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All about Abortion

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 2 Mar 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
All About Abortion

Abortion is a contentious issue, and often the emotions that surround it obscure the facts. Today, abortion is a safe way to terminate an unwanted pregnancy but not everyone understands the details. Finding out the answers to frequently asked questions about abortion will help you make an informed decision whenever you need to.

What is an Abortion?

An abortion is a medical procedure to terminate a pregnancy. There are several types of abortions, and the method used depends upon the length of the pregnancy. These methods include:

  • Early medical abortion (up to nine weeks). This method involves taking two tablets, one two days after the other, and together they will induce cramping that will result in the uterus breaking down and the embryo being flushed out. This may also be called medical abortion or using the abortion pill.
  • Vacuum aspiration abortion (five to fifteen weeks). This method involves a tube being inserted into the vagina and using suction to remove the embryo from the uterus. This is sometimes also called the suction method.
  • Dilation and evacuation (fifteen to nineteen weeks). This method involves stretching the cervix open with forceps and using suction to remove the embryo from the uterus. This may also be called D&E and be considered the suction method.
  • Late Abortion (twenty to twenty four weeks). At this stage there are two options. 1 - surgical two stage abortion, which is carried out over two days or 2- medically induced abortion, both options require an overnight stay in hospital. More information about late abortion can be found on the NHS website www.nhs.uk

Are All Abortions Legal in the UK?

Abortion is legal in England, Scotland and Wales up until the 24th week of a pregnancy. The methods described above are all legal as long as two doctors agree that to continue the pregnancy would harm the woman's physical or mental health, or that of her children. Abortion is not legal at all in Northern Ireland.

Are Abortions Carried Out in Hospital?

Abortions are not always carried out in hospital. During early medical abortions the tablets are administered at a hospital or clinic, but most women return home afterwards. Vacuum aspirations and D&Es may also take place in a hospital or specialised and approved clinic as a day procedure, however if they involve local or general anaesthetic the stay may be longer or overnight.

How Much Does an Abortion Cost?

An abortion can be free on the NHS if a doctor refers a woman and the woman attends a consultation at a clinic. There is usually a two to four week waiting list for abortions on the NHS, so women must act quickly. Women may also choose to use a private clinic where fees may be anything from £450 up to £1770 (the price depending on how many weeks pregnant you are and the type of procedure you require). These clinics usually offer payment plans to clients who need them.

Are there Laws about Teenagers Having Abortions?

Young women under the age of 16 may seek abortion information without parental consent. A young woman under the age of 16 may also have an abortion without parental consent if her doctors determine that she meets the Fraser Guidelines:

  • She understands the medical professional's advice.
  • She can not be persuaded to inform her parents.
  • She is competent to give consent to the treatment.
  • It is in her best interest not to inform her parents.

Can Doctors Refuse to Refer a Woman for an Abortion?

Yes. A doctor may refuse to refer a woman for an abortion if (s)he believes that abortion is wrong in all circumstances. According to the law, however, these doctors must make their views known in their clinic literature and they must make alternative health care arrangements for their patients who request it.

Is Having an Abortion a Risk to a Woman's Health?

Your doctors will give you further information about the risks associated with having an abortion, but for the most part they are minimal. The later an abortion occurs in a pregnancy the greater the chances of a complication, but only rarely do women experience:

  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Damage to the cervix or womb.
  • Post-abortion infection that brings with it fever, discharge, bleeding or abdominal pain.

Abortions are safe, legal medical procedures in England, Scotland and Wales, though simply because they are legal does not mean they should be treated lightly. If you are considering having an abortion, seek confidential medical advice from your GP or local clinic, and they will refer you as needed.

