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All about Abortion

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 17 Oct 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]
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
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
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