Although the threshold for pain differs for each individual, the majority of women who have an abortion report pain associated with the experience, even with anesthetic.1
Below are actual comments from women who have experienced medical (the "abortion pill") or surgical abortions. Pain can range from mild to moderate to extreme in each case. Everyone's experience is unique.
"When they take you into the room they give you a light sedative and numb your cervix. The pressure from the needle is slightly painful but quick. If you are lucky you can get a doctor that can dilate you quickly before the numbness wares off. You will feel cramping from the suction..."
- Shadowlove, eHealth Forum
"The pain was absolutely horrible, a lot worse than I thought it would be... The process itself was indeed about three minutes, after it was done I felt very light-headed and experienced more cramps while re-cooperating."
- Sistahisme, eHealth Forum
"...it was a lot of sucking and cramping. Very very uncomfortable. It wasn't the most painful thing, but it did hurt a little bit with the cramping... I had more cramping and lots of blood clots for about 7-10 days."
- Nebraska Girl, Yahoo Answers
"She sprays something then numbs my cervix. Who knew that had so much feeling! Then I think what she did was dilate me. With some instruments. It felt like an intense period cramp..and again..and again. Then the tube went in... I had about 3 waves of intense cramp pain and breathing deep helped to get through those waves it was the most intense pain I've ever felt."
- notwhatyouthink, Experience Project
"I have had 4 "pill" abortions. They were all very painful, worse than the labor I experienced with my son. I bled for weeks on end, and had to take time off from work/school..."
- Twentysomethingmomma, eHealth Forum
"The bleeding and cramping was much worse than a normal period."
- mylobatis, eHealthForum
"What you experience is actual contractions... I was in so much pain I couldn't lie down or stand up, I didn't know what to do with myself. I kept going to the toilet as I was so restless and I still hadn't even started bleeding yet. I went back to my bed and was sick..."
- bexybex, soFeminine Blog
"Yeah it hurt which I why I'm so glad I got the strong painkiller. It pretty much knocked me out for about 3 hours. When I woke up I didn't feel anything (aka the abortion was complete)."
- Juniper Sage, Yahoo Answers
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information. Authors: G Smith, P Stubblefield, L Chirchirillo, M McCarthy. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1979 Mar 1;133(5):489-98. Pain of first-trimester abortion: its quantification and relations with other variables. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/443287