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All about Abortion

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 23 Sep 2017 | 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, About 10weeks ago I went to a boys house and he masturbated and ejaculated on his hands/fingers, he wiped his hand on a cloth then about 15-10 mins later he fingered me. This was the day after I finished my period however I've gained a bit of weight over the weeks and am feeling more tired , however it may be down to me eating loads in summer holidays and I've just got back to school , so am tired. What are the chances of me been pregnant? Thanks.
Lil - 23-Sep-17 @ 1:08 PM
Holliex - Your Question:
I am on the contraceptive pill and have been for 3 years and I came on my 7 day break. However when the 7 day break was finished I forgot to take my pill for any other 2 days. I had unprotected sex. I'm also on the antibiotics. I'm now late on my period by 3 days. I don't feel any pregnancy signs for example my breast aren't sore etc. I have felt period pain like tummy ache but that has been coming and going for a short period of time.

Our Response:
It is unlikely you are pregnant if you forgot to take your pill for two days. Hopefully, you will come on your period in the next few days. If you do not, then it is advisable to take a pregnancy test. When you do not take your contraceptive pill it obviously increases the chances of you falling pregnant.
TeenIssues - 14-Sep-17 @ 9:56 AM
I am on the contraceptive pill and have been for 3 years and I came on my 7 day break. However when the 7 day break was finished I forgot to take my pill for any other 2 days. I had unprotected sex. I'm also on the antibiotics. I'm now late on my period by 3 days. I don't feel any pregnancy signs for example my breast aren't sore etc. I have felt period pain like tummy ache but that has been coming and going for a short period of time.
Holliex - 13-Sep-17 @ 12:49 AM
Hol - Your Question:
So I have had unprotected sex with my boyfriend a few times , I have shown no signs of pregnancy and am waiting for my next period to see whether that proves it. Today was the most recent time , how long should I wait before taking a pregnancy test ?? Also I don't want to be pregnant , it's not the aim.Also I know we should be using condoms but we've agreed to from now on. I just want to get this out of the way first.

Our Response:
You would have to wait until you are late for your next period. If you do not have your period on your due date, then you should take a pergnancy test.
TeenIssues - 12-Sep-17 @ 2:25 PM
So I have had unprotected sex with my boyfriend a few times , I have shown no signs of pregnancy and am waiting for my next period to see whether that proves it. Today was the most recent time , how long should I wait before taking a pregnancy test ?? Also I don't want to be pregnant , it's not the aim. Also I know we should be using condoms but we've agreed to from now on . I just want to get this out of the way first.
Hol - 11-Sep-17 @ 7:03 PM
chloe01x - Your Question:
I had unprotected sex 2-3 weeks ago and now I'm showing signs that I may be pregnant. I'm 16 and I'm worried about telling my mum or having an abortion.

Our Response:
If you are showing signs of pregnancy, then you should take a pregnancy test to find out for sure. You can see more via the NHS link here which will tell you all you need to know and help point you in the right direction.
TeenIssues - 8-Sep-17 @ 1:38 PM
anony - Your Question:
I'm 15 and I had protected sex w my boyfriend , but my period is late and I'm really worried I'm pregnant, what should I do?

Our Response:
If you had protected sex, then it is unlikely you will be pregnant. However, there is always a small risk and if you do not come on your period soon, then you should take a pregnancy test. Please see link here for more information.
TeenIssues - 8-Sep-17 @ 10:14 AM
I had unprotected sex 2-3 weeks ago and now I'm showing signs that I may be pregnant. I'm 16 and I'm worried about telling my mum or having an abortion.
chloe01x - 8-Sep-17 @ 12:14 AM
I'm 15 and I had protected sex w my boyfriend , but my period is late and I'm really worried I'm pregnant, what should I do?
anony - 7-Sep-17 @ 4:15 PM
Ava - Your Question:
I'm 15 and had unprotected sex mid August , I then had unprotected sex again 4 days ago and yesterday , the boy didn't cum in me but I am worried that I could be pregnant , my period is due and also hasn't come - what do I do

Our Response:
First of all, you need to stop having unprotected sex as you are highly likely to fall pregnant if you continue to do this regardless of whether the the boy ejaculated or not. If you have missed your monthly period you can see more via the NHS site here. If you think you may be pregnant, I suggest you visit your GP, and/or take a pregnancy test.
TeenIssues - 4-Sep-17 @ 10:13 AM
I'm 15 and had unprotected sex mid August , I then had unprotected sex again 4 days ago and yesterday , the boy didn't cum in me but I am worried that I could be pregnant , my period is due and also hasn't come - what do I do
Ava - 3-Sep-17 @ 12:58 AM
Caadbury - Your Question:
I havnt had my periods in two months but whenever me and my boyfriend had sex we avoided my time if fertilisation or ovulation and we used a condom all the time, am I pregnant?

