Elements of Comprehensive Abortion Care

Comprehensive abortion care is rooted in our belief that women must be able to access high-quality, affordable abortion care in the communities where they live and work. This care includes contraception, postabortion care and pain management. The World Health Organization recommends these safe methods of abortion:

  • Medical abortion, also called medication abortion or the abortion pill, is a method of using pills to end a pregnancy through a process similar to miscarriage. It provides a noninvasive method of ending an unwanted pregnancy that women can use in a range of settings, and often in their own homes.  
  • Vacuum aspiration. Manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) is a safe and effective method of uterine evacuation that involves use of a hand-held plastic aspirator providing a vacuum source attached to a cannula (thin tube) and manually activated to suction the uterine contents. Electric vacuum aspiration involves the use of an electric pump or suction machine connected via flexible tubing to a plastic or metal cannula. It typically is used in centralized settings with higher caseloads, and is less appropriate for settings with intermittent electrical supply. 
  • Dilatation and evacuation (primarily in second trimester) is a procedure by which the cervix is dilated, and then the uterine contents are removed by using electric vacuum aspiration.