abortions are legal until what’s known as the “age of viability” which is the point in development when a baby can survive outside the womb. Currently, viability is determined to be 23 weeks gestation. Abortions may still be permitted after the age of viability if it’s determined the mother’s physical health is at a significant risk.
No matter what options are being considered, each choice can have a lasting impact. If you are in the decision-making process and feel overwhelmed or lost, we want you to know you are not alone. Call or text any of our offices to talk through your options or schedule an appointment for a pregnancy test, ultrasound, or decision-making appointment.Learn More
How Healthy Is My Relationship?
One way to know if your relationship is healthy is by asking yourself if these key qualities of a healthy relationship align with your relationship. These qualities not only apply to romantic relationships, but can be applied to friendships and families as well.
- Trust. Trust is many times the first quality that needs to be established before any more of the relationship can build. To know if your relationship has trust, we first need to look at what trust is. The Cambridge dictionary defines trust as believing that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable. Trusting someone is a big step. Knowing they are safe and want the best for you is essential to a healthy relationship. Trust is not something that can be established overnight. Trust should be built on honest, open conversations with each other. This doesn’t mean you need to give everything you have to this person. Trust is also built on boundaries and having respect for each other’s boundaries. This trust needs to go both ways. Of course, trust can be broken but this leads to another key quality.
- Forgiveness. A lot of times forgiveness seems like an act that is for someone else. But in reality, forgiveness can be a freeing and amazing act for yourself too. The amazing thing about forgiveness is it allows you to be free from whatever hurt someone caused you. True forgiveness is releasing someone in your heart. What they did no longer has the right to cause pain and bitterness. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not reconciliation. It is recognizing the other person did something wrong and steps need to be taken to reestablish the trust once built. Even if trust isn’t completely back to where it used to be, forgiveness is not holding bitterness against that person who hurt you and treating them with love and kindness.
- Kindness. Kindness seems simple but sometimes can be very hard to give, especially in times when others need it the most. One reason kindness is hard is because it is a selfless act. Acting in true kindness means you are giving and not looking to receive anything in return. Kindness involves a lot of grace; grace for others knowing that you also have you own faults and are going to fail them just as they have failed you. A lot of times grace is shown in kindness. Kindness can be shown in many ways from small acts, big gestures, or simply forgiving.
- Patience. Being patient with others is one way you can show them love. To be patient with someone, you need to have love and respect for that person. Being patient with someone can keep you from saying or doing something you may regret. Sometimes patience means biting your tongue and waiting, waiting for the other person to make the change you’ve been waiting on. When waiting on someone, it’s easy to pick out their bad qualities and criticize everything they do. Instead, it’s important to let go of any resentment you have in your heart and be thankful the qualities in them you appreciate the most.
- Support. Relationships that support each other push each other to be better. Whether this is spiritually, career focused, or physically. A relationship that is supportive doesn’t condemn when someone fails, but encourages and fights with that person to keep going. Supportive relationships build each other up, not tear each other down. Supporting someone can mean helping your partner see their goals and encouraging them even when it seems impossible. Sometimes supporting each other can bring about a tangible response such as running errands, cooking a meal, or providing childcare to help them reach their goal.
It is impossible for a relationship to be perfect, but a healthy relationship does not consist of many things. When you care about someone deeply, it is sometimes hard to see how they may be hurting you. There are some qualities of a relationship that are red flags and point to an abusive relationship. Some of these signs include:
- Telling you that you never do anything right.
- Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spend away from them.
- Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family, or peers.
- Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
- Preventing you from making your own decisions.
- Controlling finances.
- Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
- Intimidating you through threatening looks or acts.
- Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
- Intimidating you with weapons.
- Destroying your belongings.
If you are experiencing even one of these behaviors, it is important to get help. If you are in immediate danger, you can call the National domestic violence hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or text START to 88788.Learn More
What are the Risks of Abortion?
If you’re considering abortion for your unexpected pregnancy, you deserve to know the truth about what to expect. Did you know there are definite side effects and several potential risks with each abortion method? Don’t choose this serious medical procedure without the facts. Here’s what medical experts have to say.
What are the Types of Abortion?
There are two types of abortion, medical and surgical. Which method you qualify for is determined by how far along your pregnancy is. Medical abortion is performed if you’ve been pregnant for 10 weeks or less. If the gestational age is longer than 10 weeks, you’ll have an in-clinic surgical abortion.
You may have heard about one method of medical abortion called the abortion pill. Contrary to its name, the abortion pill isn’t just one pill and it’s over. You actually take a series of powerful drugs over 24 to 48 hours.
The Mayo Clinic says, “Having a medical abortion is a major decision with emotional and psychological consequences. If you’re considering this procedure, make sure you understand what it entails, side effects, possible risks, complications, and alternatives.”
Side Effects and Potential Risks of Medical Abortion
Here’s a list provided by the Mayo Clinic of side effects and potential risks:
- Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion
- A viable pregnancy if the procedure doesn’t work
- Heavy and prolonged bleeding
- Fever, especially serious if longer than 24 hours
- Digestive system discomfort
- Abdominal cramping
Once again, depending on how far along your pregnancy is determines the type of surgical procedure you’ll have. The procedures are more invasive the longer you’ve been pregnant.
Dilation and Curettage (D & C)
The Mayo Clinic provides detailed medical information on the side effects and risks of a D & C. This procedure begins after you’ve received general anesthesia. Afterward, your cervix is dilated (opened). Then, a surgical instrument called a curette is inserted into the uterus to remove the pregnancy. Curettes can be sharp or use suction (vacuum aspiration).
Side Effects and Potential Risks of This Type of Surgical Abortion
According to the Mayo Clinic, the side effects are fairly easy. They indicate you’ll feel mild cramping and spotting or light bleeding. However, they also list:
- Bleeding that’s heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
- Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
- Pain that gets worse instead of better
- Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
In addition, surgical abortions run the risk of:
- Perforation of the uterus
- Damage to the cervix
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall
You’ll also notice that the Mayo Clinic mentions abortion as having “emotional and psychological consequences” too. For some women, their emotional struggles after an abortion are devastating.
Let Us Assist You
At First Care, we can confirm your pregnancy with a lab-quality urine test at no cost to you. In addition, we offer free limited ultrasounds. Before scheduling an abortion, you need to know how far along you are if your pregnancy is growing, and where it’s located in your body.
We have four convenient locations that offer free and confidential pregnancy services. You deserve to know the facts and have your questions answered. Contact us today and let’s start the conversation.Learn More