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All about Abortion

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 27 Mar 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]
Anna - Your Question:
I live in Northern Ireland I am 6 weeks pregnant , I want to arrange an abortion but I understand I need 2 signatures from my doctor, will they give me the signatures considering abortion is illegal here? They're are no threats to my health if I have the baby , I am just too young and really do t want to have a child

Our Response:
As abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland, I can only direct you to the Marie Stopes link here, which will give you more information and help.
TeenIssues - 28-Mar-17 @ 1:50 PM
Rusty - Your Question:
I'm not 100% certain I'm pregnant, but my period is late and my breasts are sore, I'm 16 and I cannot tell my parents. I don't know how to buy a pregnancy test or get an abortion without them knowing. where can I get help? Will my parents be informed?

Our Response:
Please see NHS link here which tells you where you can have/obtain a pregnancy test. Your GP or local walk-in centre will keep the matter confidential.
TeenIssues - 28-Mar-17 @ 11:48 AM
I live in Northern Ireland I am 6 weeks pregnant , I want to arrange an abortion but I understand I need 2 signatures from my doctor, will they give me the signatures considering abortion is illegal here? They're are no threats to my health if I have the baby , I am just too young and really do t want to have a child
Anna - 27-Mar-17 @ 8:09 PM
I'm not 100% certain I'm pregnant, but my period is late and my breasts are sore, I'm 16 and I cannot tell my parents.. I don't know how to buy a pregnancy test or get an abortion without them knowing.. where can I get help? Will my parents be informed?
Rusty - 27-Mar-17 @ 2:56 PM
Hi, I'm 17 years old, my boyfriend and I had sex last night, we used a condom for protection. He ejaculated inside me with the condom on of course. But as soon as he pulled out everything just came out into my bed sheets. I'm quite worried that there is a chance I may be pregnant. Although I took my contraceptive straight after. Do you have any advice?
J - 24-Mar-17 @ 10:26 PM
I'm almost 17 and my BFF and I rolled around on the bed together; him in his boxers and me in my jeans. We did this for hours. Now I'm not sure if I'm pregnant. I'm getting the symptoms of early pregnancy, like constipation, cramping, bloating and feeling sick.Could I be pregnant? Coz the chances of getting pregnant this way are pretty slim. What should I do??
Qwerty - 13-Mar-17 @ 1:45 PM
Emilia- Your Question:
Me and my boyfriend (both 16) had unprotected sex last weekend , it was the day after my period and he defiantly didn't ejaculate in me but I don't know about pre-cum , what are my chances of being pregnant ? I haven't been sick and my boobs don't hurt but Ive been constipated and needing to pee more but I also suffer from IBS so could it just be that ?

Our Response:
If your ex did not ejaculate inside you, it will lessen the chances of you being pregnant as will having sex at the end of your period. However, it is not a good idea to continue this in the future and there still is a chance you could be pregnant. If you feel concerned, please see link: How soon can I do a pregnancy test? here which will help you further. I suggest you visit your GP regarding birth control.
TeenIssues - 6-Mar-17 @ 2:17 PM
Me and my boyfriend (both 16) had unprotected sex last weekend , it was the day after my period and he defiantly didn't ejaculate in me but I don't know about pre-cum , what are my chances of being pregnant ? I haven't been sick and my boobs don't hurt but Ive been constipated and needing to pee more but I also suffer from IBS so could it just be that ?
Emilia - 5-Mar-17 @ 8:44 PM
Star- Your Question:
I'm 16 in 9days, me and my boyfriend had sex for the first time. I know he ejaculated inside me but I forgot to take the pill the next day. We had sex 17days after my period finished. Now I'm due for my next period but I'm a week late. I took a pregnancy test a week after we had sex and it came back negative. I'm so stressed because on the 23rd of March I'm having an oral mouth surgery and I don't want them making me do a urine test. What should I do?btw how long does it take to get the abortion over and done with. I heard you have to do 2 counselling sessions first and then take the pills. How long would that all finish?

