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Why use the term “aspiration abortion”?

Instrumentation abortions are commonly referred to as “surgical” abortions. However, the use of the modifier “surgical” is problematic. The term surgery has specific meanings within the context of medicine as well as general parlance. Surgery implies piercing of the skin, cutting, and incisions and is associated with the physician population of surgeons. First trimester interventional techniques include both electric vacuum aspiration (EVA) and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA). These procedures are relatively simple and consistent with the scope of practice of advance practice clinicians and primary care physicians (non-surgeons) who serve women of reproductive age. As aspiration abortion more accurately reflects this family of first trimester abortion procedures, we use “aspiration abortion” throughout this website.

Reference: Weitz T, Foster A, Ellertson C, Grossman D, Stewart F. “Medical” and “surgical” abortion: Rethinking the modifiers. Contraception. 2004:69:77-78.


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