This Is What An Abortion Looks Like

Have you ever walked by those grotesque posters held up by anti-abortion activists and wondered if that is what an actual abortion looks like? The posters often look something like this:

Those are not accurate. Here’s what an actual abortion looks like:

Or at least, what a safe abortion at six weeks looks like. The author of This Is My Abortion chose to document her abortion with a hidden camera-phone after walking through a group of protesters holding up images of bloodied babies supposed to represent abortions on her way into the clinic. She tells The Guardian: 

My hope is this project will help dispel the fear, lies and hysteria around abortion, and empower women to make educated decisions for their bodies. I believe we are the majority, and we hold the power to demand the right to make educated choices for our bodies and our families. I hope will be used as a tool to bring a fair, honest, balanced view of safe abortion. We, together, can take a stand for the truth, women’s rights and reproductive justice.

It goes without saying that we take abortions very seriously at TheGloss – but we also take being informed very seriously. We hope, as the author of the website surely does, that these images will help demystify the procedure for you so you can be better informed about choices available to you if you do have an unwanted pregnancy. To further the discussion, visit the website here.

Picture via This Is My Abortion

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    • Dawn

      Thank you for posting this. *hug*

      • Jennifer Wright

        I only wish it would half as well as anything Tom Cruise related.

    • kacobro

      Actually, from someone who actually worked in clinic that conducted abortions, your article is wrong. “Results” of an abortion vary by method. It also varies by age, and most abortions are conducted after 6 weeks. In the most popular forms of abortion, the fetus is actually removed in chunks. For years I had to count baby body parts afterwards to ensure we had everything.

      • mm

        Considering how judgmental you seem just from your comment, maybe you shouldn’t have worked there at all. I don’t know if you’re lying and you’re just anti-abortion trying to convince people that the article is wrong or what, but saying that you had to count baby parts is exactly what this article is trying to work against. From someone who has had an abortion, and who hasn’t quite gotten over it yet – f*** you. Sometimes it’s not a choice…because although it might BE a choice, what choice is there between giving birth to a baby that will never have a good life OR aborting said baby, creating a good life for yourself, and having one when you’re ready. People who have abortions always have a reason, and while some do it as a form of birth control, others of us are heartbroken over it. But like I said, there’s really no choice when you’re 19 years old and have no means of supporting a child like a responsible adult. I’m so sick of anti-abortion nutjobs making women feel bad for decisions they make about their own bodies. Go focus on improving yourself and leave the rest of us alone…clearly you need the work.

      • Sam

        So much of your comment sounds fishy and simply anti-abortion rather than actually knowledge based.

        “In the most popular forms of abortion” — specify? Because in addition to thinking “popular” is a strange adjective to use here, I also am aware that a fetus is the size of a small bean at 2 months and is only a few inches long at 3 months. An abortion performed in the first trimester would not result in “counting baby parts.” I would know: I had a violent miscarriage at eight weeks and, as I was completely devastated by the loss, I spoke to numerous doctors about where the fetus had been in development and was told that it was extremely tiny with very little distinguishing features which was normal for that time span.

        You worked “in clinic that conducted abortions” rather than “I assisted in abortions” sounds inconsistent. Plus, your utilization of the term “baby” in lieu of “fetus” feels like you’re completely opposed to abortion–even at the hospital I was at having my procedure (which was not technically an abortion and it was at a regular hospital), the nurses and doctors STILL said “fetus” rather than “baby.” So, I am definitely suspicious/doubtful/are you seriously kidding me with this story, buddy?

      • Valde

        Yeah, that person is full of shit.

      • kjon

        @mm – well put. I try to not comment on things of this nature (mostly because I’ve never had this procedure) but I really respect your decision and sharing your experience. And, uh, you’re right that the comment sounds more than suspect. I get very put off by how out of touch some of the comments are on this topic. Besides the copious “fuck you, slut” comments, there is one person on Mommyish, “CW”, who really left me gobsmacked after I left a comment similar in reasoning to you. She not only replied that I was pro-slavery (??) because I thought that no one should impose his/her morals onto others, s/he basically put her/himself – and thus other anti-choicers – on the level of early abolitionists. I was truly offended by her impertinence. This CW has gotten quite belligerent over there on multiple occasions. Is that behavior with blatant lying, hyperbole, misogyny and a complete lack of empathy supposed to change my opinion?

        TL;DR?… I agree with you.