No matter how you feel about your pregnancy, remember that health professionals will help you decide what is best for you.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi I’m 14 nearly 15 and I’m almost a week late , I keep having cramps and very watery discharge with little blood in it I’m starting to think I’ve made a big mistake and may need an abortion it’s something I have thought long and hard about , my boyfriend knows the situation and so does an adult do I go to my local clinic and take a test?
1234 - 2-Mar-20 @ 12:21 AM
Hi I am 16 and I am showing all the signs of being pregnant I live in the UK and wanted to know if it's true that my mum can make me get an abortion if she sees me unfit to be a mother?
Libertykaye1 - 3-Feb-20 @ 4:20 AM
Hi there I need a quick answer please . My girlfriend is being pregnant I think for about 1 month And she doesn’t want abortion But I am not happy with that Is there any legal action that I could make her to get rid of the baby or if I abort the baby by giving her tablets with out she finding out Do I get in trouble for that with the law after they discover it was me ?
Mr - 30-Dec-19 @ 12:58 PM
Hi, i'm 17 and i think i'm pregnant because i'm expriencing a lot of the symptoms of prenancy and i'm wondering wether or not my parents will need to know that i want an abortion.
Li - 25-Oct-19 @ 9:49 AM
if im 17, will i need someone over the age of 18 to come with me for an abortion in the uk?
Iz - 17-Jul-19 @ 8:53 PM
Hi, my girlfriend is late on her period and thinks she’s pregnant. In England can she go to the doctors or abortion clinic without her parents finding out? Thank you
Help135 - 12-Jun-19 @ 9:46 PM
I’m 14.my boyfriend is 17. We had an abortion last year and everything went smoothly but now I’m pregnant again (possibly 3months counting from my last period)and I just want to get rid of this baby I’m desperate please help me. I don’t want to get him in trouble and I don’t want my parents finding out. Me and my parents have only just started having some sort of relationship and I just can’t ruin that . I can’t hurt anymore people including myself. I’m having really bad pains in my stomach, uterus and back and feeling sort of dizzy at times. I’ve been searching a lot of things up on the web and just over thinking very unhealthy and stressing myself and torturing myself basically. Please tell me that I can have an abortion without my parents finding out and that there’s not a possibility of danger in my situation regarding my physical health. Please return my comment asap. Thank you
Dindin - 10-Jun-19 @ 6:00 PM
Im so afraid. Im 14 and me and my boyfriend shared our first time together, he's 15 but we're in the same year. I know its been like 12 hours but I have a very sensitive body and I can feel everything changing, I feel sick, dizzy and I'm bloating I NEVER BLOAT not even when I eat too much. I can't be pregnant, they'll kill me honestly. This is so serious if im pregnant I wont be able to live any more im already dealing with mental health issues. Help me im begging you, form the bottom of my soul I need that abortion.
Rose - 3-Jan-19 @ 1:23 AM
Im 16 my gf is 156 months between us i think she is pregnant it was a total accident but she deosnt want her parents finding out my mother knows we want an abortion what should we do
Stressed - 2-Jan-19 @ 5:36 PM
My periods 4 weeks late, i tjink i want a termination but dont want my parentts to know whats my best option
Bxfy - 13-Nov-18 @ 10:30 PM
Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sec and he didn’t cum. I’m scared i may be pregnant even tho I took a morning after pill , if I am. How do I go about an abortion without my parents having to find out
Lalaxx - 6-Nov-18 @ 12:42 AM
help - Your Question:
I’m 15 and I am pregnant but my mum can’t find out will she know if I go to the doctors I really don’t know what to do please help

Our Response:
Please see the link here. Your parents do not need to know. Any treatment you have through your GP or clinic will be treated as confidential.
TeenIssues - 7-Sep-18 @ 3:24 PM
I’m 15 and I am pregnant but my mum can’t find out will she know if I go to the doctors I really don’t know what to do please help
help - 6-Sep-18 @ 10:06 PM
hello! I am a priest. I am afraid I have gotten a nun pregnant (whoops) I am ashamed of my sins but I believe that the lord will forgive me. the nun seems to have an sti although I am unsure how as she is a nun and shouldn't be fooling around(I am aware I did the same) I am apologising but not for her. what do I do to help this itchiness in my crotch area?
priestwithaproblem - 20-Aug-18 @ 12:21 PM
Ward1996 - Your Question:
My 14 year old sister might be pregnant and I'm providing a pregnancy test for her. If she is pregnant could I take her for an abortion if that's the choice she makes.

Our Response:
Much depends upon how many weeks she is. If the pregnancy is early days, then please see the link here . You would be able to her to accompany your sister to see your GP in confidence.
TeenIssues - 17-Aug-18 @ 10:42 AM
My 14 year old sister might be pregnant and I'm providing a pregnancy test for her. If she is pregnant could I take her for an abortion if that's the choice she makes.
Ward1996 - 16-Aug-18 @ 9:56 PM
Jadey010 - Your Question:
Hi. So I'm 17. And I've been pregnant before when I was 15, but suffered from a miscarriage. I think I may be pregnant again. What are the chances of having a miscarriage again. I'm also unsure of I should abort as my boyfriend is quite a bit older than me. Not only thatg but I've just left school and I'm scared it will mess with the rest of my life. What are my chances of having yet another miscarriage and would it be worth looking into abortion?