Our Response:
If you are pregnant you may have begun to show some signs by now, please see link here . If used correctly every time you have sex, male condoms are 98% effective, please see link here. However, if you think it may have slipped off etc, then you should consider having a pregnancy test to find out for sure.
TeenIssues - 24-Aug-17 @ 11:25 AM
I havnt had my periods in two months but whenever me and my boyfriend had sex we avoided my time if fertilisation or ovulation and we used a condom all the time, am I pregnant?
Caadbury - 23-Aug-17 @ 10:38 AM
R - Your Question:
Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex on Sunday night, and I took the morning after pill on monday morning at the pharmacist. I know there can still be chances of pregnancy after the morning after pill and I don't know what to do if that happens to me. I take the contraceptive pill for 3 months and then have a break, so I won't know if my period comes or not to tell if I'm pregnant or not.

Our Response:
If you have been sensible and took the morning after pill, you should not have much to worry about. This type of emergency contraception is effective at preventing pregnancy if used soon after unprotected sex.
TeenIssues - 22-Aug-17 @ 12:40 PM
Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex on Sunday night, and I took the morning after pill on monday morning at the pharmacist. I know there can still be chances of pregnancy after the morning after pill and I don't know what to do if that happens to me. I take the contraceptive pill for 3 months and then have a break, so I won't know if my period comes or not to tell if i'm pregnant or not.
R - 21-Aug-17 @ 9:49 PM
I'm 14 and I didn't have sexual intercourse however I was fingered and I'm scared that he has had semen on him at some point If I am pregnant would it be possible to get an abortion without my parents knowing . I get paranoid very easily so this is stressing me out ...
Mystery - 12-Aug-17 @ 2:14 AM
Iam 16 years old and am on the pill however I didn't take it for 1 week unprotected but never let him ijaculate in me I have recently 3 days ago when back on my pill however it is making me feel very dizzy and Iam suffering from mingrains today I started gagging but wasn't sick am I pregnant??
Brookkke - 11-Aug-17 @ 9:01 PM
lol.mile - Your Question:
I'm 16, not sure if I'm pregnant, I'm going to take a test but if I am pregnant then I want an abortion but I'm too scared my parents will find out if I went to the GP. Plus I can't really get to my GP! Will they put it on the computer for my mum to see if I did go to GP

Our Response:
The information will be kept confidential, so your parents will not find out. Please also see NHS link here that will give you alternative choices to your GP.
TeenIssues - 7-Aug-17 @ 10:27 AM
I'm 16, not sure if I'm pregnant, I'm going to take a test but if I am pregnant then I want an abortion but I'm too scared my parents will find out if I went to the GP. Plus I can't really get to my GP! Will they put it on the computer for my mum to see if I did go to GP
lol.mile - 4-Aug-17 @ 2:01 PM
Ellie - Your Question:
I'm pregnant and I can't tell my parents or they'd kick me out. I'm going to the gp tomorrow but I'm petrified they'll deny me of an abortion. I'm only about two weeks along

Our Response:
It is unlikely the doctor would deny you an abortion pill, unless you live in the Republic of Ireland where abortion is illegal.
TeenIssues - 31-Jul-17 @ 3:51 PM
Mjackson - Your Question:
I am 15 (almost 16) and me and my boyfriend has sex but most of the time it wasn't acc inside me then the condom split as he went to out it inside me. I feel sick most days but am never sick. I haven't had my period yet but can't remember when it's due. I don't want to tell my parents. Am I pregnant?

