Abortion

Abortion

Hospital lobby
  • What is abortion?

    An abortion is a healthcare decision that is made when a pregnant person decides (for any reason) that they don’t want to be pregnant anymore and chooses to end the pregnancy. It’s almost never an easy decision, but it’s important to decide for yourself, based on what your life looks like and what you want out of it! There are two ways of ending a pregnancy: an in-clinic abortion or by taking abortion pills. Both are safe and very common.

  • What are the different types of abortion?

    There are two main types of abortion:


    • At-home, medication abortion: A medication abortion means that a person takes medications to end the pregnancy before 12 weeks’ gestation (a.k.a. before 12 weeks into a 40-week pregnancy). The abortion pill process has several steps and usually includes 2 different pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. First, you take mifepristone. This pill stops the pregnancy from growing. Most people don’t feel anything after taking the mifepristone. The second medicine is misoprostol. This medicine causes cramping and bleeding that empties your uterus. It will most likely feel like very intense period cramping. The pregnancy tissue will come out through your vagina. The process is very similar to an early miscarriage.


    • In-clinic, abortion procedure: A surgical abortion means you go into a healthcare provider's office, and they remove the pregnancy tissue through your vagina through a quick procedure. The word “surgical” might make it sound like you have to be put to sleep and stay overnight, but you don’t! The procedure typically takes 5-10 minutes. Your appointment will be longer because you’ll need to have an exam, read and sign forms, receive pain medications before the procedure, and stay in the recovery room for up to an hour after the procedure is done. Plan on resting and recovering for a day or two afterward.

  • What is the difference between an abortion and emergency contraception?

    The difference comes down to timing. If you use emergency contraception (e.g. morning-after pills or getting an IUD placed), you’re preventing an egg from implanting in your uterus. It’s like a proactive eviction notice; if the egg can’t settle in the uterus, it can’t turn into a pregnancy. This is not the same as an abortion. Having an abortion means that the fertilized egg has already nestled into your uterus and you are pregnant. The abortion ends the pregnancy when the egg is removed from the uterus, either through medication or a quick healthcare procedure. The body will then shed the egg like a heavy period.

  • Why is abortion illegal in some states but not in others?

    Abortion had been safe and legal in the US for 50 years. But in 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade (the case that legalized abortion in 1973), and left it up to each state to decide how they wanted to handle it. This has opened the door for a lot of political fighting and quickly-changing laws, and it’s making it harder for people to get the healthcare that they need.

  • What are my rights to an abortion as a minor?

    Under California law, minors can access abortion services (no matter how old you are) without having to tell or get permission from a parent or guardian. You have a right to make healthcare choices for yourself. It’s as simple as that. If you have decided to have an abortion, you can reach out to a provider through our service finder to learn about your options. You can also explore more about your options through our interactive counseling tool Is abortion right for me?

  • What are my options if I am pregnant?

    • If you want to have and raise a baby, you’ll need to find a healthcare provider to start prenatal care, make sure you have insurance to cover your labor and delivery, and start planning for your future. Tell trusted people in your life as soon as you can, since having a support system will be super helpful. 
    • If you’re okay with carrying the pregnancy and giving birth, but don’t want the lifelong commitment of a child right now, adoption is an option. 
    • If you decide you don’t want to be pregnant and have a baby right now, you can have an abortion. Abortions are normal and common. (One in four women in the U.S. has had an abortion –- for all kinds of reasons -– by the time they reach menopause.)

  • If I find out that I’m pregnant, what should I consider to make my decision?

    If you find out that you’re pregnant, you have the right to decide whether you want to continue the pregnancy and give birth, or not. It is almost never an easy decision, and it is one that only you can make for yourself. If you have trusted people in your life who will support whatever decision you make, you can talk to them. If you don’t feel like you have anyone that you can talk to, you can learn about your options and make the decision for yourself. Common things that people consider are:


    • How they feel about giving birth and raising a child at this point in their life
    • Whether or not it is the right time for them to take on the responsibility of raising a child with their particular support systems and resources
    • How having a child to care for would impact other existing responsibilities like school, work, family, or other children
    • Personal values and beliefs


    You can also explore more about your options through our interactive counseling tool Is abortion right for me?

  • Who do I need to involve in my decision to get an abortion?

    While you deserve to be supported, you don’t need to involve anyone you don’t want to. You don’t need to involve your parents, partner, or anyone that you don’t want to or trust to support you in making this decision. At the end of the day, it’s your body and your future. This choice is yours.

  • What if someone is pressuring me to make a certain choice about my pregnancy?

    Family, friends, and your partner may have their own opinions about pregnancy, childbirth, and raising a child. You can look to them for advice and support, but at the end of the day, this decision is allowed to be yours. It’s your body and your choice. But no matter what you decide, you can ask for help and support throughout the process.

  • How do I tell others I’m pregnant if I'm worried about my family and friends' reactions?

    Pregnancy can be a stressful and scary time, and it can be hard having that conversation with your family and friends. But you may feel like you need your close support system to lean on during this time, which is completely valid. Be sure to approach them as openly as you can, and tell them what you need from them–whether it be understanding, support, love, etc. Despite initial reactions of shock or frustration, there is a chance they come around and will ensure your health is prioritized. Once again, their opinions should not get in the way of what you want to do, as it’s your choice.