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Commonly Asked Questions

Is abortion safe?

Abortion is the most common outpatient surgical procedure in the country and, when performed by an experienced clinician, it is extremely safe. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a leading public health research organization, abortion is 11 times safer than carrying a pregnancy to term and nearly twice as safe as a penicillin injection.

Will having an abortion prevent me from having children in the future?

There is no statistical correlation between abortion and fertility problems later. This means that your chances of being able to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term are not altered by having an abortion. Fertility is challenged by advancing age, pelvic infections, endometriosis, and various factors affecting men and women.

Of course, as with any outpatient surgery, much of your recovery is in your control. Taking all your medications, following instructions, and returning for your follow-up examination support healthy recovery. If you are concerned about this risk, do not hesitate to ask your provider about it and they will be able to answer your questions more specifically. For more information about protecting your fertility, and avoiding harmful things during pregnancy go to or go to

Is abortion painful?

Although most women report the cramping associated with abortion as tolerable, every person responds to and tolerates pain differently. Also, the decision itself may be emotionally painful, which can add to your anxiety. LINK to PAB

Abortion patients are generally surprised at how well they feel physically after their abortion. Although most women experience some hard cramping during the procedure, the intensity of the cramps begins to lessen quickly after. When patients leave, they may feel light cramping that can be managed with over the counter pain medications. During a non-surgical abortion, patients can experience cramping for a longer period of time but pain relievers and rest can help manage the discomfort. We recommend that you discuss your pain management options with your chosen provider.

What kinds of pain management are available?

Clinics will vary in their pain management options. Most offer a local anesthetic, which numbs the cervical muscle to reduce discomfort during dilation. Some offer options such as IV sedation or nitrous oxide, which puts the patients in a relaxed state. Others offer general anesthesia, which puts the patient to sleep for several minutes. Some clinics can also help you use relaxation techniques to lessen pain.

How long will I be at the clinic?

Be prepared to spend anywhere from three to six hours at the clinic. Depending on your stage of pregnancy, your pain management choices, state laws (which may require that you visit the clinic more than once) and the internal policies of the clinic, the time you spend at the clinic will vary. It is a good question to ask the clinic when you make your appointment.

Can I bring someone with me to the clinic? Can they stay with me during my abortion?

Most clinics encourage you to bring a support person with you to your appointment, to sit with you while you wait, and to help you get home after the procedure. Some clinics allow support people to participate in counseling sessions or other parts of the process. Some clinics will also allow that person into the surgery and/or recovery room, but the vast majority of clinics do not. If this is very important to you, consult your clinic before making your appointment.

Can I bring my children with me to the clinic?

Most clinics discourage or prohibit bringing children since it is a long visit and waiting is hard on everyone. However, there are some clinics that have separate facilities on site for children. We recommend that you discuss this with your chosen clinic before making an appointment.

Will there be protestors at the clinic?

Clinics do not have control of whether protesters may demonstrate outside of their offices. In general, picketing and harassment in front of clinics has decreased, thanks in part to federal legislation called the FACE Act (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act). Ask the clinic if there are protesters and if there are any special instructions to avoid or deal with protesters.

What is the difference between a surgical abortion and a non-surgical abortion?

For a complete discussion of non-surgical abortion (with the Abortion Pill) see the Medical Abortion section.

Surgical abortions are performed using a suction/aspiration method where the cervical muscle is gently dilated (widened) and suction is used to remove the pregnancy. A non-surgical abortion can be performed by medications that essentially induce a miscarriage. See Abortion Procedures for a further explanation of these procedures.

How much does it cost to have an abortion?

The cost of an abortion varies widely. Factors that affect the cost include: which abortion method you choose, how far along you are, and which pain relief you choose. The farther along in the pregnancy you are, the more expensive it becomes. Typical fees for first trimester abortions can range from $350 - $700. Often your State’s elected lawmakers may have added requirements that add to the cost of an abortion. Call your area clinics and inquire about prices. See the Quality Provider section.

Will my insurance cover the costs of my abortion?

Many insurance plans cover the costs of both surgical and non-surgical abortions. We recommend that you call your chosen clinic and ask if they accept your particular insurance plan. They will be able to answer all of your questions.

I am on Medicaid. Will that program pay for my abortion?

Check with your clinic to see if they accept Medicaid or if they offer a discount to Medicaid patients in states where the program will not pay for an abortion.
Federal guidelines say that Medicaid will pay for your abortion if your pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or if your life would be endangered if you did not have an abortion. Twenty-one states cover abortions in other circumstances in their State Medicaid programs.

Can I get financial help to pay for my abortion?

Our clinics are like every other medical office. They have to pay certain expenses (medical equipment, physician salaries, security, etc.) and they do not receive any government funding to help defray those costs. Still, clinics have done an extraordinary job of keeping the cost of abortion accessible to most women. Most clinics will not perform an abortion for free, except in very unique and compelling circumstances. You might ask if they have a local abortion fund to refer you to. Also, there are some national funding networks that might be able to help you with the cost of your abortion. Go to the following websites for more information:

National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF)

Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP)

Are there pro-choice ministers? If so, where can I find a clergyperson to talk to about my abortion?

Many religions support the right of women to choose safe and legal abortion. If you are seeking a pro-choice clergy member, we recommend the following websites:

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice: The religious voice for reproductive choice through the moral power of religious communities.

Catholics For A Free Choice: A social justice organization devoted to research, policy analysis, education and advocacy on issues of gender equality and reproductive health.

National Council of Jewish Women: A volunteer organization that works through a program of research, education, advocacy and community service to improve the quality of life for women, children and families and strives to ensure individual rights and freedoms for all.

For more resources, go to

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