How can I support someone who's having an abortion?
By Kendall @ Planned Parenthood | May 24, 2023, 6:06 p.m.
Category: Abortion, Ask the Experts
Someone asked us: My older sister is planning on getting an abortion, do you have any advice on how I can offer her comfort? It was an accidental pregnancy, and shes having feelings of guilt over it. Thank you
I wish I could send you a blue ribbon that reads “outstanding sibling.” Everyone deserves this kind of support when they’re going through a hard time.
It's great that your sister trusts you enough to tell you she’s having an abortion, how she got pregnant, and how she feels about it. Let her know she can keep coming to you if she wants to talk about it. Knowing someone cares and that they’ll be there no matter what can be the most comforting thing of all.
Here are 10 other ways to support someone who’s having an abortion.
- Listen to them.
- Remind them that you support and love them no matter what decision they make.
- Help them get accurate information about abortion. The Planned Parenthood website and the staff at Planned Parenthood health centers are two sources of reliable information. They can also talk with a live health educator at our free and confidential Chat/Text line.
- Offer to be there with them on the day of their appointment if they want. If they're having a medication abortion at home, you can offer to stay with them or be nearby during the process for support and help if they need it.
- Offer other practical help — like driving them home, having pads and pain medicine on hand, getting them food, preparing a comfy place for them to rest, or watching their kids.
- Offer hugs.
- Remind them that there’s no right or wrong way to feel about abortion. It’s OK to feel some guilt. It’s OK to feel some relief. It’s OK not to feel much at all. It's totally normal to feel all these things at once, or at different times. Everyone's experience is different, and all feelings are valid.
- Give them space if they need it.
- Don’t tell anyone unless they ask you to. Even though abortion is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s up to them to decide who they tell.
- If they’re having a really hard time or just need more support, offer to help them find a professional they can talk with. The staff at their nearest Planned Parenthood health center may be able to connect them with local resources. Exhale, All-Options, and Abortions Welcome are other great places to get information and support.
Your sister’s going to be OK. And the comfort you’re providing her is a great reminder of that.