What is an abortion?
An abortion is when the pregnancy is ended so that it does not result in the birth of a child. Sometimes this is called 'termination of pregnancy'.
The pregnancy is removed from the womb, either by taking pills (medical abortion) which involves taking medicines to cause a miscarriage or by surgery (surgical abortion) where the pregnancy is removed from the womb. Most abortions can be provided on a day care basis which means you do not need to stay at a clinic overnight.
Every year almost 12,000 teenagers have abortions provided by bpas.
What Kinds of abortion are available?
Our trained staff can give you lots of information about different abortion treatments if you decide this is the right option for you.
There are broadly two types of abortion treatment, the abortion pill (also called medical abortion) and surgical abortion.The abortion pill involves taking medicines to end the pregnancy.Surgical abortion involves a minor operation either awake or asleep.
The abortion Pill (Medical abortion)
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Abortion Pill up to 9 weeks
Up to 9 weeks of pregnancy
Involves taking medicines to cause an early miscarriage (it can feel like having a heavy and more painful period)
At least 2 visits to the clinic are required
No surgery or anaesthetic involved
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Abortion Pill after 9 weeks
9 to 24 weeks of pregnancy
Involves taking medicines to cause the womb to contract and push out the pregnancy
From 22 weeks an injection to the womb is also required
2 visits to the clinc are required
In some cases an overnight visit may be required at the second visit
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Up to 15 weeks
Involves removing the pregnancy by gentle suction
One visit to the clinic, going home the same day
Can be done awake or asleep (under local or general anaesthetic)
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Dilatation & Evacuation
Between 15 – 24 weeks of pregnancy
A doctor will remove the pregnancy using narrow forceps passed through the neck of the womb
Carried out under general anaesthetic (asleep)
One visit to the clinic, usually returning home the same day for abortions up to 20 weeks
Over 20 weeks may require more than one visit or a local overnight stay
Read our leaflets on the different abortion methods.
Is Abortion Legal?
Abortion is legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy as long as two doctors agree under the terms of the 1967 Abortion Act agreed by the Government. This is all part of the consultation process at bpas.
Is Abortion Safe?
Yes. The abortion procedures used at bpas are simple and very safe. Complications are rare. However, all procedures do have risks.
Having an abortion will not affect your chances of having a baby in the future.
Surgical abortion requires a simple operation and one of the most common risks is infection. The risk of infection is higher if you have a sexually transmitted infection such as Chlaymidia. All bpas clients are offered the chance to be tested for Chlamydia before the abortion.
If you decide you want an abortion you should make arrangements to see your GP, talk to Brook or the Family Planning Association or arrange for a consultation appointment with bpas to discuss the types of abortion available to you.
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