Before you visit an abortion clinic or provider, we strongly encourage you to ask yourself these important health and safety questions:

Have you confirmed your pregnancy?

It’s important to be sure that you are pregnant; it is possible to receive a false indication of pregnancy. Her Health Women’s Center offers free, reliable pregnancy tests and other services that check the viability of your pregnancy.

Do you understand the risks involved in an abortion procedure?

Abortion is a medical procedure and does involve the risk of physical harm. You have the legal right to be informed of the type of procedure you will receive, as well as any potential complications. Ask as many questions as you need, to make sure you understand all that is involved, physically and emotionally.

Did you investigate the qualifications of your potential abortion provider?

Find out the name of the doctor who will perform your abortion procedure, and confirm that he or she is a licensed physician and a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist. Call and ask if the doctor has appropriate privileges to admit you to a hospital in the event that there is an emergency. Also, many states maintain public records about past medical malpractice judgments and settlements. Call your state agency (medical licensing board) to see if the doctor has been involved in any medical malpractice suits.

How are complications handled?

Abortion providers may not provide any follow-up or emergency care, should complications arise. Ask the abortion clinic if the abortion doctor has admitting privileges to a hospital nearby should you require emergency care.

Do you understand that it’s OK to change your mind?

Abortion is your choice—meaning you can change your mind at any time. It’s OK to say, “I need more time to consider my decision,” if you are in the waiting room or even on the table prepped for your procedure. Don’t feel pressured to proceed just because you feel like you have to. It’s your body; you have the right to listen to your instincts.

Could an abortion increase the risk of problems in a subsequent pregnancy?

Normally abortion is not thought to be linked to causing fertility problems or complications in subsequent pregnancies. Although, some research indicates a connection between abortion and an increased risk of:

  • Vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy
  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Placenta problems, such as a retained placenta

If you have had an abortion and are concerned about the impact and risks to future pregnancies, consult your healthcare provider.

Compiled using information from  the following sources:

Abortion Risks and Complications (2000) Elliot Institute
Berghella V. Cervical insufficiency. http://www.uptodate.con/home. ?Accessed May 16, 2014
Harms, Dr. RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. May 15, 2014
Liang H, et al. Mifepristone-induced abortion and vaginal bleeding in subsequent pregnancy. Contraception. 2011:84:609.
Liao H, et al. Repeated medical abortions and the risk of preterm birth in the subsequent pregnancy. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2011;284:579

Recommendations For Someone Considering An Abortion:

Get Help – Probably the most important thing you can do when facing an unplanned pregnancy is to communicate with trained professionals who can answer your questions and discuss your individual circumstances with you.

Avoid Isolation – If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, you might have the tendency to withdraw from others, to keep the matter a secret and try to face the issue alone. Although it can be difficult, try to stay connected with family and friends who can support you. Too much isolation under these circumstances can lead to depression.

Avoid Pressure – Avoid people who are pressuring you to do what they think is best. Whether you opt to parent, place your baby, or have an abortion, you are the one who is going to have to live with your choice.

Talk to Others – See if you can find someone who has gone through an unplanned pregnancy or had an abortion to find out what it was like for them. If you desire to discuss all your options with a professional, call Her Health Women’s Center at 712-224-2000.

Compiled using the following sources:

Adler, Nancy, et al. (2003). “Abortion Among Adolescents.” American Psychologist, 59(3), 211-7.

Adler, Nancy. (1989) University of California at San Francisco, Statement on Behalf of the American Psychological Association Before the Human Resources and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee of the Committee on Governmental Operations, U.S. House of Representatives: 130-140.
Adler, Nancy., et al (1990). “Psychological Responses after Abortion.” Science, 248(4951), 41-4.

Dagg, Paul. (1991) “The Psychological Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion – Denied and Completed.” American Journal of Psychiatry, 148(5), 578-85.
Gilchrist, A., et al. (1995). “Termination of Pregnancy and Psychiatric Morbidity.” British Journal of Psychiatry, 167(2), 243-8.
http:/www.americanprengancy.org
http:/www.care-net.org
http:/optionline.org

Kishida, Yakuko. (2001). “Anxiety in Japanese Women After Elective Abortion.” Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 30, 490-5.
Lowdermilk, Perry and Bobak (2000)  Maternity and Women’s Health Care, 7th edition, St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc.
Major, Brenda, et al. (1992). “Male Partners’ Appraisals of Undesired Pregnancy and Abortion.” Archives of General Psychiatry, 57(9), 777-84.
Russo, Nancy & Denious, Jean. (2001) “Violence in the Lives of Women Having Abortions: Implications for Practice and Public Policy.” Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 32(2), 142-50.
Zabin, Laurie, et al. (1989). “When Urban Adolescents Chose Abortion: Effects on Education, Psychological Status, and Subsequent Pregnancy.” Family Planning Perspectives, 21(6), 248-55.
Zolese, G. & Blacker, C. (1992). “The Psychological Complications of Therapeutic Abortion.” British Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 742-9.