Our Response:
We cannot say whether you may be pregnant or not. If you feel nauseous and/or your breasts have become tender and you have not had your period, then there is a possibility you are showing signs of pregnancy. If so, you would need to find out by doing a pregnancy test. Please see link here for more information regarding symptoms.
TeenIssues - 31-Jul-17 @ 1:48 PM
I'm pregnant and I can't tell my parents or they'd kick me out. I'm going to the gp tomorrow but I'm petrified they'll deny me of an abortion. I'm only about two weeks along
Ellie - 30-Jul-17 @ 9:01 PM
I am 15 (almost 16) and me and my boyfriend has sex but most of the time it wasn't acc inside me then the condom split as he went to out it inside me.I feel sick most days but am never sick. I haven't had my period yet but can't remember when it's due. I don't want to tell my parents. Am I pregnant?
Mjackson - 30-Jul-17 @ 10:25 AM
k - Your Question:
Last week on Saturday me and my boyfriend had sex for the first time. He started off without a condom for about 1min and then put one on. Today I got some brown discharge and my boobs hurt a little bit, am I pregnant???

Our Response:
We could not possibly tell you whether you are pregnant or not as it is impossible to predict. However, you are less likely to be pregnant if your boyfriend was not wearing a condom for a very short space of time. But there is always a chance where contraception is not used, even if your boyfriend did not ejaculate inside you.
TeenIssues - 17-Jul-17 @ 10:47 AM
Last week on Saturday me and my boyfriend had sex for the first time. He started off without a condom for about 1min and then put one on. Today I got some brown discharge and my boobs hurt a little bit, am I pregnant???
k - 14-Jul-17 @ 7:43 PM
Mystery- Your Question:
I am worried that I am pregnant I am only 14 years old and I know I'm too young but I've missed my period only by 3 days but still that's. It normal for me. Me and my boyfriend had protected sex about 3 weeks ago however the condom could've split. If I'm pregnant then an abortion would be the only option it would be best for the baby and I. It may sound selfish I know. How would I go about making an appointment? Do I have to tell someone like an adult? If anything would my 20 year old sister be okay? I've been having cramps like on my period but just haven't started and I've been feeling sick in the morning and sometimes during the day. also I have been wee-ing a lot more. please help me I'd be so grateful.x

Our Response:
The best thing is to do a pregnancy test to find out for sure. This can be done via your GP, your hospital walk-in centre, or a Brook Centre, please see link here to find out if there is one in your location. Missing your period by a few days is normal and if you have had protected sex then this will lessen your chances of being pregnant. I cannot advise on who you should tell, but if you think you can tell your sister in confidence, she should be able to help.
TeenIssues - 11-Jul-17 @ 12:57 PM
Shaz01 - Your Question:
I'm 16 years old and pregnant, I need an abortion but don't know how to book an appointment without seeing my GP as she's a family friend. To go through the NHS how do I book an appointment?

Our Response:
Regardless of whether your GP is a family friend, your GP has to keep the matter confidential if you request this. There are other alternatives also, please see link here .
TeenIssues - 11-Jul-17 @ 12:05 PM
I am worried that I am pregnant I am only 14 years old and I know I'm too young but I've missed my period only by 3 days but still that's. It normal for me. Me and my boyfriend had protected sex about 3 weeks ago however the condom could've split. If I'm pregnant then an abortion would be the only option it would be best for the baby and I. It may sound selfish I know. How would I go about making an appointment? Do I have to tell someone like an adult? If anything would my 20 year old sister be okay? I've been having cramps like on my period but just haven't started and I've been feeling sick in the morning and sometimes during the day ... also I have been wee-ing a lot more ... please help me I'd be so grateful.x
Mystery - 11-Jul-17 @ 12:18 AM
I'm 16 years old and pregnant, I need an abortion but don't know how to book an appointment without seeing my GP as she's a family friend. To go through the NHS how do I book an appointment?
Shaz01 - 10-Jul-17 @ 7:57 PM
Ally - Your Question:
I have been in the pill for a full month and two weeks today. A few times me and my boyfriend have had sex but not used a condom. He has always pull out. The only time he hasn't is when we had done more then about 3/4 rounds previous. The past week I have been feeling sick often, feeling bloated more often then usual. However, I have been told by a few people there is a bug going around but I am still extremely worried. I am only 17 and I know for certain my step dad will kick me out because he has done it too another child. I don't know what to do because I am scared and worried. Please help me.thank you x

Our Response:
You should be safe after taking a contraceptive pill for a month, as long as you have taken it regularly and to the instructions of the letter. It is highly unlikely you will be pregnant.
TeenIssues - 10-Jul-17 @ 12:51 PM
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