Abortion in the United States: FAQ Part 2
No matter your reason for seeking abortion care, here are some basics.
If you are seeking to terminate your pregnancy, it’s likely that you have many questions. No matter your reason for seeking abortion care, here are some basics. Don’t forget to check out Abortion FAQ Part 1.
What will happen during my appointment?
A doctor will take your medical history and vital signs. They will talk to you about your options, and most will perform an ultrasound. This is required by many states, and some require that that the medical professional show and describe the image to you. Some states require clinics to give you information packets or booklets, many of which contain false information meant to shame or scare you out of getting an abortion. In these instances, it’s important to listen to the information that your doctor gives you.
What happens during the abortion itself?
Most abortions in the US are performed before eight weeks of pregnancy. At this stage, you can generally choose between medical abortion (with pills), or aspiration (surgical) abortion. If you choose a medical abortion, you may need to take some or all of the pills at the clinic, or you may be able to take them at home. You will need a follow-up appointment to ensure that the termination was completed. During the second trimester, dilation and evacuation (D&E) is the most common procedure performed. During aspiration abortion and D&E, the medical provider will need to dilate your cervix (more so for D&E). Anesthesia is generally used during aspiration abortion and D&E procedures.
How far along in pregnancy can I get an abortion?
The Supreme Court has held that abortion must remain legal up to the point of fetal viability (or later if a person’s life or health is in danger), though there is quite a bit of debate as to when exactly a fetus is viable. It is generally thought to be around 24 weeks. Many states, however, have laws banning abortion at 20 weeks based on inaccurate claims about the capability of the fetus to feel pain.
Will my insurance cover my abortion? What if I’m on Medicaid?
It depends on what type of insurance you have, and if you will have to travel out of state to receive care. How much you pay will vary. Some states have laws that limit abortion coverage by private insurance plans, and the only exception is if your life is in danger.
Because of the Hyde Amendment, no federal Medicaid funds are available to cover abortion unless there is a case of rape, incest, or life endangerment.
How much will I pay out of pocket?
Without insurance, the average cost of an abortion done in the first trimester is usually about $500. There are many variations from state to state and from clinic to clinic. The price generally increases starting at 13 weeks, and a second-trimester abortion may cost more than twice as much as a first-trimester abortion. Your clinic can let you know exactly how much you will pay and can help you communicate with your insurance provider, if you have insurance.
Some insurance may not cover your procedure if you have to travel out of state. Using your insurance out of state is possible, but can be difficult. For travel and lodging costs, including childcare, abortion funds can help. The staff of your local (or nearest) abortion fund can also help you estimate how much your procedure will cost in total. They may not be able to fund your entire procedure, but they will try to help.
Women Help Women believes that all people should have access to medically and scientifically accurate information surrounding all aspects of abortion and contraception and believes women should have agency over their own reproductive choices. Our organization provides accurate information about what exactly a medical abortion with pills is, the pills’ effectiveness, how to use the pills, and what to expect after using abortion pills. If you are pregnant and do not want to be, get in touch with us online at www.womenhelp.org or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.