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All about Abortion

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 14 Jul 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]
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
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
Ally - 9-Jul-17 @ 11:27 PM
Jane doe - Your Question:
I'm 16 and for an abortion would my parents have to give consent or be informed ? Because I would want to keep what happens to my self and my partner , if he's there to support me would I need a parent ?

Our Response:
As a patient, you have the same rights to confidentiality as an adult. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist won't tell your parents, or anyone else, as long as they believe that you fully understand the information and decisions involved.
TeenIssues - 29-Jun-17 @ 4:17 PM
I'm 16 and for an abortion would my parents have to giveconsent or be informed ? Because I would want to keep what happens to my self and my partner , if he's there to support me would I need a parent ?
Jane doe - 28-Jun-17 @ 11:47 PM
Kte - Your Question:
Me and my boy friend had sexual intercourse,he wasn't wearing protection but he didn't cum in me! I think I've missed a period but I've been have period pains but I did take the pill the day I was due on!! Can that affect it?

Our Response:
If you think you have missed your period, then you should take a pregnancy test. It is possible to get pregnant even if your boyfriend does not ejaculate inside you.
TeenIssues - 26-Jun-17 @ 3:32 PM
@Claire - you're probs not pregnant but it's always better to be safe than sorry. So it's your decision.
leah - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:40 PM
Me and my boy friend had sexual intercourse,he wasn't wearing protection but he didn't cum in me! I think I've missed a period but I've been have period pains but I did take the pill the day I was due on!! Can that affect it?
Kte - 26-Jun-17 @ 2:18 PM
Hey! I had a pretty rushed sex yesterday (had to do it before his mum got home). I gave my boyfriend a blowjob and a hand job. It was dark in the room, but I felt a fluid come out and moment after I got on top of him, and had sex for 2 minutes (without a condom). Do you think I should get a Plan B tonight?
Claire - 25-Jun-17 @ 8:47 AM
i had unprotected sex 10 days ago (my boyfriend pulled out) but i was meant to get my period 7/8 days ago and it didnt come. For the past 3 days ive had very very small amounts of blood. Is it likely im pregnant? Im only 16 so i will need to get an abortion - will my parents have to find out? are they painful?
Cryztal - 21-Jun-17 @ 7:37 PM
Cas - Your Question:
I had sex with someone and they used the pull out method. since then I have missed my period, been eating more than usual, sometimes have slight pains in my stomach, back ache and tired most of the time. I have rang the doctors but had to say I wasnt sexually active as my parents came home just as I was on the phone, obviously at the appointment I will explain I am sexually active, what shall I do as im 16 but dont have any income as I left my job?

Our Response:
In order to find out for sure, you would have to do a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant, I advise you to make an appointment with your GP who will be able to offer confidential advice and support.
TeenIssues - 13-Jun-17 @ 2:28 PM
Issac - Your Question:
Hi I'm trans and 15, me and my boyfriend had sex, only for around 1 minute, he didn't come and I was just off my period that day. How likely is it I'm pregnant? my period was meant to be here yesterday I think and idk what's happening im worried.

