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All about Abortion

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 17 Aug 2018 | 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]
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
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
Emz - Your Question:
I am 15 I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend last night only for a couple minutes and he pulled out so he is not sure anythin got inside of me but it was on my legs. I feel sick today but not sure if it’s just with worry is there any immediate signs or anything I can do

Our Response:
Please see the link here, which will tell you all you need to know.
TeenIssues - 6-Aug-18 @ 11:19 AM
I am 15 I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend last night only for a couple minutes and he pulled out so he is not sure anythin got inside of me but it was on my legs. I feel sick today but not sure if it’s just with worry is there any immediate signs or anything I can do
Emz - 5-Aug-18 @ 11:54 AM
Secret - Your Question:
I am 17 years old, I last had sex on the 28th of July and last had my period at the end of June after the 24th, I have recently been feeling sick and am worried I am pregnant. I had unprotected sex however he did not finish inside of me. I can not tell my parents as the boy was not my boyfriend, what do I do?

Our Response:
If you have not yet come on your monthly period, you may wish to do a pregnancy test. If you have unprotected sex you are always taking a risk regardless of whether the other person ejaculates or not. You would not have to tell your parents, please see the link here.
TeenIssues - 3-Aug-18 @ 12:19 PM
I am 17 years old, I last had sex on the 28th of July and last had my period at the end of June after the 24th, I have recently been feeling sick and am worried I am pregnant. I had unprotected sex however he did not finish inside of me. I can not tell my parents as the boy was not my boyfriend, what do I do?
Secret - 2-Aug-18 @ 3:24 AM
Sh - Your Question:
Hello I'm 15 at the minute but have been having unprotected sex for months I am on the pill and taken it every day right I am 16 in 5 days but I am worried I'm pregnant as my stomach has started getting bigger but I have been eating more so it could just be weight sex was consensual my boyfriend is a year older I don't want him to get in trouble but I don't want to keep a baby if I am pregnant

Our Response:
If you have been taking the pill regularly and there have been no slip ups (ie missed pills etc), then it is highly unlikely you will be pregnant.
TeenIssues - 30-Jul-18 @ 12:47 PM
sophie - Your Question:
I am 14 and had sex with my 14 year old boyfriend around a week ago now we used a condom but it split and he did cum. Now im worried I could be pregnant but we had sex around 2 days after my period so I dont know what the chances are, if they are high or not, but I have had mood swings and back aches this past 2-3 days and I dont know if I was pregnant if I would be able to have an abortion without parental concent in england.

Our Response:
You can see more regarding what you would have to do if you find you are pregnant, via the link here . You would not have to tell your parents.
TeenIssues - 30-Jul-18 @ 12:03 PM
Hello I'm 15 at the minute but have been having unprotected sex for months I am on the pill and taken it every day right I am 16 in 5 days but I am worried I'm pregnant as my stomach has started getting bigger but I have been eating more so it could just be weight sex was consensual my boyfriend is a year older I don't want him to get in trouble but I don't want to keep a baby if I am pregnant
Sh - 29-Jul-18 @ 9:22 PM
i am 14 and had sex with my 14 year old boyfriend around a week ago now we used a condom but it split and he did cum. Now im worried i could be pregnant but we had sex around 2 days after my period so i dont know what the chances are, if they are high or not, but i have had mood swings and back aches this past 2-3 days and i dont know if i was pregnant if i would be able to have an abortion without parental concent in england.
sophie - 27-Jul-18 @ 11:54 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
Secret - Your Question:
I am 17 years old and I had sex with my 16 year old boyfriend we have done it on and off as I have been very skeptical about doing it as I’m nervous I’m going to get pregnant. We had sex and used a condom he did not cum But my period is two weeks late and I had sex a week ago. I don’t know what to do as I dunno if I’m overthinking it.

