At Heart to Heart, we often talk about the importance of making an informed decision. Many of our clients who find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy either aren't aware of their options, or don't feel like they have any choice in their situation but to abort their pregnancy. An unexpected pregnancy can be a scary and confusing situation! Knowing all of your options, and the long-term effects of each of your options, can help you make an informed decision. Talking through these options with one of our trained nurses can help provide you with honest, objective, and up-to-date information about pregnancy, adoption, and abortion. Plus, all of our services are offered at no charge to you, and with the full assurance of complete confidentiality.
If you are considering an abortion, have you exercised your right to make an informed decision? The questions below can help you step back, take a breath, and gather all the information you need to make a decision based on facts, not fear.
1. Am I pregnant?
While a positive pregnancy test can indicate the presence of the pregnancy hormone in urine, it does not necessarily indicate a viable pregnancy. An ultrasound and a consultation with one of our nurses can give a much more accurate picture into your situation. Approximately 1 in 5 first trimester pregnancies result in miscarriage. An abortion can be be an expensive and dangerous procedure, and can be avoided if the ultrasound reveals that it is not necessary.
2. Do I understand the potential risks?
No matter how 'routine' abortion clinics claim their procedures to be, all medical procedures carry risk of complications. You have the legal right to give fully informed consent, meaning you have the legal right to all of the information available. Specifically, you can request information about the following:
3. Have I considered all of my options?
While an abortion might seem like your only option, there are several alternatives available to you. Some women who had initially considered abortion have found joy and delight in parenting their child. Others who don't feel ready to be parents have been able to put together an adoption plan and bless another family with their baby. You do have options, and you won't regret informing yourself!
4. Do I know what to do if I change my mind?
Even if you have an appointment already scheduled at an abortion clinic, you have the right to change your mind at any point before the procedure starts. Some women have even gotten up off of the examination table and left! Others have changed their minds after taking the first set of pills before the medical abortion. An abortion is your decision and you have the freedom and the right to take your time in making that decision, and the right to change your mind if you so choose. Don't let anyone pressure you into staying with a decision you're not comfortable making.
5. Do I know how the abortion clinic handles complications during the procedure?
Does the abortion doctor have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital in the event that you have an emergency? What is the clinic's plan for emergency care or follow up care in the event of an emergency during or after the procedure? You have a right to know!
6. Have I gotten information about the abortion provider?
When you call a clinic to schedule an abortion, ask for the name of the doctor in charge. Do some research, and find out if the doctor is licensed and board-certified. It's also a good idea to find out if there have been any malpractice cases or disciplinary actions filed against the doctor. You can find online resources by clicking HERE.
7. Ask: Will I feel pain?
Everyone has a different tolerance for pain, and you may have several pain relief options during your procedure. Common options include local anesthesia, sedation, and sometimes general anesthesia. Knowing what options are available to you (and their potential additional cost) is good to know before arriving for your procedure.
8. Ask: What feelings can I expect after the abortion?
While you may initially feel relief, there are often long-term emotional side effects of an abortion. You may experience regret, guilt, and grief months or even years after your procedure. If you have had an abortion and are experiencing emotional stress, please don't hesitate to contact our clinic. We would be happy to set you up with an appointment to meet with one of our trained counselors.
9. Do I know my rights as a minor?
Even as a minor, you have certain legal rights that cannot be violated. You cannot be forced to have an abortion, not even by your parents. If you are being pressured to have an abortion that you don't want, please immediately contact the police, your local pregnancy care center, or call this toll-free number: 210-614-7157.
10. Have I been tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
Any surgical procedure, including an abortion, can be complicated by infection. Have you been tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? Many STIs do not have obvious symptoms, so you may have an STI and not know it. These infections can often cause serious damage to your pelvic organs, and lead to long-term problems such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy. While Heart to Heart does not offer STI testing, we can help give you information for where you can get tested.
If you are considering an abortion, we would strongly encourage you to read through these questions to empower yourself to make an informed decision. A pregnancy is a life-altering experience, no matter how you choose to respond. Please take the time to inform yourself and make a decision based on facts and truth, rather than on fear in the moment.
(Information adapted from Pregnancy Decision Line website. Full list of sources and references available at http://pregnancydecisionline.org/abortion-safety-checklist/)
Heart to Heart
We are a Christian, non-profit counseling and medical pregnancy resource center that is committed to providing excellent care.