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely you will be pregnant.
TeenIssues - 13-Jun-17 @ 12:16 PM
hi i'm trans and 15, me and my boyfriend had sex, only for around 1 minute, he didn't come and i was just off my period that day. How likely is it i'm pregnant? my period was meant to be here yesterday i think and idk what's happening im worried.
Issac - 12-Jun-17 @ 10:03 PM
I'm 16 my pregnancy test came back with 2 lines positive I'm going to the sexual health clinch on Monday to sort this out can anyone tell me some symptoms
Lol - 7-Jun-17 @ 3:35 PM
I had sex with someone and they used the pull out method... since then i have missed my period, been eating more than usual, sometimes have slight pains in my stomach, back ache and tired most of the time... i have rang the doctors but had to say i wasnt sexually active as my parents came home just as i was on the phone, obviously at the appointment i will explain i am sexually active, what shall i do as im 16 but dont have any income as i left my job?
Cas - 6-Jun-17 @ 2:10 PM
I am 13 and i do sex with my boyfriend for first time, i think i am pregnant but next week i will do a test but if i am can i keep the baby ?
Emma - 4-Jun-17 @ 10:09 PM
So the other day me and my boyfriend weren't planning to have sex or anything but we kinda fell into it. We didn't acctually do it though. His penis nearly went inside. It got a about 1/4 of the way in but then I was like no, this is to risky so we stopped. It is now 4 days later and ever since then my stomach has felt bloated, I've got back ache, I've had head aches and stomach cramps. I'm 13 and I know I'm eternally irresponsible for getting myself into this situation but idk what to do. Is it possible that my local surgery will let me get an abortion without parental consent through pills?
Alexis - 1-Jun-17 @ 10:22 PM
Melody - Your Question:
Me and my boyfriend have been together for half a year and he decided to finger me whih I agreed too.however he had recently touched himself and he said he had no precum but now I think I'm pregnant. I show alot of the early symptoms including nausea dizziness beino more tired and over emotional. I have missed my period so I'm pretty sure I'm pregnant. I have a friend who has blight me a pregnancy test which I will use. If I am pregnant I've considered asking my sexual health teacher.Can she keep it secret or does she have to tell my parents( very strictly religious) and I'm 14.I don't know if she can get me an abortion or not?

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely you are pregnant, unless at any point you had sexual intercourse.
TeenIssues - 26-May-17 @ 12:38 PM
Me and my boyfriend have been together for half a year and he decided to finger me whih I agreed too.however he had recently touched himself and he said he had no precum but now I think I'm pregnant. I show alot of the early symptoms including nausea dizziness beino more tired and over emotional. I have missed my period so I'm pretty sure I'm pregnant. I have a friend who has blight me a pregnancy test which I will use. If I am pregnant I've considered asking my sexual health teacher.Can she keep it secret or does she have to tell my parents( very strictly religious) and I'm 14.I don't know if she can get me an abortion or not?
Melody - 25-May-17 @ 9:04 PM
Shhhh - Your Question:
Me and my boyfriend have sex regularly. he always pulls out but I'm still cautious that I may be pregnant. I can't get a pregnancy test because if my mum found it she'd kill me, I'm just really scared because if I am I don't know what I'd do. I'd have to have an abortion but I'm just scared really. Help?

Our Response:
This is not a good way to practice safe sex and you will invariably end up pregnant if you do not sort out your methods of contraception. If you need a pregnancy test you can make an appointment at your GP. Your GP will keep the matter confidential if you ask.
TeenIssues - 16-May-17 @ 2:52 PM
Faith - Your Question:
I'm 15 from United Kingdom me and my boyfriend had protected sex and the condom split. What should I do? I washed and everything straight away. I could go my doctors but I'm too scared

Our Response:
If you do not come on your period at the time you are due and you think you may be pregnant, you should think about having a pregnancy test to find out for sure.
TeenIssues - 16-May-17 @ 2:17 PM
Tam - Your Question:
I am 15 years old and I think I'm 2-3 months pregnant but I want an abortion without my parents knowing how can I do this?

Our Response:
You need to visit your GP first and find out if you are pregnant and discuss the matter with him/her directly. Please see link here.
TeenIssues - 16-May-17 @ 2:15 PM
I am 14 and am taking a test tomorrow, if I am pregnant I can't keep it but the website says I need an adult with me to take me home, there is NOBODY who can help me and I can't tell my parents, is there any way I can not take an adult? Or another way to exterminate the pregnancy?
meg - 15-May-17 @ 9:33 PM
Me and my boyfriend have sex regularly... he always pulls out but I'm stillcautiousthat I may be pregnant... I can't get a pregnancy test because if my mum found it she'd kill me, I'm just really scared because if I am I don't know what I'd do... I'd have to have an abortion but I'm just scared really. Help?
Shhhh - 13-May-17 @ 11:27 PM
I'm 15 from United Kingdom me and my boyfriend had protected sex and the condom split. What should I do? I washed and everything straight away. I could go my doctors but I'm too scared
Faith - 13-May-17 @ 5:41 PM
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