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Abortion - Topic Overview

When can an abortion be done? continued...

Abortions done early in the pregnancy can be done by your doctor or gynecologist. Some nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants may also be trained to do some types of abortions. Abortion services are most likely to be offered at university hospitals and family planning clinics.

Some states in the U.S. have legal restrictions on abortion. Talk to your closest Planned Parenthood or other family planning clinic to learn more about restrictions in your state.

In some states, women younger than 18 will need a parent's permission. A minor can get a court order that will allow an abortion without a parent's consent.

Abortions are rarely done after 24 weeks of pregnancy (during the late second trimester and entire third trimester). Many states have restrictions on abortions after 24 weeks.

How safe is abortion?

Abortions done by doctors are very safe. Less than 1 out of 100 women have a serious problem from an abortion.1

The safest timing for an abortion is usually during the first trimester. This is when a low-risk medicine or vacuum aspiration procedure can be used.

Will you be able to have children in the future?

The most widely used methods for abortion do not prevent a woman from becoming pregnant later.

Keep in mind that you can get pregnant in the weeks right after an abortion. This is a good time to start using birth control that works well and fits your lifestyle.

It will probably take you 1 to 3 weeks to heal and feel better after an abortion. You should not have sex during this time. But when you do have sex again, be sure to use a condom for several weeks or for as long as your doctor tells you to. This will help to prevent infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about abortion:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 05, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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