Are Abortions Kept as Secrets?

As with any medical procedure, it is completely up to you whether you want to tell other people about your abortion. You might want to keep it secret, share the experience with just a few people or be more open about it.

Confidentiality

You have the right to confidentiality when you see a doctor or have any kind of medical treatment. The doctor cannot tell anyone about your health or the care you’ve received. The clinic is also required to keep your medical records safe to protect your privacy. The same rights apply when you are seeking advice on abortion or if you decide to end your pregnancy.

  • The abortion won’t be added to your medical records (at your GP clinic) unless you give consent. You might want to do this to ensure that your usual doctor has as much information as possible about your health, but it is up to you. The abortion clinic will only share information with your GP if you give permission.
  • Abortion providers will not inform your partner, parents or any other family members about your abortion. Even if you are married or under 16, the clinic can’t tell anyone that you have considered or had an abortion. The only exception would be if the clinic believes that you are at risk as they may then need to inform the authorities after discussing the issue with you.
  • Your personal information at the clinic will be protected. Only the clinic staff who are caring for you will be able to access this data.

Talking About Abortion

Although you have the right to confidentiality when you have an abortion, that doesn’t mean that you have to keep it a secret. In the past, women often felt that they had to hide their experiences, which could make them much more distressing. Abortion was only made legal in the UK in 1967, so it wasn’t possible for women to talk openly about it before then. Even after the Abortion Act, it was still difficult for many women to talk about their abortions.

Women in the past were often too scared to talk about abortion because of the way they might be treated if people found out. Strict social and religious views meant that women could be severely criticised for ending a pregnancy. However, the situation could be just as bad for those who decided to have their babies, especially if they weren’t married to the father. In some parts of the world, women are still put in the same position. Many women are too afraid to talk about abortion or do not have access to safe and legal abortion care.

Thankfully, times have changed for women in the UK. Although there are still some people who will react negatively, we are now able to talk much more openly and honestly about abortion. We can openly discuss the reasons why we might consider an abortion, the effects that it can have on our bodies, and how we felt after having one. We can share our experiences to help people to understand why women choose abortion or to ensure that other women know they are not alone.

You don’t have to tell anyone about your abortion story, but you also don’t have to feel guilty or ashamed about your choice. If you want to share your story (even if you prefer to do it anonymously) then there are people out there who are willing to listen.

Should You Tell People About Your Abortion?

Telling people about your abortion is a very personal choice. Some women want to share their experiences with other people while others prefer to keep it completely private. Others will talk about it, but just to a few close people. Although everyone’s experience will be different, there are some good reasons to consider talking about your abortion to someone who you can trust.

  • Telling at least one person can be a good idea as it can be hard to keep a secret. You will also have someone to turn to if you need any practical help, such as someone to pick you up from the clinic or to help around the house while you’re recovering.
  • You might want to discuss the pregnancy with your partner or family as they can help you with your decision. If you’re not sure about keeping the baby then it can help to talk about the support they can provide and how your lives would change.
  • Talking about your abortion can help if you are feeling anxious, alone or sad. Even if all they can do is listen, you might feel a lot better when you tell someone how you are feeling. If you don’t feel comfortable saying it out loud then writing your thoughts down can also help. You might also want to consider talking to a therapist or online support group if you don’t want to share the experience with the people in your life.
  • If you are struggling with your decision or you need advice after an abortion then you can turn to your doctor or see a therapist or counsellor. You should always ask for help when you need it.

As well as talking about your own experiences, it can also be helpful to listen to other people’s stories. It is easy to feel like you’re alone when you’re going through something like this, but many other women have been there before you. Talking to them or reading about what it was like for them can help you to understand your own feelings a bit better. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is unique. Just because you feel a certain way doesn’t mean that everyone else will too. When you talk to other people you may find that your experiences and the way the abortion affected you could be very different. There is no right or wrong way to feel about abortion.

The choice of whether to talk about it or keep your experiences private is also very personal. No one can tell you if it is right or wrong to talk about your abortion. It is up to you to decide who you want to tell and when you do it.

Do you think that talking about abortion is easier now than it was in the past?

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