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All about Abortion

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 24 Apr 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]
I think I am pregnant and I wanna have an abortion. My parents are really strict, I don't want my parents to know and the gp I go to, my doctor is really close to my mother what should I do?
sarah - 24-Apr-18 @ 1:49 AM
Anonymous1 - Your Question:
My girlfriends period is late by 5 days and she claims her boobs are getting bigger and I don’t know wether it’s paranoia and we don’t know how to go about getting an abortion

Our Response:
Before your girlfriend thinks about terminating her pregnancy, it would be wise to find out first and foremeost if she is pregnant by doing a pregnancy test. You can see more via the NHS link here .
TeenIssues - 23-Apr-18 @ 2:52 PM
My girlfriends period is late by 5 days and she claims her boobs are getting bigger and I don’t know wether it’s paranoia and we don’t know how to go about getting an abortion
Anonymous1 - 21-Apr-18 @ 7:34 PM
Laura - Your Question:
Thankyou,if I’m not pregnant then will it be the pill causing my period to not of come?

Our Response:
The pill is over 99% effective if used correctly. You can see more via the link here , which should help answer your question.
TeenIssues - 19-Apr-18 @ 12:47 PM
Thankyou,if I’m not pregnant then will it be the pill causing my period to not of come?
Laura - 17-Apr-18 @ 4:23 PM
Laura- Your Question:
I have lost track of all the times I have had sex over the past month,I am on the pill,I use condoms mostly all of the time,I usually get my period usually either the 13th,14th,15th or16th,today is the 17th and usually I am on,yes it is early to say this but normally I get bad cramps and aches a couple of days before my period and I don’t have any at all,could I be pregnant?worried,please respond

Our Response:
If you are on the pill and taking it properly and you use condoms, it is highly unlikely that you are pregnant.
TeenIssues - 17-Apr-18 @ 1:39 PM
I have lost track of all the times I have had sex over the past month,I am on the pill,I use condoms mostly all of the time,I usually get my period usually either the 13th,14th,15th or16th,today is the 17th and usually I am on,yes it is early to say this but normally I get bad cramps and aches a couple of days before my period and I don’t have any at all,could I be pregnant?worried,please respond
Laura - 17-Apr-18 @ 11:23 AM
Ellie - Your Question:
I’m 15, I had sex on the 13th of April and the guy split the condom then came. My mates have told me that it’s likely I’m pregnant, my last period was 1st March and ended 7th. I usually have a month and then a week until my next period but this week I haven’t got it yet and it’s got me very worried because I’ve got exams coming up and I really can’t deal with a baby as well. I don’t have access to morning after pill as I have to get it from doctors and they’re closed today and I can’t go Monday or tuesday as they close early and I’ve got school. Is it best to wait it out until I get my next period as I don’t have many other options, thanks

Our Response:
You need to take the emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days (Levonelle) or 5 days (ellaOne) of unprotected sex for it to be effective. The sooner you take it, the more effective it'll be, please see link here . If you have unprotected sex, it really is advisable to take it. You can see more here regarding where you can obtain emergency contraception. As the old saying goes 'prevention is better than cure'.
TeenIssues - 16-Apr-18 @ 10:02 AM
I’m 15, I had sex on the 13th of April and the guy split the condom then came. My mates have told me that it’s likely I’m pregnant, my last period was 1st March and ended 7th. I usually have a month and then a week until my next period but this week I haven’t got it yet and it’s got me very worried because I’ve got exams coming up and I really can’t deal with a baby as well. I don’t have access to morning after pill as I have to get it from doctors and they’re closed today and I can’t go Monday or tuesday as they close early and I’ve got school. Is it best to wait it out until I get my next period as I don’t have many other options, thanks
Ellie - 15-Apr-18 @ 10:56 AM
Ryan - Your Question:
I’m 13 and I had sex once and now I’m pregnant. I have no idea what to do. I’m 12 weeks pregnant

Our Response:
You need to see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will give you guidance and advice.
TeenIssues - 9-Apr-18 @ 3:51 PM
I’m 13 and I had sex once and now I’m pregnant. I have no idea what to do . I’m 12 weeks pregnant
Ryan - 7-Apr-18 @ 9:52 AM
Sorry another thing I’m also adding is that I had light red patches in my knickers this morning isn’t this a sign? I’m not supposed to be on my period for another 2 weeks
Steph - 6-Apr-18 @ 1:41 PM
Sara - Your Question:
PLEASE ANSWERAbout a month and a few weeks ago me and boyfriend used to have sex and used the pull out method, I had my period a few days after I had had sex via the pull out method. So I assume I wasn’t pregnant, so I went on the pill and waited a week before we had sex on it just like the doctor suggested. I’ve took nearly a month of the pills and remembered them each day and took them at the same day. Today I had a bad sore throat and at 2:15 am I was sick, I’m pretty sure that it was because I felt ill because I don’t feel pregnant at all. I just would like you to clarify that I wouldn’t be pregnant at all and that it wasn’t morning sickness.

