- Don't want to be pregnant?
If you’re still in school or you don't have a partner, having a baby may seem impossible. Many factors, like money or health, play a role. If you think that you can’t keep the baby, you have several possibilities. You can see if adoption is an option, or if a family member can help you out.
Another option is having an abortion. But opting for an abortion is hard. It's a very tough decision to make. There are different options for pregnancy terminations, but you need to decide first if an abortion is something you want to commit to at all. Make sure that somebody can help you make the decision – a counsellor, family member or friend.
- Safe abortions around the world
Abortion laws differ depending on where you live. In some countries, you can have an abortion until a certain number of weeks into your pregnancy. In other countries, pregnancy terminations are only legal when you have been abused or if you have health problems.
And in yet other countries, abortions are illegal all together. If you happen to live in a country where abortion is illegal, organizations like 'Women on waves' or 'Women on Web' may still be able to help you find a safe, legal way to bring on a miscarriage. Even if you are not pregnant, check out their websites.
Any woman can have an abortion in India under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971). However, the law comes with a set of conditions such as the stipulation around the length of pregnancy. Read more about it here. If you're in India (where abortion is legal), you can contact Love Matters' partner FPA India for advice, information and safe abortion.
- Safe abortions
So, why exactly, are we talking about safe abortions in particular? Because every ten minutes, a woman dies from complications of an unsafe abortion. Because it's illegal in many countries, women have to rely on sketchy, unsafe places to terminate a pregnancy. People there use utensils such as knitting needles or sucking devices to abort a fetus. Many of those places are dirty and a health hazard. A woman can get an infection or sepsis and may die if those conditions are not treated quickly and properly.
- Types of abortions
There are two main types- the medical abortion and surgical abortion.
To abort medically, you take several pills that stop the production of the pregnancy hormones. You then start to bleed, like when you have your period. The pills only work if you are less than 8 weeks pregnant. You usually take them at a clinic, but organizations like 'Women on Waves' can help you get the pills, and offer advice, too.
During a surgical abortion, a doctor will anesthetize you either locally or generally. In the first weeks of pregnancy, a so called suction aspiration takes place, where a tube is inserted into the womb and removes the fetus. During later stages of pregnancy, dilation and evacuation (D&E) is most commonly used. In a D&E, a narrow forceps is used to remove the fetus from the womb. For that, the cervix needs to be 'prepared' (softened or gently opened) either on the day of your surgery or the day before, using medication or toothpick-sized rods the doctor inserts.
After having had an abortion, you might feel different emotions. Women who have thought about their decisions well, usually feel relieved. Other women however may feel sad, guilty or grieving.
It can be a very hard decision if you feel trapped by the situation and feel you have no alternative. If you have an abortion it’s important that it’s your own choice and you feel comfortable with it.
The article was first published on September 21, 2012.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.