Suction abortion - in which the foetus is dismembered (torn apart) by a vacuum machine - is the most common early surgical technique.
The cervix (the neck of the womb) must be stretched open to allow the surgeon to insert a plastic tube into the womb. Sharp-edged openings near the tip of the tube help to dismember the baby so the parts are small enough to be sucked out. The surgeon then uses the suction tube to evacuate the placenta from the womb. The remains of the baby are deposited in a jar for disposal.
This is the technique that abortion promoters call "safe, early abortion". However, the vast majority of abortions are performed on healthy young women for non-medical reasons, and abortionists rarely explain the health risks to their clients.
Vacuum aspiration accounts for around 90% of abortions in England and Wales up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and it is used for around half of abortions performed between 13 and 19 weeks. When used at 13-19 weeks, it is often necessary to use other instruments to remove or crush parts of the baby that are too large to pass through the tube.