Abortion FAQs & Abortion Facts

Making the decision to get an abortion

Abortion Questions & Abortion Facts | Comprehensive Women's Health Clinic | Denver, CO

Is having an abortion safe?

Abortion is a safe way to terminate a pregnancy. While abortion is not entirely risk free, the earlier in the pregnancy that the abortion takes place, the safer the procedure is for the mother. Your doctor will discuss all possible risks and complications prior to the procedure.

Does having an abortion hurt?

When recovering from either a medical or surgical abortion, you will feel period-like pain and cramping. Usually, there is more pain experienced the further along a woman is in the pregnancy. Your doctor can talk about pain medications and pain management options before the procedure.

What does an abortion cost in Colorado?

The cost of an abortion can vary depending on the type and how far along a woman is in her pregnancy. View our pricing information.

Will my health insurance cover my abortion?

Some health insurance plans may offer abortion coverage. You will need to check with your provider.

Do I need my parent’s permission to get an abortion if I am under 18 years old?

If you are under 18 years of age, you will need at least one parent’s permission to obtain an abortion. If you do not wish to tell your parents about the pregnancy, you can go to court to obtain a waiver from the judge, which would allow you to have an abortion without parental consent.

Will having an abortion affect my ability to get pregnant in the future?

As long as there are no complications with the procedure, such as infection or injury to the uterus or cervix, having an abortion will not decrease your chances of getting pregnant in the future.

How late in my pregnancy can I get an abortion?

Colorado is one of the few states where a late-term abortion (termination after 22 weeks) can be obtained. Most providers will recommend getting an abortion well before the 20th week, as abortions can become more complicated and more painful the further along the woman is in her pregnancy.

Does having an abortion increase my risk of getting breast cancer?

No, having an abortion does not increase the chances of getting breast cancer.

Treatment

What kinds of abortions are available?

There are two types of abortions, medical and surgical.

Medical abortion: An early medical abortion (EMA) occurs when the pregnant woman takes drugs in order to cause an early miscarriage. EMAs are typically only given if the woman is less than 9 weeks pregnant.

A medical abortion usually takes a few appointments to complete. The first appointment is to confirm the pregnancy and discuss termination options. At the second appointment, you will be given a medication to block the pregnancy hormone that is necessary for the pregnancy to continue. At the third appointment, a day or so after the second appointment, you will be given another medication that causes the lining of the uterus to break down. This will cause bleeding, much like a miscarriage. You will feel cramping pains similar to period pains. Pain medication can be given to help with the cramping. Your doctor will provide you with aftercare instructions.

A follow-up appointment is needed to confirm that you are no longer pregnant.

Surgical abortion: Vacuum aspiration is one type of surgical abortion and involves a small tube that is inserted into the uterus through the vagina and cervix to suction the fetal tissue out of the uterus. A cervix softener may be used to help relax the cervix for the procedure.

Vacuum aspiration usually takes 5-10 minutes and can be done with local anesthetic to numb the area so that you don’t feel anything, with general anesthetic so that you are asleep for the procedure, or with conscious sedation so that you are awake but do not feel anything or remember much of the procedure. Patients can usually go home a few hours after the procedure.

A surgical dilation and extraction (D&E) is a procedure where the doctor gently opens the cervix (dilation) and uses surgical tools to remove the fetal tissue (extraction). Vacuum aspiration may also be used to ensure all remaining tissue is removed from the uterus.

D&E is usually done in about 10-15 minutes and most patients are able to go home the same day.

Read more about the difference between medication and surgical abortion. 

How long does a surgical abortion take to perform?

A surgical abortion can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes to perform. After the procedure, you will recover in the doctor’s office for a few hours and can usually go home the same day. Your doctor will provide you with aftercare instructions. Abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy may require an overnight stay in the hospital.

After the abortion procedure

What is the physical recovery time after an abortion?

Most women return to normal activity within a day or so. You may experience vaginal bleeding or spotting for a few days after the procedure. Your doctor will provide you with a specific set of aftercare instructions for both a medication abortion and a surgical abortion.

How soon can I have sex after an abortion?

It is recommended that you refrain from sex for at least 1-2 weeks after the procedure. You can get pregnant again immediately after the procedure, so it is important that you discuss birth control options with your doctor.

How soon can I use tampons after an abortion?

It is recommended that you use pads for at least 2 weeks after the abortion procedure. Tampon use may be resumed for your next period.

How soon should I get on birth control after an abortion?

A subsequent pregnancy can occur immediately after an abortion. You should discuss contraception with your provider during the termination process.

How soon should I start using birth control after having a baby?

You can get pregnant right after giving birth, so women should start using birth control before they become sexually active again. Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), such as an IUD, is often a good choice for women who want to have another baby in the future, but not soon.