Our Response:
You cannot rely upon the chances of you miscarrying. I suggest you have a pregnancy test first and if you are pregnant visit your GP asap in order to explore your options.
TeenIssues - 9-Aug-18 @ 12:48 PM
Hi. So I'm 17. And I've beenpregnant before when i was 15, but suffered from a miscarriage. I think i may be pregnant again. What are the chances of having a miscarriage again. I'm also unsure of I should abort as my boyfriend is quite a bit older than me. Not only thatg but I've just left school and I'm scared it will mess with the rest of my life. What are my chances of having yet another miscarriage and would it be worth looking into abortion?
Jadey010 - 7-Aug-18 @ 4:41 PM
Sh - Your Question:
I am 14 and my period is 3 days late, I think there’s a chance I’m pregnant, if I am, how can I get an abortion without my parents knowing?

Our Response:
The link here should help answer your question.
TeenIssues - 16-Jul-18 @ 12:25 PM
I am 14 and my period is 3 days late, I think there’s a chance I’m pregnant, if I am, how can I get an abortion without my parents knowing?
Sh - 15-Jul-18 @ 10:44 PM
I’m pregnant. I can’t speak to my GP, because I don’t know who it is. I can’t tell my parents know. Can I go to an abortion clinic and request the pills. I can’t stay overnight in hospital. I’m 17 and well- the baby was a “rape-baby.” What can I do.
BoiBoiBoi - 1-Jul-18 @ 11:51 PM
pregoandinadilema - Your Question:
Hey sisters, I am a transgender and I'm pregnant but I've already taken my estrogen (my transition tablets) but I haven't yet had the surgery, will this effect my baby in anyway?

Our Response:
You would need to speak to your GP directly regarding this matter. It is important that you do.
TeenIssues - 22-Jun-18 @ 2:36 PM
Hey sisters, I am a transgender andI'm pregnant but I've already taken my estrogen (my transition tablets) but I haven't yet had the surgery, will this effect my baby in anyway?
pregoandinadilema - 22-Jun-18 @ 11:21 AM
Anonymous- Your Question:
I found out I'm pregnant only by 5 or 6 weeks, I'm 16 years old and I'm wondering if I need an adult to accompany me when I go for my abortion? If I do does it have to be a family member or can it be a friend?

Our Response:
You do not need to have an adult with you if you go to your GP to request an abortion. If you personally feel you wish to have someone with you, you can.
TeenIssues - 14-May-18 @ 3:35 PM
I found out I'm pregnant only by 5 or 6 weeks, I'm 16 years old and I'm wondering if I need an adult to accompany me when I go for my abortion? If I do does it have to be a family member or can it be a friend?
Anonymous - 13-May-18 @ 11:58 PM
Hi asking for a friend she is 15 and is scared that she could be pregnant her period is a week late and a test has came up positive her parents are very strict and will not tell them and her gp is a relation
Aar - 25-Apr-18 @ 10:28 PM
I think I am pregnant and I wanna have an abortion. My parents are really strict, I don't want my parents to know and the gp I go to, my doctor is really close to my mother what should I do?
sarah - 24-Apr-18 @ 1:49 AM
Anonymous1 - Your Question:
My girlfriends period is late by 5 days and she claims her boobs are getting bigger and I don’t know wether it’s paranoia and we don’t know how to go about getting an abortion

Our Response:
Before your girlfriend thinks about terminating her pregnancy, it would be wise to find out first and foremeost if she is pregnant by doing a pregnancy test. You can see more via the NHS link here .
TeenIssues - 23-Apr-18 @ 2:52 PM
My girlfriends period is late by 5 days and she claims her boobs are getting bigger and I don’t know wether it’s paranoia and we don’t know how to go about getting an abortion
Anonymous1 - 21-Apr-18 @ 7:34 PM
Laura - Your Question:
Thankyou,if I’m not pregnant then will it be the pill causing my period to not of come?

Our Response:
The pill is over 99% effective if used correctly. You can see more via the link here , which should help answer your question.
TeenIssues - 19-Apr-18 @ 12:47 PM
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