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Get the Facts About Abortion

Types of Abortion

Medication Abortion

Medication abortion, also known as the abortion pill, is an option up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. A patient takes two FDA-approved medications and can usually have their abortion in the privacy of their own home.

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Surgical Abortion

Surgical abortion is a simple, safe, outpatient medical procedure provided by trained, licensed doctors and nurses in a health center. In Iowa, surgical abortion is available up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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Abortion via Telemedicine

In Iowa, medication abortion is accessible through telemedicine. The patient is seen in a health center by a medical team and consults with the physician via a private, secure video-conferencing platform.

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Why Telemedicine?

Why Telemedicine?

Telemedicine makes safe, legal abortion care accessible to individuals who don’t live as close to an abortion provider. As a result of Planned Parenthood’s telemedicine program, patients don’t have to drive as far to consult with a trained, licensed physician, and they don’t have to take as much time away from work or their families to have their abortion.

Frequently Asked Questions


How does abortion work?

How long does an abortion take?

Is abortion safe?

How do people feel after having an abortion?

Does abortion affect the person's health?

How much does an abortion cost?

How does abortion work?

In a medication abortion, the patient takes pills that first cause the pregnancy to end and then cause the uterus to expel the pregnancy (like an early miscarriage). In a surgical abortion, a health provider uses medical instruments and gentle suction to remove the pregnancy from the uterus. Back to Top

How long does an abortion take?

A surgical abortion usually takes about 10 minutes. During a medication abortion, the patient will take 1 pill at the health center, and the second pills 1-2 days later at home. Most of the time, the abortion is over within 24 hours after taking the second medication.

In both procedures, a patient will also need to meet with health center staff to talk about whether abortion is the right decision, what their abortion options are, have an exam and lab tests, and prepare for the procedure, read and sign forms, and stay in the recovery room after. The full visit usually takes a few hours to complete. Back to Top

Is abortion safe?

Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures there is. Planned Parenthood leads the country with the most up-to-date medical standards and guidelines for health care, including abortion. We regularly review new medical research and get updates from groups like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Back to Top

How do people feel after having an abortion?

It’s totally normal to have a lot of different feelings after an abortion — and there’s no one “right” way for a person to feel. Most people feel relieved and don’t regret their decision. For some, having an abortion is simple and straightforward. Others may feel sadness, guilt, or regretful after an abortion, just as they may after having a baby. Lots of people have all these feelings at different times.

Serious, long-term emotional problems after an abortion are rare. But everybody’s different, and certain things can make coping with an abortion hard. Most people feel better if they have someone supportive to talk to after an abortion. But even if you don’t think there’s anybody in your life you can talk with, you’re not alone. Your nurse or doctor can talk with you, or help you find a licensed counselor or a nonjudgmental support group. You can also call Exhale or All-Options, free after-abortion talklines. They will give you confidential and non-judgmental emotional support after your abortion — no matter how you’re feeling. Back to Top

Does abortion affect the person’s health?

Abortion is safe. Unless there’s a rare and serious complication that’s not treated, there’s no risk to the person’s ability to have children in the future or to their overall health. In fact, it’s possible to get pregnant quickly after you have an abortion, so it’s a good idea to talk to a nurse or doctor about a birth control plan. Back to Top

How much does an abortion cost?

The cost of an abortion varies by procedure. Without health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically range from $500-$1000 or more. Back to Top

Where can I get an abortion in Iowa?

In Iowa, abortion is available at five Planned Parenthood health centers:

  • Ames
  • Cedar Falls
  • Council Bluffs
  • Des Moines – Rosenfield
  • Iowa City

Abortion is also provided at these outside locations:

  • Emma Goldman Clinic (Iowa City)
  • University of Iowa Hospitals
  • Some UnityPoint Health locations