Frequently Asked Questions About Abortion

Is abortion safe?

Yes, abortion is safe. There are many false myths surrounding abortion from people who do not believe you should have the choice. While every surgical procedure involves some risk, the truth is that abortion is one of the safest and most common out-patient surgeries in the U.S. – 14 times safer than carrying a pregnancy to term and delivering vaginally. 1 out of every 3 American women will have at least one abortion in her lifetime. 60% of the women who choose abortion are already mothers. The woman who chooses abortion today may well choose parenthood later. Abortion at any gestation is always safer than childbirth.

At Whole Woman’s Health, we provide the best medical care and a range of reproductive healthcare. Abortion care is our specialty, with outstanding physicians and trained, caring staff. You will be well cared for while you are with us, and we provide a follow-up appointment 2 weeks after your abortion, to make sure you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally well enough to continue your regular activities. Here, we take the extra steps necessary to care for your health. Taking care of your reproductive health will always be a good thing! Good resources on the safety of abortion are: The Guttmacher Institute and the National Abortion Federation.

Does abortion hurt?

Many women describe the feeling as similar to menstrual cramps. Every woman is different, so we offer several options to help you feel comfortable, both to help manage any pain and also anxiety if needed. We provide a calm and relaxing environment, the option of having a friend, partner, or family member with you, and our supportive staff is available to address your worries or concerns. Being in such caring surroundings reduces anxiety and can help you relax and feel safe and well cared for.

What do you give for pain?

First, we offer support and comfort in a relaxing environment. Since each woman is different, we offer a variety of pain medication. Take-home pain medication is commonly prescribed for medication abortion, and our surgical patients are always given local anesthesia and may also choose additional Oral or IV Sedation during the procedure. Please let us know if you have any specific requests or concerns, and we will be sure to address them.

Will I be able to have children later?

One of the myths surrounding abortion is that abortion causes infertility. Another myth is that the more abortions a woman has, the more infertile she becomes. These myths are created by people who wish to make us feel badly. There is no scientific evidence, whatsoever, that abortion is in any way linked to infertility. Most of our patients have children and may also need abortion care during their lifetimes, all of this is a normal part of a healthy woman’s reproductive care.

How early in the pregnancy can I have an abortion?

Technology now allows us to know we are pregnant almost immediately, even before we have missed a period. Terminating your pregnancy early offers you two options – medication abortion, which begins with a pill in the office and is completed in the privacy of your own home, and early surgical abortion. If you are anxious, come in and have a free pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant and, if you like, and ultrasound for more information about how far into the pregnancy you may be. We might be able to schedule your appointment right then! Be aware that very early pregnancies, from 1 – 3 weeks of gestation, may not be detected by ultrasound – they are often too small to be sure there is a pregnancy in the uterus. If we’re not able to view the pregnancy clearly under ultrasound, we will schedule your appointment for 1-2 weeks in the future.

To start figuring this out on your own, try to remember when the first day of your last normal period was, and count up, 5 weeks. The reason you count up 5 weeks instead of 3 is that in a 28-day cycle, women normally conceive ~2 weeks past the first day of their last period. If you need help figuring it out, please give us a call or come to see us and we’ll help you estimate your length of pregnancy.

How far into pregnancy can I have an abortion?

Each state in the U.S. has their own set of laws regarding abortion care.

Currently, in Maryland, our Baltimore office offers abortion care from 3 to 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Whole Woman’s Health clinics in Texas – Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio and McAllen –  offer abortion care from 3 to 15.6 weeks of pregnancy, (17.6 LMP).

Our Peoria, Illinois clinic offers abortion care from 3 to 18 weeks.

Our Minneapolis, Minnesota clinic offers abortion care from 3 to 22 weeks.

If you aren’t sure how far into the pregnancy you are, contact your nearest Whole Woman’s Health clinic where you can get a free pregnancy test and, if you like, an ultrasound to help determine your length of pregnancy.

What’s better, the surgical abortion or the pill abortion method?

Both medication (the “abortion pill”) and surgical procedures are excellent, safe methods. Some patients prefer the convenience of the surgical procedure because right after it’s done they know their abortion is complete and can return to regular activities. Some women prefer completing the medication abortion in the comfort of their own home and setting the timing of their abortion around their work, childcare or life-demands schedule. The fees for both are comparable and insurance, Medicaid (where states allow it!) and funding sources can help cover either choice.

It is important for you to figure out what is most important for your abortion experience. Call us and ask your questions about either procedure, so that you can determine which method best suits you.

Will there be protesters standing outside?

Abortion clinics are, unfortunately, sometimes the target of local anti-abortion campaigns. There may be protesters out on the sidewalk before you drive into our parking lot. They may try to stop your car, hand you packets with false information, or carry signs that are intended to gross you out.

A few important things to remember if you see protestors outside of our clinic:

1.) You do not have to talk to them. Their goal is to persuade you to leave your appointment. If you’d like to talk about other pregnancy options, trust that you can talk to us about these as well, and we are licensed,  trained medical professionals. We are here to serve your needs, and we trust your decision, no matter what it is.

2.) They are not allowed on the property.

3.) They may not block your access to entering our clinic – either by walking in front of your car or anything like that.

4.) If you at all feel uncomfortable about driving into our clinic, call us. We will be more than happy to come greet you and escort you inside of the building. If you feel intimidated or threatened, do not hesitate to call the police.

Can anyone come with me? Can they come into the abortion?

We know it often feels good to have someone familiar with us. We welcome your friend, partner or family member if you wish to have them with you during your appointment day. Your loved ones are welcome throughout your visit, at your invitation, in counseling, lab, ultra-sound or aftercare. In most of our clinic sites, one person is also welcomed into the surgery room with you, however we leave this up to the discretion of the Physician. Don’t hesitate to ask us for what you need!

Is there a waiting period? Can I come in right now?

In Maryland and Illinois there is NO WAITING PERIOD for abortion care and we are most often able to offer you care on the same day that you call or walk-in. Since we do not offer abortions every day of the week, we will do our best to accommodate you. Calling ahead can ensure your appointment, of course.

The State of Texas currently requires all women seeking an abortion to undergo a 24-hour waiting period before their procedure. Due to this Texas law, walk-in appointments for an abortion are no longer available in our Texas clinics. Please plan ahead when you decide to make your appointment and remember that you will need to make your appointment 24 hours before you wish to come in to our clinic. Texas has many laws and regulations surrounding your abortion, so please call and let us assist you.

Minnesota also has a 24-hour waiting period, however the information you will need to get the day before (from a doctor) can be done over the phone and does not require an additional in-person visit.

NOTE: Waiting periods, when they are in place, only affect the timing of our abortion services. If you’re coming into any of our clinics for a pregnancy test, emergency contraception, an ultrasound or many of our other services, feel free to come in between the hours of 9am and 5pm.