What is an in-clinic abortion procedure?
An in-clinic abortion is a safe and effective procedure that ends a pregnancy.
There are a couple of kinds of in-clinic abortion procedures. Your health care provider will know which type is right for you, depending on how many weeks have passed since your last menstrual period.
Please note: Only our DC Health Center offers in-clinic abortion services.
Some medical conditions may need abortion care in a different setting. Please contact us directly if you have any of the following so we can be sure we can safely perform your abortion:
- A bleeding disorder
- A history of hemorrhage after delivery or abortion
- Currently taking medication to prevent blood clots
- If over 14 weeks with 2 or more prior c-sections
- Uncontrolled asthma
- Uncontrolled diabetes (blood sugar)
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure (uncontrolled hypertension)
- Uncontrolled seizure disorder (or a seizure in the last 7 days)
Before your in-clinic abortion procedure
In-clinic abortions are offered up to 20 weeks after the start of your last menstrual period.
Plan to visit the health center for 4 to 6 hours for an in-clinic abortion procedure. Times may increase depending on how many weeks have passed since your last menstrual period. If you are 17 weeks or over, plan to spend 6-8 hours in the clinic.
If you desire sedation to help make the procedure more comfortable, you MUST have a way to get home safely and may not drive yourself. We recommend a support person to help you get home. Sedation through an IV will automatically be administered to any patients with pregnancies measuring 14-20 weeks. All patients receiving sedation should have a support person who can accompany them home. Patients receiving sedation cannot drive themselves home under any circumstance.
- If you are over 18 weeks pregnant, please do not eat or drink clear liquids for 2 hours before your appointment. Patients under 18 weeks pregnant can have a light meal before their appointment.
- If you have asthma, bring an inhaler if you have one.
- If you take any medications, please continue to take these medications normally before your appointment. Let the clinician or nurse know about any medications you take.
- Please do not bring children with you to the health center. You will be busy throughout your procedure and it is unsafe for them to be left unattended in a medical setting. Please arrange for 4-6 hours of childcare (6-8 hours if you are over 17 weeks). If it is difficult for you to access childcare, and your last menstrual period was less than 10 weeks and 6 days ago, you may consider our at-home medication abortion option.
When you come to the health center
- Please dress comfortably and wear comfortable underwear. We will provide menstrual pads for after the procedure.
- Eat a light meal before your visit if you are under 18 weeks pregnant.
- Please expect to be in our office for 4-6 hours (6-8 hours if you are 17 weeks or over). There will be many steps in your visit, and more time may be needed. Time in the recovery room after the procedure is typically 15-30 minutes.
During your visit, you may be given the following:
- a pregnancy test
- a chance to speak with a trained staff person about all of your choices: abortion, adoption, and parenting
- a conversation with the health care provider about your health history and what to expect
- lab tests/blood work
- a pelvic exam
- an ultrasound
- medications to make the abortion more comfortable
- medication if you are Rh negative
- antibiotics or other medications
- birth control information
- a birth control method of your choice, if desired
We'll ask for payment when you come in for the procedure. We only accept cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. We do not accept checks.
Please bring your health insurance card with you, even if you are not planning on using it for the procedure. It can be used for birth control, STI screenings, and other lab tests. You must bring proof of insurance if you are using it for your visit. We recommend contacting your insurance company directly to confirm your eligibility and benefits. Co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurances are due at the time of your appointment. Please bring a referral if your insurance requires one to pay for your visit.