How Long Does a Surgical Abortion Take?

Abortion in Nebraska is banned after 12 weeks. Women seeking an abortion for pregnancies under 12 weeks will likely obtain a procedure called vacuum aspiration. This procedure only takes 15-20 minutes, but your appointment could last 3-4 hours due to the preparation and recovery phases. 

If you are over 12 weeks pregnant and considering traveling out of state for an abortion, the procedure may take longer as the procedure becomes more complicated as pregnancy progresses. Many states also have mandatory counseling requirements or waiting periods so that an abortion can take up to a few days, not including the recovery.

What Happens During a Surgical Abortion?

A surgical abortion involves the provider accessing the woman’s uterus through her vagina. Sometimes medication is used to soften the cervix (the opening of the uterus). A local anesthetic is injected into the cervix. This medication takes about an hour to become effective. The provider uses a series of rods at expanding diameters to dilate (open) the cervix. The provider then uses suction to remove the embryo or fetus from the woman’s uterus along with the supportive pregnancy tissue. 

If a pregnancy is further developed, a provider may also use additional surgical instruments like a curette (a scraping tool) or forceps.

Some providers may offer general sedation. This increases the cost of the surgical abortion and can add more time to the procedure as a woman will need time to recover from the anesthesia. 

Before an Abortion

Local abortion laws may leave you feeling rushed to get an abortion. Before you undergo an abortion, though, take the time to protect your health and safety by taking a few simple steps.  

  • Accurate pregnancy testing: Highly reliable testing is administered by members of our staff at Assure Women’s Center so you can confirm the results of your drugstore test.
  • Ultrasound: In early pregnancy, an ultrasound provides the viability, date, and confirmation of your pregnancy, all crucial information to your well-being during an abortion.
  • STD/STI testing: Obtaining an abortion while infected with an STD/STI can increase your risk of serious complications even when you have no symptoms. 

Reach Out Today

An unexpected pregnancy can be full of fear and uncertainty. Let Assure Women’s Center help. We offer information about your options and resources and provide essential services in a welcoming environment. All appointments are free and confidential. Make an appointment today.


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