Our Response:
The link here , should tell you all you need to know about how you can get pregnant, the symptoms of pregnancy and what you can do if you think you are.
TeenIssues - 9-Jul-18 @ 10:34 AM
I am 17 years old and I had sex with my 16 year old boyfriend we have done it on and off as I have been very skeptical about doing it as I’m nervous I’m going to get pregnant. We had sex and used a condom he did not cum But my period is two weeks late and I had sex a week ago. I don’t know what to do as I dunno if I’m overthinking it.
Secret - 8-Jul-18 @ 12:28 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
shh - Your Question:
I am 14 ,me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex yesterday for the first time he pulled out before he came but we are both scared I might be pregnant, i’m not sure yet and my period is supposed to be here in exactly a week, what ann I supposed to do if I am pregnant and how do I go about getting an abortion without my mum finding out

Our Response:
As one of the previous answers, whenever you have unprotected sex there is always a risk of pregnancy. However, there is little you can do until you do not come on your period, at which point you would have to do a test. If the test is positive, you can then visit your GP in order to request an abortion pill. If your test is negative and you are going to continue having sex, then you may wish to visit your GP in order to request what is the best form of contraception to use. Your doctor will not tell your parents and will keep your visit confidential from your parents.
TeenIssues - 28-Jun-18 @ 1:48 PM
Noice - Your Question:
I’m 16 and I have unprotected sex with my boyfriend. It’s happened about 4/5 times now and I’m scared I’m pregnant because I haven’t got my period (it’s about 3/4 days late). I can’t tell my mum I’m pregnant (if I am) and I’m unsure that I’ll be able to get any medical help or an abortion and I’m unsure if I should tell my boyfriend about the situation. someone please help quick

Our Response:
You would need to do a pregnancy test to find out. You can see where you can get a pregnancy test via the link here . If you are pregnant, you should make an appointment to see your GP asap as it is best dealt with early. If you are not pregnant, then you may wish to see your GP to talk about contraception. If you continue to have unprotected sex, then the odds are that is is only a matter of time before you will fall pregnant.
TeenIssues - 28-Jun-18 @ 12:36 PM
I’m 16 and I have unprotected sex with my boyfriend. It’s happened about 4/5 times now and I’m scared I’m pregnant because I haven’t got my period (it’s about 3/4 days late). I can’t tell my mum I’m pregnant (if I am) and I’m unsure that I’ll be able to get any medical help or an abortion and I’m unsure if I should tell my boyfriend about the situation... someone please help quick
Noice - 26-Jun-18 @ 10:41 PM
i am 14 ,me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex yesterday for the first time he pulled out before he came but we are both scared i might be pregnant, i’m not sure yet and my period is supposed to be here in exactly a week, what ann i supposed to do if i am pregnant and how do i go about getting an abortion without my mum finding out
shh - 26-Jun-18 @ 7:59 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
Ells - Your Question:
I am 15 and me and my boyfriend have had unprotected sex at least 4 times in the last 2 weeks. I'm sure I'm pregnant because I've missed my period but 2 tests I took a few days ago were negative. I have many pregnancy symptoms and took the test before missing my period so maybe that's why it was negative. I'm going to take another test but I just really need some advice on how and where to get a medical abortion without my parents finding out. My boyfriends mum will be okay with taking me to any places that need someone over 18 with me, I just have no clue where to start and booking a GP appointment without my mum knowing will be hard. my GP has refused to let me book an appointment over a painful knee because I didn't have an adult to come with me in the past so I don't know if they will even see me. His mum will only take me to doctors and clinics near her house, so no one over 18 can come to my GP.

Our Response:
The first thing to establish is whether you are pregnant. If you ring your GP and tell them what it is about and ask for it to be kept confidential, then your GP will not request that you are with an adult. Your doctor will be able to prescribe the early medical abortion (EMA) pill without your parent's knowledge.
TeenIssues - 21-Jun-18 @ 2:54 PM
I am 15 and me and my boyfriend have had unprotected sex at least 4 times in the last 2 weeks. I'm sure I'm pregnant because I've missed my period but 2 tests I took a few days ago were negative. I have many pregnancy symptoms and took the test before missing my period so maybe that's why it was negative. I'm going to take another test but I just really need some advice on how and where to get a medical abortion without my parents finding out. My boyfriends mum will be okay with taking me to any places that need someone over 18 with me, I just have no clue where to start and booking a GP appointment without my mum knowing will be hard. my GP has refused to let me book an appointment over a painful knee because I didn't have an adult to come with me in the past so I don't know if they will even see me. His mum will only take me to doctors and clinics near her house, so no one over 18 can come to my GP.
Ells - 20-Jun-18 @ 11:26 PM
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Latest Comments
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    17 August 2018
  • Jonie
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    17 August 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    17 August 2018
  • Ward1996
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    16 August 2018
  • suzie
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    16 August 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    13 August 2018
  • Lily
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    10 August 2018
  • rhea
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    please provide the author name of this questionnaire
    10 August 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    9 August 2018
  • Jadey010
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    7 August 2018