Is abortion legal in the United States?
In the United States, abortion is legal but restrictions may make it difficult to access services in some areas. In 1973, the United States Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe vs. Wade guaranteed women the right to abortion. Numerous state-based laws restrict access in other ways, including by requiring consent for minors, waiting periods between the initial consultation and initiating the abortion, and/or requiring that only doctors provide the abortion.
What are the different abortion services available?
- Medical abortion
- Surgical abortion
- Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)
- Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
Who can perform abortions in the United States?
Though each state regulates abortion differently, in the United States abortion can be performed by one or more of the following types of providers:
- Advance Practice Clinician (Nurse Practitioner, Physician’s Assistant)
- Midwife (Certified Nurse Midwife)
Where can I go for abortion services?
- Carefem: At carafem health centers, you'll find compassionate, convenient abortion care, birth control options and STI testing and treatment. By using the newest technology and best medical practices, carefem focuses on your unique needs and respects your time, with most appointments lasting about an hour. Abortion options include both the abortion pill and the carefem Procedure - a safe and simple method of ending an early pregnancy in the office with a gentle and quiet hand-held suction device. At the moment, carafem facilities are available in Washington, D.C. and Georgia.
- Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood provides medical and surgical abortion through its many health centers throughout the country. Planned Parenthood is uniquely positioned to integrate birth control with abortion services. Through offering pre- and post-abortion counseling and birth control method choice, Planned Parenthood enables women to prevent an unplanned pregnancy subsequent to an abortion."
- Independent Abortion Clinics: Visit the Abortion Care Network website to see if there is an independent abortion care center near you. Independent providers can also help you start a birth control method after the abortion.
- Telemedicine study: If you live in Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, or Washington State, you may be able to receive abortion pills by mail through the TelAbortion Study. Please visit www.telabortion.org for further information.
- Protect yourself from fake clinics: In the US, there are a number of fake women’s health centers that work to prevent women from accessing safe abortion services. Learn more about what they are and how to avoid them at the #ExposeFakeClinics project by Lady Parts Justice League.
What is the cost of an abortion?
- The average cost of a first trimester abortion is $504, but costs can range from $400 to $900. The cost of surgical and medical abortion are typically the same. Later term abortions are more expensive. Some insurance plans and state reimbursement plans cover abortion, though many do not. The National Network of Abortion Funds can help those requiring financial assistance access support for the abortion and related costs (such as travel to a clinic).
- If you need financial help to pay for your abortion, there are funds throughout the USA that may be able to give you a loan or grant for part of the costs. The first step is to call the clinic where you will have your abortion. To find a clinic, you can check http://prochoice.org/think-youre-pregnant/find-a-provider/ or http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center. Clinics listed at these sites are able to give you a small grant to help pay for your abortion through the Justice Fund. They can also tell you if Medicaid can help cover the cost of abortion in your state.
- For additional financial support, there are abortion funds in most states. Go to http://www.fundabortionnow.org/need-abortion to find the fund in your state, or call the National Network of Abortion Funds at 617-267-7161. You can also call the helpline at the National Abortion Federation for referrals and funding. The number is 1-800-772-9100 and the best times to call are between 6 and 11:00 PM EST Mon-Friday, noon-9:00 PM EST on Saturdays, or anytime on Sunday 9 AM -9:00 PM EST.
What are the legal and safe drugs available?
- Mifepristone (Mifeprex) plus misoprostol
Can I buy abortion pills at a pharmacy?
No. Abortion pills are not sold in pharmacies. The pills must be obtained directly from the abortion provider.
Can I buy abortion pills online?
Some people in the United States have reported obtaining abortion pills through online pharmacies. Because these pharmacies are unregulated, there is little information available about their reliability. Researchers have purchased products from a number of online pharmacies and received abortion pills by mail. Chemical analysis found that the pills contained the labeled active ingredients. For more information about this research and how people in the United States are accessing abortion pills through the internet, visit www.plancpills.org. In addition, a US-based service—Self-managed Abortion Safe and Supported (SASS)—provides a secure chat feature for those who have questions about accessing abortion pills in this way.
NOTE: While no person should be prosecuted for providing their own medical care, there have been at least 18 instances in the United States of people being prosecuted for performing their own abortion (often after buying pills on the internet). For more information, visit the Self Induced Abortion (SIA) Legal Team.
Who can I contact for additional information and support?
- National Network of Abortion Funds: Financial support
- Carafem: Health services and resources for women in D.C. and Georgia.
- Planned Parenthood: Health services and resources
- Abortion Care Network: Health services and resources
- Plan C: Health services and resources
- Self-managed Abortion Safe and Supported: Health services and resources
- Self-induced Abortion Legal Team: Legal counsel
- All Options: Pregnancy, parenting, abortion, adoption resources
- The National Abortion Federation: Information resources
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