      • Jean

        I’m not sure kacobro is anti-abortion, I believe she’s sharing her experience. It seems to me that she’s right in that results may vary. I don’t have experience with choosing abortion personally, but I did have a miscarriage 8 weeks into my pregnancy and the fetus/baby came out – in my home, into my hand – looking just like that top picture. But my mom also had a miscarriage. Hers, also in the 1st trimester, required medical intervention similar to an elected abortion and shared with me that her doctors in fact had to “count baby body parts” to get an idea if they had successfully cleared her uterus.

        This whole discussion just makes me think about how much images and words – the appearances of things – matter to people, and I just don’t think it should. There is life in your uterus whether you’ll ever have to see it or not, whether it has fingers yet or what. I’m completely pro-choice, for the record. I think it should be a choice made by someone who has reviewed their lives rationally and emotionally.

        The pro-life/anti-choice (can’t we have a neutral word please!) protestors outside with their dead-but-perfect bloody fetus pictures are making an extreme emotional appeal to our senses which is hard for anyone to ignore. I’d just like to point out that the sterile tubes-and-glass photos are stooping to the same level (Look! Medical procedure! Nothing personal!), (justifiable? fight fire with fire? ok). Fingers-and-toes or puree-in-a-jar shouldn’t matter. Saying baby or saying fetus shouldn’t matter. It is what it is, and what it means to you is what it means to you, and please figure out what that is and what it means before choosing. The choice should be made intelligently and individually after assessing your own situation rationally, your thoughts and plans and beliefs, as well as your emotional health.

        I don’t want someone to NOT get an abortion out of guilt and shame and a gut feeling at seeing a bloody fetus. But I also don’t want someone to GET one because they think it’s a clean and simple solution that does not require serious emotional intelligence, which I know is also something which is not uncommon. As mm pointed out, even when the decision makes sense for your life, it can cause lasting heartbreak. I don’t like guilt and heartbreak, but I also don’t like putting up defensive walls as the solution. If you know yourself and where you stand, if you have assessed why exactly the bloody fetus does or does not make you cringe (and if it does, how important those feelings are to you in your own emotional hierarchy/beliefs about life) and then you choose to have an abortion or not to, you have my honest congratulations. How to get every woman to that point, I don’t know. Alas, alas, but discussion on the subject certainly helps. So thank you to The Gloss.

        Mm- it sounds like you did what you needed to do, and I hope you don’t let anyone, including yourself, make you feel bad about it. I’m sure it was and still is a difficult thing, and I hope that you are, as you said, working on moving forward positively in order to get yourself into a better situation in the present and for the future.

      • jlm24

        mm, there is always a choice. And if you did not feel capable of raising the child aborting it is not your only option. You could have given it a happy life with a loving family that was willing to adopt. It was your choice to have sex which resulted in a pregnancy and your choice to abort. Life isn’t so black and white, and there are always other options.

      • Valde

        You’re full of shit.

        91% of abortions occur before 13 weeks, 61% before 9 weeks.

        And before 9 weeks it is nothing more than a tiny tiny mass of tissue.

    • Alex

      I’m pro-choice because it’s a woman body and uterus, so is HER call if she want to carry the fetus or not.
      I prefer a society that approves abortion to one that is full of unwanted children being mistreated by their own parents or in foster care. I

    • meteor_echo

      I’ve always found it mildly amusing how the pro-life folks misguide people by using wrong pictures (for example, the top picture in your article, which is indeed what pro-lifers say an early-stage aborted fetus looks like, is a photo of a miscarried 2nd trimester fetus). Thank you for writing this article, and my thanks to the author of “This Is My Abortion” site for taking those pictures.

    • yiraf

      THANK YOU Jean. Seriously you put into words what would have taken me an hour to construct. But mainly that I am not anti-abortion or pro-choice but I am very careful with my birth control for the reason that I am terrified of ever having to get an abortion. I would do it but I think it would definitely be emotionally scarring. I support everyone’s right to choose but you painting abortion as something completely morally -and even clinically! look!- clean undermines your argument. Abortions shouldn’t be stigmatized as they are but they shouldn’t be treated like they are a trip to a (very bloody) grocery store either.

      • CC

        I don’t see how this article painted abortion like a “trip to a (very bloody) grocery store”. Seems to me that the article showed abortion as it is. There was no mention of morality in the article, so your statement that she “paint[ed] abortion as something completely morally…clean” is not only irrelevant, but false as well. You read too much into this.

    • Linda

      I disagree with abortion immensely. And I hope you all realize that I hate what this country has come to because of you, pro-choice.

      • Carrie

        Also the real one is much much worse than what I thought.

      • Sarah-Jo Archbold

        No one will value your opinion if you can’t value their decisions.