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All about Abortion

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 11 Feb 2019 | 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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If you think you’re pregnant then go to your local NHS walk-in or doctors. There’s absolutely no shame in asking for help, and there is definitely no shame in buying a pregnancy test... there are self check-outs in shops and you don’t need ID to buy one. Sex is overrated, wait until you’re older! (Not a website editor, just wish I could help you all!)
StopPanicking! - 11-Feb-19 @ 7:29 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
ok so I'm 13 and me and my bf (also 13) had sex about 7 weeks ago since then I have been put off loads of food that I would normally eat and I have also been sick every morning consistently for a few weeks also i have been noticing I have a little bit of a lump and it looks a lot like a pregnancy bump, I think I'm pregnant and I have no idea what to do or how to tell my family, help me plz.
save me - 16-Dec-18 @ 5:54 PM
I’m 13 but I’m 14 next Saturday and me and my boyfriend had sex a week ago and we were a condom but it broke?? and I know it was only a week ago but I have a strong feeling I might be pregnant , I’m having a lot of the pregnancy signs , I’m very bloated , my breasts are heavier then usual , I constantly need a wee , I’m eating 24/7 , constant headaches and dizziness and just genuinely feel loads bigger , I’m definately in need of an abortion if I am pregnant but my parents cannot find out or any of my family they would disown me and probs literally kill me , help ?? Anyone ??
Amelia - 8-Dec-18 @ 8:40 AM
I'm 14 and I had sex 3 weeks ago. We used a condom but the condom broke. However he didn't cum. I'm on the pill, i only took it for 5 days and had sex on the 5th day of taking it. I have veins on my breasts and though I have no pain or tenderness they are larger than usual. Veins in my legs and arms are showing more. I had spotting 1 day ago, it wasn't like a period it was brown. And only happened 1 day that's all. I'm worried that I might be pregnant, my periods are irregular but i should have mine in a week. If i am pregnant i want an abortion for definite. How would i get an abortion without my parents finding out? 888
Darcy - 24-Nov-18 @ 4:46 PM
My bf and I had a casual cuddling but I'm scared because his dick discharged a fluid and I'm not sure if it was seminal fluid or saliva but he fingered me with his hands being wet I'm not sure about my pregnancy it's been 4 days now should I get a pregnancy test ?
Arvi - 19-Nov-18 @ 10:53 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
I'm 14 n I had sex 4 weeks ago with my boyfriend who is also 14 but I haven't took a test but I've had morning sickness and feeling sick without being sick and Breast tenderness but if I am pregnant how do I tell my parents because my mum got pregnant with me at 14 but she said if I ever do anything like that she would disown me and kick me out help what should I do ?
Liss - 7-Nov-18 @ 1:49 AM
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
Right, im 17 on the pill and took the morning after pill an hour after unprotected sex, but i think i may be pregnant and my mum can not find out like ever, ive been feeling sick and have thrown up im really scared and dont know what to do
Helppp please - 31-Oct-18 @ 9:59 PM
I'm 14, me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex just over a week ago. He didn't cum And we didn't do it for very long because he didn't want to get me pregnant but I'm still worried because apparently you can get pregnant off pre-cum. I took a digital pregnancy test and it said I wasn't pregnant but I'm still worried. Was it too early to take a test? If i am pregnant could I get an abortion without my mum knowing?
Pink ducks 333 - 29-Oct-18 @ 6:02 PM
I’m 13 and I had unprotected sex a month ago and I think that I might be pregnant as I keep getting these wired feelings in my stomach and my breasts are really sore I have told my mum but my boyfriend doesn’t even know that I might be pregnant. Shall I just wait to see if I come in my period before doing a test or not x please help xx
Xxxxhelp - 28-Oct-18 @ 5:23 PM
My boyfriend and I are both 16 and we had sex and the condom broke and he came, I am on the pill but I am 8 days late for my period. I’ve been having really bad stomach pains and my boobs hurt and I feel like I’m gonna throw up. If I am pregnant my family will disown me, I would have to consider an abortion but I don’t have the money for it. HELP???!!!
Ccmm143 - 17-Oct-18 @ 6:09 AM
I had sex 8 days ago I used a condom But I’m scared I’m pregnant because I’m having stomach cramps badly and my boobs hurt, can I be pregnant
helpmeplease - 7-Oct-18 @ 7:40 PM
Im 17 and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for nearly five months I am on the pill but I found out today that I am 3 weeks+ pregnant I want a termination do my parents get informed
Deano2001 - 6-Oct-18 @ 10:18 PM
i think i'm pregnant i had sex exactly a month ago and have missed my period, i'm 14, can i go to the drugstore and buy a pregnancy test, how old do you have to be? and if i'm pregnant, can i go to the GP by myself and get the abortion pill? I've done a lot of research and still not sure what to do.
jens - 28-Sep-18 @ 6:59 PM
I had sex on Tuesday and the condom split and he came but I’m on the pill and I don’t know whether I would be pregnant or not what do I do ?? I’m only 14 and I am stressing
Xx - 13-Sep-18 @ 4:25 PM
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
Unsure - Your Question:
I had unprotected sex a few days ago but I don’t think he came but I finished my period the day before, does this make it less likely that I could be pregnant?

Our Response:
There is always a possiblity that you can fall pregnant where there is no use of contraception. If you are too late to request the morning after pill, you would have to wait to see whether you come on your next period.
TeenIssues - 3-Sep-18 @ 3:17 PM
I had unprotected sex a few days ago but I don’t think he came but I finished my period the day before, does this make it less likely that I could be pregnant?
Unsure - 30-Aug-18 @ 11:11 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
Jonie - Your Question:
I had unprotected sex just after I finished my period about 2 weeks ago and I am currently having severe belly cramps and my belly hurts if you press on it hard ? could I be pregnant ?

Our Response:
You will not know, or are unlikely to have any symptoms until after your next period is due. If you do not come on your next period, then you should do a test.
TeenIssues - 17-Aug-18 @ 1:58 PM
I had unprotected sex just after I finished my period about 2 weeks ago and I am currently having severe belly cramps and my belly hurts if you press on it hard ? could I be pregnant ?
Jonie - 17-Aug-18 @ 12:51 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
Hey im 15 and i had unprotected sex last month and i am late for my period i know that the boy finished down my leg but i’m not sure if it went inside, i have no one to tell and im scared i could be pregnant what do i do?
suzie - 16-Aug-18 @ 5:27 PM
Lily- Your Question:
Hi I’m 14, I had unprotected sex twice this summer. I am really worried that I’m pregnant and haven’t taken the morning after pill. What should I do?

Our Response:
If you have misssed your last period, then you should do a pregnancy test. If the pregnancy test proves positive, the link here should help you further.
TeenIssues - 13-Aug-18 @ 1:44 PM
Hi I’m 14, I had unprotected sex twice this summer. I am really worried that I’m pregnant and haven’t taken the morning after pill. What should I do?
Lily - 10-Aug-18 @ 10:28 PM
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