Abortion is a woman's right.
Even in the 21st Century there are women that either struggle to find someone to talk to about abortion, or are made to feel guilty for wanting an abortion. In the UK, I would say it is not as " In your face" as it is in the US, yet it is still one of those events in someone's life that they either have talked about behind their back or have to forever keep it a secret. Wherever you live, you will always have extremists on both the Pro-life and Pro-choice side of the debate, but if you are reading this because you are considering an abortion, please forget about both sides of the debate. Your life is not a social experiment, it is yours to do with as you please, to do with as you see fit.
There are over 200,000 abortions each year in England and Wales alone, so someone thinking about an abortion is far from on their own, yet that is exactly how it can feel. Lonely, scary and confusing. So what are a woman's options when it comes to having an abortion?
You need to get non judgemental advice from professionals before you go for an abortion, your first port of call about an abortion would probably be a GP. As easy as this sounds, there are quite a few people who are scared to discuss the fact that they are pregnant with their doctor, never mind an abortion. If this is the case, then a family planning centre would be a better place to visit, as you are not likely to go and visit them for all your other ailments, if lucky you will never need to see them after sorting out an abortion, which is sometimes a comfort to know.
What is an abortion?
An abortion is when a pregnancy is ended with intervention. You can legally obtain an abortion, either through the NHS or private clinics like Marie Stopes International up to 24 weeks in to the pregnancy. There is no limit to the term of pregnancy being terminated if it is for medical reasons and advised by a doctor. This is for the UK and is not available in Northern Ireland, where abortion is still illegal at any stage of a pregnancy. Unfortunately another place where the Catholic hypocrisy still prevails.
The type of abortion you would need would depend on how far along in the pregnancy you are, as it is common sense that it is harder to remove something larger, with the same method as you would removing a few follicles.
The medical abortion
For this kind of abortion, you must have it done before you are 9 weeks pregnant. If you are fortunate to know that this is what you want this early on, you will require no surgical procedure at all. You may have already heard of this abortion method, but under the more common name of " the abortion pill".
The " abortion pill" is given in two sets. Whether you use a clinic such as Marie Stopes International, or whether you use the NHS, it is the same itinery. The first day you will be given a consultation and if you decide you definitely want the abortion you will then be given the first tablet. You then go back the day after to have the second tablet. These will start to work around 4 or 5 hours after the second tablet. The Marie Stope International website state that the two drugs they typically use are Mifegynae and Misoprostol.
There are some medical conditions which would mean that you could not be considered for the " abortion pill". These will be covered in any consultation first.
How does the abortion pill works
The first pill is a drug that will stop the pregnancy hormones that protect the pregnancy from being miscarried naturally. After that, the second tablet makes the uterus contract and the cervix soften and open so that you basically have a period. Because the uterus lining has had time to thicken and there is more of it, you may feel stronger cramping than with a normal period, but you are allowed to take pain relief medication.
If you find that by the time you wish to have an abortion you are over 9 weeks pregnant, you will have to have a Surgical abortion, but there are still choices with this procedure.
A surgical abortion is performed in two different periods of your pregnancy. Under 12 weeks pregnant, it is a straight forward procedure of suction and vacuuming the content of your uterus out. No anaesthetic is needed but can be used if wished, or light sedation is an option also. Someone would experience strongish period pains from this procedure and that is all. The procedure is no more than 5 minutes long and can be done during a lunch time.
After 12 weeks, between 13 and 19 weeks pregnant, you would have to get your cervix dilated which makes the procedure a little bit longer, at around 15 minutes. Your choices are sedation or general anaesthetic, think I would have to have the latter, I am not very brave.
Between 19 and 24 weeks is a little bit more complicated and takes most of the day, but you would be under health care supervision all day. You would have to go in early in the morning as the procedure needs to be done in two stages, this is because the cervix needs to be dilated and it takes a little longer.
It is preferable to your health, physical and mental that you go as early as possible, but whatever stage an abortion needs to be done, you need to know that you will be well taken care of.
You can go to your Gp, or a family planning clinic for advice. You can also go to one of the many Clinics that specialize in abortion. The Marie Stopes International clinic is very well known in the UK, but Planned Pregnancy is a clinic that is better known in the US.