Our Response:
I suggest you take another pregnancy test to find out for definite (your previous test may have been too early to tell). March 23 is three or so weeks away, so if you are pregnant you will have decided the best course of action by then. You can see more about the process via the link here . I hope this helps.
TeenIssues - 28-Feb-17 @ 9:52 AM
I'm 16 in 9days, me and my boyfriend had sex for the first time. I know he ejaculated inside me but I forgot to take the pill the next day. We had sex 17days after my period finished. Now I'm due for my next period but I'm a week late. I took a pregnancy test a week after we had sex and it came back negative. I'm so stressed because on the 23rd of March I'm having an oral mouth surgery and I don't want them making me do a urine test. What should I do?btw how long does it take to get the abortion over and done with. I heard you have to do 2 counselling sessions first and then take the pills. How long would that all finish?
Star - 27-Feb-17 @ 12:55 AM
Does an adult have to come with me to the clinic or can I go alone when speaking about an abortion and actually having one?
Alana - 10-Feb-17 @ 8:15 PM
Sassyyyyy - Your Question:
I've had unprotected sex many times in last 3 weeks or so, and I recently found out I'm pregnant, would I have to pay for this abortion? And what abortion would be best, Im 17 years old and I have no parents as I live by myself and I don't know what to do.

Our Response:
If you live in the UK, you will not have to pay for your abortion. However, if you live in another country you quite possibly will. If you live in the UK, you should make and appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.
TeenIssues - 10-Feb-17 @ 3:15 PM
I've had unprotected sex many times in last 3 weeks or so, and I recently found out I'm pregnant, would I have to pay for this abortion? And what abortion would be best, Im 17 years old and I have no parents as I live by myself and I don't know what to do.
Sassyyyyy - 10-Feb-17 @ 1:26 PM
Louise_14 - Your Question:
Im 14 and I think I could be pregnant, I live in the uk and im really scared to tell my mum about this. Is it legal to have an abortion without my mum finding out?

Our Response:
As specified in the article; 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.Therefore, I suggest you seek advice from your doctor asap - please also see link here. I hope this helps.
TeenIssues - 26-Jan-17 @ 2:23 PM
Im 14 and i think i could be pregnant, i live in the uk and im really scared to tell my mum about this. Is it legal to have an abortion without my mum finding out?
Louise_14 - 25-Jan-17 @ 4:01 PM
I'm nearly 16 and have been in a relationship for two months. I have had unprotected sex 4 or 5 times. I've been in the situation before last year with my ex for a year. He didn't pull out during sex but I wasn't pregnant. My current boyfriend pre-cums a lot. He has pulled out every time we have had unprotected sex. Is there a chance I could be pregnant now? I'm anxious as my exams are approaching and I'm not mentally prepared for a pregnancy. What do I do and how long do I leave it?
MaryLouJane - 13-Jan-17 @ 9:51 PM
I'm 16 and I'm pregnant,I am also a dancer I have dance for 13 years and I got offered a schooling place in London for next year.i live in Northern Ireland and I am going for a surgical abortion tomorrow but I am really curious and scared to what the after pain will be like as I am definitely a woose would you have any info on what the pain will be like as my flight is only 6 hours after ???
Btot - 6-Jan-17 @ 11:37 PM
tel0101 - Your Question:
I'm 15 an found out I'm pregnant I'm only 4 weeks I live in Northern Ireland. Me and my boyfriend don't want to have a child as we will not be able to financially look after it will I be able to have an abortion?

Our Response:
Termination in Northern Ireland is only allowed where a woman's life or long-term health is put at serious risk. It means the majority of girls and women who choose the option of abortion must travel to England or other European countries to obtain a non-NHS abortion. The FPA pregnancy choices counselling service is the only impartial, non-judgemental and non-directive service available in Northern Ireland. Whether you are thinking about continuing with your pregnancy, or considering abortion or adoption, the counsellor will take you through the practical aspects of each choice and provide helpful information. Please see FPA link here. I hope this helps.
TeenIssues - 3-Jan-17 @ 2:07 PM
I'm 15 an found out I'm pregnant I'm only 4 weeks I live in Northern Ireland. Me and my boyfriend don't want to have a child as we will not be able to financially look after it will I be able to have an abortion?
tel0101 - 3-Jan-17 @ 12:52 AM
I'm 16 and with my first proper boyfriend, we've been together around a month and had sex 3 times all unprotected And I've had the morning after pill twice but I found out yesterday I'm pregnant. I feel like the pill failed the second time because he didn't finish the other time. I'm so scared and I want it to go as soon as possible! I can't mentally or physically care for a child I myself and not well. The only people that know are my mum, boyfriend and best friend but she's been no help! I wanted support and someone to talk to instead she calls me stupid and because of my a child is going to die. I know it's my fault I should have said something but it's done now and I need help so thanks for NOTHING best friend. I go back to school soon and my appointment is on the same day I don't know if I can cope. I want to die. I don't want to have this child but I don't want to kill it. If this can serve as an example to anymore please always use protection!!! To consciences are no joke. If I get rid of this baby I'll have to live with knowing that for the rest of my life. I thought I would be ok with it but knowing that I have to kill my first child and the age of 16 is going to haunt me for the rest of my life.
Meow - 30-Dec-16 @ 11:26 AM
Mils- Your Question:
I'm 14 and might be pregnant. I've had some symptoms but if I am, can I have an abortion on the NHS without telling my doctor or parents? I cant risk anyone finding out

