How long will it take?

Aspiration abortion: Most procedures normally take 5-15 minutes, but you will be in the clinic 2 to 3 hours. There is no follow up required after an aspiration abortion.

Medication abortion is a longer process. If you choose to have a medication abortion you will be in the clinic about 2 and a half hours. You will take the first medication in the clinic and 24-48 hours later take the second medication at home. The abortion usually starts 1-4 hours after you take the second medication.  Follow up is required to ensure the pregnancy has ended. A nurse will discuss this with you.

Try not to come before your appointment time, as you will only have to wait longer to be seen. If you have someone coming to pick you up, make sure they arrive by 4:00 p.m. as the clinic will be closing shortly after that time. Please note that only patients who have aspiration abortions need to arrange for an escort home due to the sedation given. Medical abortion patients are able to leave the clinic unescorted and are safe to drive.


Will it hurt?

Aspiration abortion: Before the procedure begins, you will have an intravenous (IV) inserted and will be given medication to help with anxiety, to help you relax and to help with pain. You will be sedated but you will not be totally asleep.  A local anaesthetic is also administered to the cervix.  Some people will still have menstrual-type cramps during the procedure and these cramps can continue for an hour or more. While you might experience some discomfort during or after the procedure, most people find that it is controllable and does not last very long. (Some people elect to have the procedure without sedation and do so without any problems.)

Medication abortion:  You will have a blood test done in the clinic. Patients may or may not experience cramping or bleeding after taking mifepristone at the clinic. After you take the second medication (misoprostol) at home 24-48 hours later, you will experience further cramping and bleeding. Cramps may be severe for a few hours during this process, and may continue intermittently for up to six weeks. Over the counter pain medication can help.

How safe is abortion?

Aspiration Abortion: When abortion was illegal it was a very unsafe procedure. This is because people often did the procedure under unsanitary conditions or with no medical training. However, since legalization, abortion has become one of the safest surgical procedures available. In the first three months (first trimester) of pregnancy, 97% of people report no complications, 2.5% report minor problems that can be handled in a doctor’s office and less than 0.5% require hospitalization for complications. To put this in perspective, abortion is at least 10 times safer than pregnancy and childbirth.  Complication rates are a little higher in the second trimester, but the procedure remains very safe.

Medication Abortion: The medications have been safely used around the world since 1988. Abortion is at least 10 times safer than pregnancy and childbirth.

Details on the risks are outlined on the Surgical Abortion and Medical Abortion pages.


Do I need parental consent?

No. Consent in Alberta is based on capacity, not age. If the physician and clinic staff feel you understand the procedure and its risks, you may sign your own consent form.

Call Kensington Clinic at (403) 283-9117 if you are seeking information on resources in your area.

Is this confidential?

Absolutely. We do not give out any information about you to anyone, or acknowledge that you have been to our clinic without your permission. We will only contact you in the manner in which you instruct us to. All claims to Alberta Health Care are suppressed. They will never appear on a statement or be released to anyone.