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All about Abortion

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 22 Jun 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]
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
shhh - Your Question:
I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend and I think I am pregoo, I am eleven years old and I feel like there is a chance of me being pregnant. (I've had my period before but it is 8 days late) will I need to get a social worker involved?I'm unable to tell my parents obvs

Our Response:
In a case such as this (given your very young age), you may wish to speak to a professional such as your doctor as soon as possible. If you are pregnant, the sooner you see your GP, the easier it will be for you to be treated. Your doctor will also advise you on the best course of action if you are not pregnant.
TeenIssues - 19-Jun-18 @ 9:36 AM
I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend and I think I am pregoo, I am eleven years old and I feel like there is a chance of me being pregnant. (I've had my period before but it is 8 days late) will I need to get a social worker involved? I'm unable to tell my parents obvs
shhh - 18-Jun-18 @ 12:23 PM
essj16 - Your Question:
I'm 16 and me and my partner had sex about 8 days ago. My period is due tomorrowt or the day after. I have this anxiety that it won't come and I've been bloated so badly recently and my nipples hurt quite a bit. Are these early pregnanacy signs or PMS? Should I take a test? By the way we used a condom and it didn't break as (this might sound gross) I checked it afterwards- I'm that careful!

Our Response:
I think you should wait to see if you come on your period first, before you begin to worry. Tender breasts and bloating are quite common before a period. If the condom did not break, I'm sure you will be fine.
TeenIssues - 12-Jun-18 @ 12:32 PM
I'm 16 and me and my partner had sex about 8 days ago. My period is due tomorrowtor the day after. I have this anxiety that it won't come and I've been bloated so badly recently and my nipples hurt quite a bit. Are these early pregnanacy signs or PMS?Should I take a test? By the way we used a condom and it didn't break as (this might sound gross) I checked it afterwards- I'm that careful!
essj16 - 11-Jun-18 @ 9:24 PM
Mmo200 - Your Question:
I am 16 my boyfriend and I had unprotected sex around 1/2 weeks ago and I still haven’t gotten my period yet and it is late by a couple days but didn’t ejaculate. I am getting test couple days but I just need some advice.

Our Response:
If you are having a test in a couple of days and you find you are pregnant, then it is important to act quickly, please see link here. If you find out you are not pregnant, then you should take precautions in future. Therefore, you may wish to visit a family-planning clinic or your GP.
TeenIssues - 11-Jun-18 @ 11:31 AM
I am 16my boyfriend and I had unprotected sex around 1/2 weeks ago and I still haven’t gotten my period yet and it islate by a couple days but didn’t ejaculate.I am getting test couple days but I just need some advice.
Mmo200 - 10-Jun-18 @ 3:52 PM
Anonymous2003 - Your Question:
I’m 14 and me and my bf had unprotected sex almost a week ago now, he pulled out in time but my friend later warned me about “precum” pre ejaculate fluid which from what I’ve read contains sperm. My period is due in a week but I’m worried that I could be pregnant, I’ve had cramps and more discharge than I’m used to and have been much more emotional than I ever am normally , is it likely that I’m pregnant or am I just overthinking things???

Our Response:
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.
TeenIssues - 8-Jun-18 @ 11:16 AM
I’m 14 and me and my bf had unprotected sex almost a week ago now, he pulled out in time but my friend later warned me about “precum” pre ejaculate fluid which from what I’ve read contains sperm. My period is due in a week but I’m worried that I could be pregnant, I’ve had cramps and more discharge than I’m used to and have been much more emotional than I ever am normally , is it likely that I’m pregnant or am I just overthinking things???
Anonymous2003 - 7-Jun-18 @ 7:09 PM
Anony123 - Your Question:
I’ve just turned 17 and i’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 months we recently used a condom during sex and it broke while he pulled it out. I was on my last day of my period but it’s been worrying me for weeks and even more so now that my period is late this month by a few days. if I am pregnant I would want an abortion, I wouldn’t be able to tell my parents and I cant pay for a pregnancy test kit so I was going to go to the doctors but i’m worried of the side effects or that it will cause a lot of hassle for me. Is their anything to reassure me about the abortion or my situation or will I just have to visit my gp asap?

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. You can also see where you can get a pregnancy test via the link here.
TeenIssues - 7-Jun-18 @ 11:57 AM
I’ve just turned 17 and i’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 months we recently used a condom during sex and it broke while he pulled it out. i was on my last day of my period but it’s been worrying me for weeks and even more so now that my period is late this month by a few days. if i am pregnant i would want an abortion, i wouldn’t be able to tell my parents and i cant pay for a pregnancy test kit so i was going to go to the doctors but i’m worried of the side effects or that it will cause a lot of hassle for me. Is their anything to reassure me about the abortion or my situation or will i just have to visit my gp asap?
Anony123 - 6-Jun-18 @ 12:04 AM
??????? - Your Question:
I'm 13 and me and my gf just had sex she's 2 weeks away from her period and it was her first time what can she do if she's pregnant and how likely is it that she is.

Our Response:
Whenever you fail to use contraception there will be a risk. You will have to wait until you definitely know for sure that she may be (when she misses her next period). She would then have to do a pregnancy test, please see link here .
TeenIssues - 5-Jun-18 @ 2:48 PM
I'm 13 and me and my gf just had sex she's 2 weeks away from her period and it was her first time what can she do if she's pregnant and how likely is it that she is.
??????? - 4-Jun-18 @ 10:46 PM
lauren - Your Question:
Im under 16 and me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex and he pulled out but then we did it again. can there be a chance I'm pregnant?do I need to tell a parent if I decide to have an abortion?

