Make an Informed Decision
When considering an abortion, your health and safety is important to us. Speak to a client advocate today.
There are two main types of abortion:
Women’s Health Checklist when Considering Abortion
Are You Sure You're Pregnant?
Pregnancy test results can be inaccurate. Only a physician using a physical exam where he or she feels changes in your body, hears a heartbeat, or reads an ultrasound image of the fetus, can “diagnose” a pregnancy.
Are you sure you have a viable, uterine pregnancy (viable means one that is capable of developing under normal conditions)?
Your pregnancy may not be viable. An ultrasound can confirm if you have a viable uterine pregnancy and can determine how far along you are. Some pregnancies develop in one of the tubes leading from the ovaries into the uterus (ectopic pregnancy). If this is not discovered, the tube will rupture and a woman can even die from loss of blood if she is not treated immediately.
Do you know that there are possible physical complications following abortion?
About 10% of women suffer immediate complications, 1/5 of which are considered life threatening: infections, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury and endotoxic shock. 3 – 5% of women are left sterile.Long term physical complications can include the following: abnormal development of the placenta in later pregnancies that can lead to malformation or death of the baby; cervical and uterine damage from abortion can cause premature delivery and labor complications in later pregnancies. 28 out of 37 studies show that having an induced abortion increases a risk of developing breast cancer. Women who abort their first baby have about a 50% increased risk in developing breast cancer, and women who are under 18 and have an abortion suffer about a 150% increased risk. Cancer risks for cervical, ovarian, and liver cancer also increase. This is apparently linked to the unnatural disruption in the hormone changes of pregnancy when a woman has an abortion.
Do you know your legal rights before and after an abortion?
No one, not even parents or a husband, can force any woman to undergo an abortion. You, and only you, will be asked to sign a consent form at the abortion clinic. If you do not sign the consent form, the abortion cannot legally be performed. If you are seeking an abortion within the jurisdiction of the United States, you have the right to insist that the abortion be performed by a licensed physician, and the right to insist that this physician be insured to protect your interests in case of injury or death. Ask for the name of the physician who will perform the procedure and where his or her hospital privileges are. Your freedom of choice gives you the right to change your mind and keep your baby, even when you are on the table for the abortion. You can change your mind at any time while you are at the clinic, before the abortion is performed. Some abortion providers insist that all patients sign a statement saying they will not hold the clinic or the doctor liable for damages which might occur because of the abortion. This document has virtually no legal authority. If you are physically and/or emotionally injured, you always retain your constitutional right to seek financial compensation in a court of law, no matter what you signed.
What do you know about the abortion procedure?
It is important for you to know as much as possible about the procedure that will be used if you decide to have an abortion. Understand that abortion is surgery and carries particular health risks.
What do you understand about fetal development?
Day 21 – the heart begins to beat. Day 35 – five fingers can be discerned in the hand. Day 40 – brain waves can be detected and recorded. Week 6 – The liver is now taking over the production of blood cells and the brain begins to control movement of muscles and organs. The mother is about to miss her second period. Week 8 – Everything is present that will be found in a fully developed adult. The heart has been beating for more than a month, the fetus’ body responds to touch, although the mother will not be able to feel movement until the fourth or fifth month.
Do you know what other procedures you will undergo at the abortion clinic, and what procedures you should follow afterwards, and if there are any costs over and above the cost of the abortion procedure?
Will there be an ultrasound and who will be doing the ultrasound? Is there an additional cost? What is the purpose of the ultrasound? Will you be able to see the ultrasound screen? One purpose for doing an ultrasound in the abortion clinic, besides determining how big the fetus is, is to determine if you have twins. An abortion could be performed on a person carrying twins and only one fetus might be aborted. If part or all of the other fetus is left in the womb, severe infection and complications could result.Will you be given a blood test? Most often it is to determine your hemoglobin level, to see if you are healthy enough for surgery, and to test for the RH factor. It is particularly important that they test for the RH factor. Be sure to ask if the clinic tests for the RH factor. Ask about other costs following the abortion. You may leave with prescriptions for bleeding and infection. Ask how much these drugs usually cost. Is there a cost for a follow up visit? Is there a follow up visit at all?
Do you know if you have a sexually transmitted disease right now?
Most STI’s can infect you for long periods of time with no symptoms. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans is now infected with a viral STI. This does not include the bacterial STIs such as Chlamydia, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea which are at very high levels. Tragically, 63% of these infections occur in persons under age 25. Ask if the clinic tests for STIs (sexually transmitted infection) and if they do, which of the 20+ STI’s they check for and why. Is there an additional charge? If the clinic does not test for STIs, you should see your doctor to check if you have an STI and be treated before an abortion. This is so important because PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) is a potentially life threatening disease which can lead to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and reduced fertility. Of patients who have a Chlamydia infection at the time of an abortion, 23% will develop PID within 4 weeks. Studies have found that 20 – 27% of patients seeking abortion have a Chlamydia infection.
Do you know that there are possible emotional complications following an abortion?
PAS (Post Abortion Syndrome) is a psychological disorder which occurs when abortion is experienced as a traumatic event. Symptoms may include anxiety attacks, outbursts of anger or rage, sleep disorders, flashbacks about the abortion, nightmares about the abortion or baby, intense grief or depression, or withdrawal from relationships. Post Abortion trauma varies from one individual to another in its symptoms, intensity, and the time of onset. It can be seen soon after the abortion but it can be most intense 5 to 10 years after an abortion.
All services are confidential and free of charge. Choices of the Heart does not refer for or perform abortions.