Our Response:
As specified in the article, a 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. If you are pregnant and the pregnancy is early-days (under nine weeks) then your GP may give you an abortion pill. If you think you may be pregnant, I advise you have a test asap.
TeenIssues - 20-Dec-16 @ 12:06 PM
I'm 14 and might be pregnant. I've had some symptoms but if I am, can I have an abortion on the NHS without telling my doctor or parents? I cant risk anyone finding out
Mils - 19-Dec-16 @ 11:52 PM
Hi, me and my boyfriend had sex this morning and he asked If I trusted the condom before replying he came inside the condom JUST as it broke.... Could I be pregnant I'm due to start my period withing the next 6 days.... I'm really scared I CANNOT tell my parents I'm 15 and I'm really really frightened I don't know what to do. Thanks.
bobmeister - 17-Dec-16 @ 9:55 PM
Carli - Your Question:
Hi I'm 16 and took 3 pregnancy strip tests and they aL showed positive I've been having cramps and I think I'm 2-3 weeks My boyfriend wants me to have an abortion and says im to young I only have a weekend job and I'm in college so I won't have time for a baby if I asked at the clinic for an abortion what is the likely ness that I'll have one. And is an abortion the best for me ? Should I keep the baby or not?

Our Response:
In early pregnancy you may be prescribed the abortion pill, please see NHS link here which gives further advice on both medical and surgical abortion options, the process and who to contact to get help. We cannot advise you whether you should keep your baby or not, if you are undecided you can ask for counselling in order to help you make the decision. I hope this helps.
TeenIssues - 9-Dec-16 @ 10:54 AM
Hi I'm 16 and took 3 pregnancy strip tests and they a L showed positiveI've been having cramps and I think I'm 2-3 weeks My boyfriend wants me to have an abortion and says im to young I only have a weekend job and I'm in college so I won't have time for a baby if I asked at the clinic for an abortion what is the likely ness that I'll have one. And is an abortion the best for me ? Should I keep the baby or not?
Carli - 8-Dec-16 @ 7:28 PM
Vans - Your Question:
Condom split, a week late for period, breasts extrmely sore. If I am pregnant can I get an abortion? In college studdying engineering and welding.Am not ready for a child, dont want one at all. Will I be refused an abortion?

Our Response:
You will not be refused an abortion, unless you live in Northern Ireland. I suggest you do a pregnancy test first and if it is positive visit your GP.
TeenIssues - 5-Dec-16 @ 2:34 PM
Condom split, a week late for period, breasts extrmely sore. If I am pregnant can I get an abortion? In college studdying engineering and welding.Am not ready for a child, dont want one at all. Will I be refused an abortion?
Vans - 5-Dec-16 @ 11:55 AM
hi, my boyfriend put his penis inside me a few times without protection but pulled out immediately after a few seconds - i've had a mildish constant belly ache & a few headaches over the past week.. what do i do?!!?!
lilyster - 23-Nov-16 @ 10:43 PM
I've had unprotected sex with my boyfriend 3 times but I've only ever let is last a few minutes or less each time and he's never ejaculated so could I be pregnant?
.. - 22-Nov-16 @ 10:48 PM
What is an abortin btw I'm six
W h A t ? - 12-Nov-16 @ 4:41 PM
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