There are two ways of ending a pregnancy: in-clinic abortion and the abortion pill. Both are safe and very common. If you’re pregnant and thinking about abortion, you may have lots of questions. We’re here to help.
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.
For those under 18, Virginia requires that one parent, grandparent, or adult sibling with whom a person lives with give permission for an abortion, and separately that ne parent, grandparent, or adult sibling with whom a person lives with be told of a persons decision 24 hours before the abortion takes place. A judge can excuse someone from both of these requirements.
If you are under the age of 18 and need help talking with your parents or seeking judicial bypass we can help.
Many states require a pregnant person to attend a counseling session and then wait for a specified amount of time before returning to the health center for their abortion appointment.
Virginia does not require you to attend a counseling session or go through a waiting period before getting an abortion.
Medication abortion, also known as the “abortion pill,” is when you take medicines that you get from a trained doctor or nurse to end an early pregnancy. In-clinic abortion is done in a health center by a trained doctor or nurse. Both kinds of abortion are safe and effective.
Both in-clinic and medication abortions are very safe. In fact, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures out there. Overall, about 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the time they’re 45 years old.
You can count on Planned Parenthood for expert, quality sexual and reproductive 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.
Serious problems after an abortion are very rare. But like any medicine or medical procedure, there are some risks.
Abortion is available through 26 weeks and 6 days from the first day of your last menstrual period.
Exceptions after 26 weeks, 6 days
- To save the pregnant person's life
- To preserve the pregnant person's general health (can include mental health)
There are additional costs associated with travel. The cost of care itself does not change. Click here for a list of abortion funds if you need financial assistance to get to or pay for your procedure. VLPP has resources to help patients navigate obtaining care.
No, not any time soon. Pro-reproductive health legislators in the Senate will be able to block similarly harmful anti-abortion legislation from passing for the next two years. Given Virginia’s anti-abortion Governor and Attorney General, there is the potential for new regulations impacting care.
You will get written after-care instructions and a phone number you can call if you have any questions or concerns. You may have to come back for a check up or lab work after your procedure.
Plan on resting after your abortion. You can usually go back to work, school and most other normal activities the next day. Avoid hard work or heavy exercise for a few days. You can use pads, tampons, or a menstrual cup for any bleeding — whatever's the most comfortable for you. But your nurse or doctor may recommend you use pads so you can track how much you're bleeding. You can have sex as soon as you feel ready.
Most people feel fine within a day or two, but it’s common for bleeding to last for a week (or several weeks after the abortion pill). Cramping can happen for a few days.
It’s totally normal to have a lot of different emotions after your abortion. Everyone’s experience is different, and there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to feel. Most people are relieved and don’t regret their decision. Others may feel sadness, guilt, or regret after an abortion. Lots of people have all these feelings at different times. These feelings aren’t unique to having an abortion. People feel many different emotions after giving birth, too.
It’s rare to have serious, long-term effects on your mental health after an abortion. 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 non-judgmental 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. For spiritual support before, during, or after an abortion, check out Abortions Welcome.
Abortion is safe. Unless there’s a rare and serious complication that’s not treated, there’s no risk to your ability to have children in the future or to your overall health. Having an abortion doesn’t increase your risk for breast cancer, and it doesn’t cause depression or mental health issues. Abortions don’t cause infertility either. In fact, it’s possible to get pregnant quickly after you have an abortion. So it’s a good idea to talk to your nurse or doctor about a birth control plan for after your abortion.
There are many myths out there about abortion. The nurses and doctors at Planned Parenthood can give you accurate information about any concerns you have.