Our Response:
Whenever a person has unprotected sex, they are at risk of falling pregnant. Should you be pregnant, you do not need to tell your parents and your GP will keep this information confidential.
TeenIssues - 4-Jun-18 @ 3:44 PM
im under 16 and me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex and he pulled out but then we did it again. can there be a chance I'm pregnant?do I need to tell a parent if I decide to have an abortion?
lauren - 2-Jun-18 @ 3:32 AM
Mia - Your Question:
I’m 14 and I had sex with my boyfriend 3 days ago he said he pulled out but I’m nervous because I don’t know if he did it in time. I have a pregnancy test but my period isn’t due til 2 weeks. I do feel strange my stomach hurts and I have headaches more than usual but maybe that’s just my anxiety, when should I take my pregnancy test and what do I do if I am pregnant??!!

Our Response:
You would have to wait until you have missed your first period and then do the test (an agonising wait I know). However, I imagine your current symptoms are just stress or anxiety. If you are pregnant, you should make an appointment to see your GP who will treat you. For pregnancies under nine weeks' gestation, you can take an abortion pill. Therefore, if you are pregnant, it is best to deal with the matter immediately. If you are not, then you may wish to see your GP anyway about suitable contraception.
TeenIssues - 1-Jun-18 @ 3:13 PM
Hi, just wondering if you were to be pregnant at 15 and had an abortion, would you or your partner be put on the sex offenders list or any list harming future life???
anonymous1999 - 26-May-18 @ 11:39 PM
I’m 16 and I had sex a few weeks ago and I’m meant to start my period today, but my calendar always changes when I’m going to start. He hadn’t orgasmed at all because We had only done it Un protected for a few seconds. I went straight to the toilet after but I’m still very paranoid about it, what should I do?
Anonymous1 - 26-May-18 @ 9:03 AM
I’m 14 and I had sex with my boyfriend 3 days ago he said he pulled out but I’m nervous because I don’t know if he did it in time. I have a pregnancy test but my period isn’t due til 2 weeks. I do feel strange my stomach hurts and I have headaches more than usual but maybe that’s just my anxiety, when should I take my pregnancy test and what do I do if I am pregnant??!!
Mia - 25-May-18 @ 9:37 AM
Help me please- Your Question:
I am 16 years old and I am slightly concerned there’s a chance I may be pregnant. However I would like to abort the baby if this is case but I cannot tell my parents as they would most likely disown me. Is there any way of getting an abortion without telling my parents? Does it need to be a gp or can it be a sex clinic?

Our Response:
All your medical records are confidential and no-one can find out about any treatment you have without your consent, even your parents. You can see more regarding where you can go for help via the link here .
TeenIssues - 22-May-18 @ 2:07 PM
i am 16 years old and I am slightly concerned there’s a chance I may be pregnant. However I would like to abort the baby if this is case but I cannot tell my parents as they would most likely disown me. Is there any way of getting an abortion without telling my parents? Does it need to be a gp or can it be a sex clinic?
Help me please - 22-May-18 @ 12:31 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
1234234om - Your Question:
I was at a party and had sex with a boy unprotected and he pulled out but then we had sex again about 30 minutes later and he pulled out again. I had just finished my period and was wondering how likely it is I might be pregnant or need to get a pregnancy test or something because I don't want to be pregnant if I am.

Our Response:
You are best getting emergency contraception, please see link here . If you do not take emergency contraception, then you would have to wait to see if you come on your next period in order to see whether you are pregnant or not.
TeenIssues - 14-May-18 @ 11:28 AM
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
I was at a party and had sex with a boy unprotected and he pulled out but then we had sex again about 30 minutes later and he pulled out again. I had just finished my period and was wondering how likely it is I might be pregnant or need to get a pregnancy test or something because I don't want to be pregnant if i am.
1234234om - 13-May-18 @ 4:12 PM
Liz - Your Question:
I am a little bit late for my period and I have sex quite a lot with my boyfriend but I’m definitely not ready to have a baby and my parents are so strict that they would probably kick me out of the house as I’m only 15 can I still get an abortion without them telling my parents

Our Response:
The NHS link here should help answer your question.
TeenIssues - 30-Apr-18 @ 3:35 PM
A - Your Question:
Hi I have had sex it was a very traumatic experience one I do not want to remember I don’t track my period I don’t know if it’s paranoia but I’m scared I could be pregnant as he said afterwards I can just go get a pill or something I am 15 16 next month I don’t want to tell anyone only my cousin knows where do I have to go and what do I have to do to get or seek help?? I’m 15 can I go with my cousin to someone and get help or do I have to be a certain age please help me. X

Our Response:
If there is a possibility you may be pregnant, you may wish to go an get the morning after pill. You can get emergency contraception for free, even if you're under 16, from these places: contraception clinics, sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics, some GP surgeries, some young people's clinics, most NHS walk-in centres and minor injuries units most pharmacies and some accident and emergency (A&E) departments (phone first to check).
TeenIssues - 30-Apr-18 @ 12:18 PM
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Latest Comments
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    pregoandinadilema - Your Question:Hey sisters, I am a transgender and I'm pregnant but I've already taken my estrogen (my transition tablets)…
    22 June 2018
  • pregoandinadilema
    Re: All about Abortion
    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,…
    22 June 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    21 June 2018
  • Ells
    Re: All about Abortion
    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…
    20 June 2018
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    Re: Coping with a Crush
    @Maya - ignore your friend judging you she just jealous. Give him time coz he will tell you if he likes you. It sounds like he does:))))
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    Re: All about Abortion
    shhh - Your Question:I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend and I think I am pregoo, I am eleven years old and I feel like there is a chance…
    19 June 2018
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    I’ve know this guy since preschool and now we’re going into 9th grade and we just started getting to know each other better this past year.…
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