Is abortion the right option for me?
Abortion is common, and people have abortions for many different reasons. Only you know what’s best for you, but good information and support can help you make the decision that's best for your own health and well-being.
Why do people decide to have an abortion?
If you’re thinking about having an abortion, you’re not alone. Millions of people face unplanned pregnancies every year, and about 4 out of 10 of them decide to get an abortion. Some people with planned pregnancies also get abortions because of health or safety reasons. Overall, about 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the time they’re 45 years old.
Sometimes, the decision is simple. Other times, it’s complicated. But either way, the decision to have an abortion is personal, and you’re the only one who can make it.
Everyone has their own unique and valid reasons for having an abortion. Some of the many different reasons people decide to end a pregnancy include:
- They want to be the best parent possible to the kids they already have.
- They’re not ready to be a parent yet.
- It’s not a good time in their life to have a baby.
- They want to finish school, focus on work, or achieve other goals before having a baby.
- They’re not in a relationship with someone they want to have a baby with.
- They’re in an abusive relationship or were sexually assaulted.
- The pregnancy is dangerous or bad for their health.
- The fetus won’t survive the pregnancy or will suffer after birth.
- They just don’t want to be a parent.
Deciding to have an abortion doesn’t mean you don’t want or love children. In fact, 6 out of 10 people who get abortions already have kids — and many of them decide to end their pregnancies so they can focus on the children they already have. And people who aren’t already parents when they get an abortion often go on to have a baby later, when they feel they're in a better position to be a good parent. The bottom line is, deciding if and when to have a baby is very personal, and only you know what’s best for you and your family.
What can I think about to help me decide?
Family, relationships, school, work, life goals, health, safety, and personal beliefs — people think carefully about these things before having an abortion. But you’re the only person walking in your shoes, and the only person who can decide whether to have an abortion.
Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about an abortion:
- Am I ready to be a parent?
- Would I consider adoption?
- What would it mean for my future if I had a child now?
- What would it mean for my family if I had a child now?
- How would being a parent affect my career goals?
- Do I have strong personal or religious beliefs about abortion?
- Is anyone pressuring me to have or not have an abortion?
- Would having a baby change my life in a way I do or don’t want?
- Would having an abortion change my life in a way I do or don’t want?
- What kind of support would I need and get if I decided to get an abortion?
- What kind of support would I need and get if I decided to have a baby?
Decisions about your pregnancy are personal. There are lots of things to consider, and it’s totally normal to have many different feelings and thoughts when making this decision. That’s why it’s important to get factual, non-judgmental information about abortion. Support from family, friends, partners, and other people you trust can also be helpful. But the decision is 100% yours.
Who can I talk with about getting an abortion?
Lots of people lean on others to help them with their decision. It’s good to choose people who are understanding and supportive of you.
Your local Planned Parenthood health center has caring professionals that can answer any questions you may have. They'll give you expert care, accurate information about all your options, and non-judgmental support along the way — no matter what you decide about your pregnancy.
Other family planning centers, private doctors, and abortion providers may also talk with you about your decision. But when you’re looking for a reliable health center, beware of anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers.” These are places that may seem like normal medical clinics and claim to offer information about pregnancy options and abortion, but they don't provide abortion or a full range of health care. They often give you false or misleading information about pregnancy, abortion, and birth control, and they usually don't have to follow privacy laws. Crisis pregnancy centers are often located very close to Planned Parenthood health centers or other real medical centers, and have similar names — they do this to confuse people and trick them into visiting them instead.
No one should pressure you into making any decision about your pregnancy, no matter what. So it’s important to get the info and support you need from people who give you the real facts and won’t judge you.
If you’re having a hard time finding someone in your life to talk with, check out:
- All-Options: All-Options has a free hotline that gives you a confidential space to talk about making decisions about a pregnancy. They’ll give you judgment-free support at any point in your pregnancy experience, no matter what you decide to do or how you feel about it.
- Abortions Welcome: Abortions Welcome has nonjudgmental written and interactive resources to support you in making your decision, including a clergy counseling line, where you can talk to compassionate clergy and religious counselors about spiritual concerns.
When do I have to make a decision?
It’s important to take the time you need to make the best decision for you. It’s also a good idea to talk to a nurse or doctor as soon as you can so you can get the best medical care possible. The staff at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center is always here to provide expert medical care and support, no matter what decision you make.
If you live in a state where you can't get an abortion, you may have to go to another state to get an abortion and it can take time to get an appointment and arrange travel. There may also be laws like waiting periods that can delay your care. So if you’re thinking about getting an abortion, try to make an appointment as soon as you can.
Whatever you decide to do, go see a doctor or nurse right away so they can help you stay healthy