Roughly a million abortions are performed each year in the United States alone (CDC 2015). This number may be underestimated since the reporting of abortions is not mandatory in the USA. Although deemed safe, therapeutic abortions, as well as spontaneous miscarriages, can lead to a variety of complications. Most complications are considered minor such as pain, bleeding, infection, and post-anesthesia complications. Others are major, including uterine atony and subsequent hemorrhage, uterine perforation, injuries to adjacent organs (bladder or bowels), cervical laceration, failed abortion, septic abortion, and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). The total abortion-related complication rate of all sources of care including emergency departments and the original abortion facility is estimated to be about 2%. The incidence of abortion-related emergency department visits within six weeks of the initial abortion procedure is about 40%.
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