Quick Exit (or press ESC)
Midwife holding client hand

What is abortion?

Find a BPAS clinic in your area:

Find a clinic

Abortion is when a pregnancy is ended so that it doesn't result in the birth of a child. Sometimes it is called 'termination of pregnancy'.

BPAS cares for women with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. We treat thousands of women who've decided that abortion is the right choice for them, and give advice and counselling to women who don't know what to do next.


There are two types of abortion treatment, 'Medical' and 'Surgical' abortion.

Medical abortion using the abortion pill

Some women feel that a medical abortion is a more natural process.

  • Involves taking medication to cause an early miscarriage (women experience cramping, pain and heavy bleeding).
  • No surgery or anaesthetic.

  • Involves taking medication to cause the womb to contract and push out the pregnancy.
  • 2 visits to the clinic are needed.
  • Sometimes an overnight stay is needed on the 2nd visit – check when you book.

Surgical abortion

Surgical abortion involves a quick, minor operation. 

  • Removes the pregnancy by gentle suction.
  • Up to 14 weeks of pregnancy this can be done with local anaesthetic. The quicker recovery time for this option means you can leave the clinic unattended and drive sooner.
  • Up to 15 weeks it can be done with sedation (relaxed and sleepy).
  • One visit to the clinic and you go home the same day.

  • Carried out with general anaesthetic.
  • The pregnancy is removed using narrow forceps passed through the neck of the womb and some gentle suction.
  • One visit to the clinic and you go home the same day.