Abortion information and alternatives

Women who decide to have abortions may be faced with some confusion about which method to choose and how much they can expect to pay. The more you know about how an abortion can affect you physically, financially and emotionally, the more comfortable and assured you will be with the procedure. Learn about where to go for information and procedures, as well as what you can expect during and following an abortion.

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Abortion Procedures

There are two general types of abortion procedures that are conducted in abortion clinics, and the right method for you will depend on how far along you are in your pregnancy. A medical abortion, or the abortion pill, will remain an option for the first seven weeks of pregnancy. In this procedure, one pill is taken at the clinic to stop the growth of the embryo, and the second pill containing misoprostol is taken at home one to two days later to cause the uterus to expel the embryo and the uterine tissue, which will feel like a heavy period. Once the second pill begins to work, a woman can expect to experience cramping, bleeding and stomach upset.

A pregnancy that has progressed passed the seventh week will need to be terminated surgically in an abortion clinic. A surgical abortion may use suction to remove the pregnancy from the uterus as in the aspiration procedure, or else a more involved procedure may be scheduled over the course of a few days. In the method known as D&E, or dilate and evacuation, an ultrasound will be conducted on the first day to determine the position of the fetus and injections will be administered to dilate the cervix. The dilators work to open the cervix overnight, and the next day the doctor will use instruments to remove the fetus and an aspirator to remove any remaining tissue.

Access to Abortion

Abortion is legal throughout the United States, though some states will require parental notification or parental consent for patients under 18 years of age. In those states that have a Parental Consent or Notification law, you can call an abortion clinic to speak about getting a judicial bypass by explaining your situation to a judge. A judge will often grant your request, but this may take time. You can check out NARAL Pro-Choice America online for information about the abortion law in your specific state, and any other abortion information you may need to make your decision.

The cost of an abortion will depend on the specific clinic and procedure that's required. Typically, the cost of an abortion that is performed in the first trimester will range from $300 to $600, while abortions that are conducted in the later stages of pregnancy will fall somewhere between $500 and $5,000. Although insurance may not cover abortion cost and cannot guarantee confidentiality, some clinics will allow payment plans and some states will provide Medicaid for women with lower incomes.