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Understanding Your Options for Having an Abortion

If you decide to have an abortion, there are several options that you will need to consider. Before you start comparing these abortion options, you will need to be sure that having a termination is the right choice for you.


During your initial consultation, you will have a chance to discuss all of the options, including continuing with the pregnancy and keeping the baby or having it adopted. It is important to make a well informed decision with the support of your doctor. If you decide to go ahead with the termination, you will also need to discuss the kind of abortion that you will have.

When is the Right Time for an Abortion?

The length of your pregnancy will determine which abortion options are available to you:

  • Up to 9 weeks: medical abortion
  • Up to 12 weeks: manual vacuum aspiration
  • 9-18 weeks: surgical abortion

You should see a doctor as soon as you can after discovering you are pregnant in order to ensure that you have as many options as possible.

What Type of Abortion Should You Have?

Although the timing will influence the types of termination that can be performed, there are also some other factors to consider when comparing your abortion options. You will have three main options to consider:

  • A medical abortion involves taking two different pills, 24 hours apart. The medication will induce your uterus to expel the pregnancy. This is usually the simplest and safest option.
  • Manual vacuum aspiration uses gentle vacuum pump to remove the pregnancy through your cervix. It can be a good option in early pregnancy if you can’t take the drugs used during a medical abortion.
  • A surgical abortion is a simple procedure to remove the pregnancy through the cervix. It doesn’t require any incisions, but you will usually need a general anaesthetic. Surgical abortions are usually only carried out when the other options aren’t possible as it is the most serious procedure.

If you are considering an abortion, you should discuss each of these options with your doctor so that you can choose the right one for you.

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