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely you will be pregnant. However, if you feel you may be pregnant and/or wish to put your mind at rest, then you should do a pregnancy test.
TeenIssues - 6-Apr-18 @ 10:53 AM
Jake - Your Question:
My girlfriend was due her period on Sunday through to Tuesday. She hasn’t got it yet and it’s Thursday, we had unprotected sex on the 25th, but I pulled out, she’s had a really stressful month, her sister was in hospital and she’s really close with her. But I don’t know if she could be pregnant, we did a test on Tuesday and it was negative, but that was 2 weeks and 2 days after sex. She had cramps similar to period cramps but no period yesterday. Is it likely she’s pregnant?

Our Response:
Much depends upon your girlfriend's levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), which starts to be produced around six days after fertilisation. Some tests are better than others for picking up traces of the hormone. You can see more via the NHS link here, which should tell you all you need to know.
TeenIssues - 6-Apr-18 @ 9:46 AM
Carrying on from my previous comment, I was sick three more times yesterday, however I’m starting to feel better today and I haven’t been sick since 4pm yesterday. I have got spotting though but this is around the time I would have my period and I’ve not long started the pill. Do you think I’m pregnant?
Lol - 6-Apr-18 @ 7:59 AM
Lol - Your Question:
About a month and a few weeks ago me and boyfriend used to have sex and used the pull out method, I had my period a few days after I had had sex via the pull out method. So I assume I wasn’t pregnant, so I went on the pill and waited a week before we had sex on it just like the doctor suggested. I’ve took nearly a month of the pills and remembered them each day and took them at the same day. Today I had a bad sore throat and at 2:15 am I was sick, I’m pretty sure that it was because I felt ill because I don’t feel pregnant at all. I just would like you to clarify that I wouldn’t be pregnant at all and that it wasn’t morning sickness.

Our Response:
If you had a period and then began taking the pill, then it is highly unlikely you will be pregnant.
TeenIssues - 5-Apr-18 @ 3:40 PM
PLEASE ANSWER About a month and a few weeks ago me and boyfriend used to have sex and used the pull out method, I had my period a few days after I had had sex via the pull out method. So I assume I wasn’t pregnant, so I went on the pill and waited a week before we had sex on it just like the doctor suggested. I’ve took nearly a month of the pills and remembered them each day and took them at the same day. Today I had a bad sore throat and at 2:15 am I was sick, I’m pretty sure that it was because I felt ill because I don’t feel pregnant at all. I just would like you to clarify that I wouldn’t be pregnant at all and that it wasn’t morning sickness.
Sara - 5-Apr-18 @ 2:32 PM
My girlfriend was due her period on Sunday through to Tuesday. She hasn’t got it yet and it’s Thursday, we had unprotected sex on the 25th, but I pulled out, she’s had a really stressful month, her sister was in hospital and she’s really close with her. But I don’t know if she could be pregnant, we did a test on Tuesday and it was negative, but that was 2 weeks and 2 days after sex. She had cramps similar to period cramps but no period yesterday. Is it likely she’s pregnant?
Jake - 5-Apr-18 @ 12:52 PM
Steph - Your Question:
I’ve had sex quite a lot with my boyfriend last month and this month I’m on the pill and I didn’t have my seven day break and instead I forgot and had a one day break so I missed my pill in between the 2 packs. We don’t use condoms either but I’m starting to feel like a sick feeling, headaches, constipation, and tiredness. I’m not sure what to do as I’m only 15 and I have to wait 3 weeks until my period may or may not come. Please help

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely you will be pregnant if you continued taking your pill instead of having the seven day break in order to allow for your period.
TeenIssues - 5-Apr-18 @ 11:32 AM
em10463 - Your Question:
I'm 14, my boyfriend and I have had sex a couple of times before but with condoms, but yesterday the condom completely broke. An hour after, I took the morning after pill but I'm still really scared. If I get pregnant my life would literally be over. Does anyone have any advice?

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely you will be pregnant as the morning after pill is effective and you took it very soon after, which is sensible.
TeenIssues - 5-Apr-18 @ 11:15 AM
Alo- - Your Question:
I am 15 years old and I’m 6 weeks pregnant, yes I realize how young I a, and my parents think it’s best for me to have an Abortion but it’s up to me ,I know a baby will ruin my life ,but thinking about basically killing my own baby hurts me so bad I can’t srop crying. what do I do?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. The decision is up to you. But you should do as much research as you possibly can before you come to your decision. That includes speaking to friends and family (who you can confide in). The likes of articles such as the Babycentre link here will also help you make an informed choice. You can also see more about taking the abortion pill via the BPAS link here , which may also help educate you regarding your choices. Undoubtedly, it is a very emotional time for you (as it is with anyone who has to make such a choice). But the upset and grief should pass in time, should you choose to take the route to terminate your pregnancy. It also will not stop you from having further planned pregnancies in the future. I hope you make the right choice for you.
TeenIssues - 5-Apr-18 @ 10:48 AM
About a month and a few weeks ago me and boyfriend used to have sex and used the pull out method, I had my period a few days after I had had sex via the pull out method. So I assume I wasn’t pregnant, so I went on the pill and waited a week before we had sex on it just like the doctor suggested. I’ve took nearly a month of the pills and remembered them each day and took them at the same day. Today I had a bad sore throat and at 2:15 am I was sick, I’m pretty sure that it was because I felt ill because I don’t feel pregnant at all. I just would like you to clarify that I wouldn’t be pregnant at all and that it wasn’t morning sickness.
Lol - 5-Apr-18 @ 2:26 AM
I'm 14, my boyfriend and I have had sex a couple of times before but with condoms, but yesterday the condom completely broke. An hour after, i took the morning after pill but i'm still really scared. If i get pregnant my life would literally be over. Does anyone have any advice?
em10463 - 4-Apr-18 @ 4:27 PM
I am 15 years old and I’m 6 weeks pregnant, yes I realize how young I a, and my parents think it’s best for me to have an Abortion but it’s up to me ,I know a baby will ruin my life ,but thinking about basically killing my own baby hurts me so bad I can’t srop crying ... what do I do?
Alo- - 4-Apr-18 @ 1:10 AM
I’ve had sex quite a lot with my boyfriend last month and this month I’m on the pill and I didn’t have my seven day break and instead I forgot and had a one day break so I missed my pill in between the 2 packs. We don’t use condoms either but I’m starting to feel like a sick feeling, headaches, constipation, and tiredness. I’m not sure what to do as I’m only 15 and I have to wait 3 weeks until my period may or may not come. Please help
Steph - 3-Apr-18 @ 4:16 PM
Bess - Your Question:
I had sex 2 days ago, 2 days after I came off my period, we used protection & he didn’t cum inside of me and the condom did not split, is there a chance I am pregnant because I am terrified!??

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely you will be pregnant if you used contraception and the other person did not ejaculate.
TeenIssues - 22-Mar-18 @ 3:09 PM
I had sex 2 days ago, 2 days after I came off my period, we used protection & he didn’t cum inside of me and the condom did not split, is there a chance I am pregnant because I am terrified!??
Bess - 20-Mar-18 @ 9:38 PM
Felicia- Your Question:
I just wanna know how you book an appointment for an abortion at the doctors and how you get the morning after pill from your doctors or pharmacy

Our Response:
You can buy the morning after pill from your local pharmacy over the counter. You can book an appointment to see your GP directly with your GP at your doctor's surgery or over the phone.
TeenIssues - 20-Mar-18 @ 12:25 PM
I have had sex about 4 times now with my boyfriend I use protection every time and her knows how to use a condom because he has had sex before with 8 people and not one of them got pregnant and I feel like I’m pregnant because I’m getting signs but I have a pregnancy test but I don’t want to use it coz I just don’t want to know if I’m pregnant or not because I’m scared and I told my boyfriend and he said there is not a chance of me being pregnant but I know I’m over thinking but I want to be safe so I want to get on the pill but I can’t tell him coz he won’t want to use a condom aswell it’s notlike he makes me do things like he will just want to not use condoms coz he says it feel better for him and me but I want to be safe
Blue - 20-Mar-18 @ 4:30 AM
I just wanna know how you book an appointment for an abortion at the doctors and how you get the morning after pill from your doctors or pharmacy
Felicia - 20-Mar-18 @ 12:43 AM
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Latest Comments
  • sarah
    Re: All about Abortion
    I think I am pregnant and I wanna have an abortion. My parents are really strict, I don't want my parents to know and the gp I go to, my doctor…
    24 April 2018
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    Re: All about Abortion
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    23 April 2018
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    I always have straight A in school; I have never gotten below it. I started studying for SAT while I was in sixth…
    22 April 2018
  • Anonymous1
    Re: All about Abortion
    My girlfriends period is late by 5 days and she claims her boobs are getting bigger and I don’t know wether it’s paranoia and we don’t know how…
    21 April 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Laura - Your Question:Thankyou,if I’m not pregnant then will it be the pill causing my period to not of come?
    19 April 2018
  • Laura
    Re: All about Abortion
    Thankyou,if I’m not pregnant then will it be the pill causing my period to not of come?
    17 April 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Laura - Your Question:I have lost track of all the times I have had sex over the past month,I am on the pill,I use condoms mostly all of the…
    17 April 2018
  • Laura
    Re: All about Abortion
    I have lost track of all the times I have had sex over the past month,I am on the pill,I use condoms mostly all of the time,I usually get my…
    17 April 2018
  • TeenIssues
    Re: All about Abortion
    Ellie - Your Question:I’m 15, I had sex on the 13th of April and the guy split the condom then came. My mates have told me that it’s likely I’m…
    16 April 2018
  • Ellie
    Re: All about Abortion
    I’m 15, I had sex on the 13th of April and the guy split the condom then came. My mates have told me that it’s likely I’m pregnant, my last…
    15 April 2018
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