When an unexpected pregnancy happens, it can be overwhelming. Whether or not to have an abortion is one of the most important decisions you will ever have to face. It’s also a highly personal decision — and one that only you can make. Abortion is common in our culture, but you still might be wondering, “Is abortion right for me?”
The best way to answer that critical question is to have a conversation with an experienced options counselor. They can walk you through your questions and concerns until you feel equipped to make a confident decision about your pregnancy.
Here we have included eight questions you can ask yourself that may help you decide if abortion is right for you.
1. Have I Thoroughly Explored All My Pregnancy Options?
When you’re unexpectedly pregnant, each of your options will impact you in one way or another. It’s important to talk with a skilled advocate who can answer all your questions about each option without bias. Sometimes, it feels nice to ask for advice from friends and family members, but a professional can offer you information without having an opinion on your choice. Often, people close to you are unable to separate their needs from your needs and inadvertently give advice based upon what they want rather than what is best for you. In addition, a professional advocate will lead you to resources others don’t know are available.
Your pregnancy options include:
- Continuing your pregnancy and parenting your child
- Continuing your pregnancy and placing your child for adoption
- Ending your pregnancy through abortion
Each one of these three choices is difficult in its own way. Even if one option seems out of the question to you, be sure to explore each of them thoroughly anyway. You might be surprised by what you learn.
2. Do I Understand Abortion Methods and Risks for My Stage of Pregnancy?
Informed consent is critical before an abortion . This means you are entirely informed and understand everything you need to know about the abortion procedure for your stage of pregnancy, the risks involved, and practices of the abortion clinic regarding what will happen to the aborted fetus afterward.
Different methods of abortion are performed at various stages of pregnancy, so be sure you understand which one is appropriate for how far along you are. There are medical (chemical) abortions and surgical abortions, and each has its risks.
3. Do I Have Any Unanswered Questions About Abortion?
You never have to succumb to any sort of pressure regarding abortion. You have the freedom to be empowered by asking as many questions as you need. You also have the right to receive accurate information without judgment or bias. Abortion is permanent, so don’t ever feel you have to move forward unless you’re satisfied that you are fully informed, and you feel ready.
4. Does My Age Put Me at Risk if Pregnant?
If you are a minor or beyond age 35, you could be wondering if your age increases your pregnancy risks. This is a topic you can discuss with your ObGyn or Midwife. Medical care is so advanced now that if there are additional risks, your doctor will monitor you closely so you can have a successful pregnancy. We can help you find an ObGyn that meets your needs.
5. How Late Can You Have an Abortion in California?
In California, abortion is regulated under California Health and Safety Code 123462. It is legal to have an abortion in California until the fetus is viable, or when abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.
Viability defined by the Supreme Court as:
“Viability is reached when, in the judgment of the attending physician on the particular facts of the case before him, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’ sustained survival outside the womb, with or without artificial support. Because this point may differ with each pregnancy, neither the legislature nor the courts may proclaim one of the elements entering into the ascertainment of viability – be it weeks of gestation or fetal weight or any other single factor – as the determinant of when the State has a compelling interest in the life or health of the fetus.” Colautti v. Franklin (1979)
California HSC 123464 defines viability as,
“the point in a pregnancy when, in the good faith medical judgment of a physician, on the particular facts of the case before that physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.”
There is no consensus on a standard of viability. Each physician is left to determine that for themselves. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a blog on Women’s Health Policy that says, “While viability does not refer to a specific gestational age, it is often presumed at 24 weeks gestation, with “periviability” referring to the time around viability (20 to 26 weeks gestation).”
Abortion may be legal in California after viability out of concern for the health of the mother, physicians decide this on a case by case basis. The timing of abortion is sensitive, it is important that a solid gestational age is established before seeking an abortion. Pregnancy Care Clinic offers free and quick ultrasound appointments to determine viability and gestational age. Schedule an appointment now for free preabortion screening with ultrasound.
Is Anyone Pressuring Me to Have an Abortion?
Even though abortion is legal, no one has the right to force, coerce, exert undue influence, or unduly pressure you to have an abortion . Even if you’re a minor, the United States Supreme Court makes it clear that an abortion decision must be yours alone, that it must be made of your own free will.
Coercion means someone is manipulating you to have an abortion. Examples include:
- A parent who says, “If you don’t have an abortion, I will kick you out of the house.”
- A boyfriend or husband who says, “If you don’t have an abortion, I’m leaving you.” A note to consider is if a partner threatens you this way, he is likely to leave whether you have an abortion or not.
- A boyfriend or husband who says, “If you go through with this pregnancy, you’re on your own and won’t get any financial support from me.” Biological fathers have a legal obligation to support their children financially.
- Anyone who says, “I made your appointment, and I’m taking you. You have to go.” No one can force you to make one choice over another.
When you feel forced, pressured, or coerced into an abortion, you are more likely to experience emotional complications and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
6. Are Feelings of Fear Causing Me to Consider Abortion?
The top three reasons we hear about why women think they need an abortion are fear-based. They are:
- Women fear their partners will leave them if they don’t have an abortion.
- Women fear their parents’ reactions to finding out they are sexually active.
- Women fear the future.
Fear-based decision-making rarely concludes with an outcome you can be happy with for the long-term. Making decisions based upon fear can provide immediate short-term relief, but regrets often follow them in the long-run. We can help you raise awareness about why you’re considering one pregnancy option over another to avoid future regrets.
7. Do I Have Personal Convictions About Abortion?
It’s crucial to explore your feelings about abortion. Do you have moral or religious beliefs against it that could cause you distress if you chose abortion, or not?
8. What Is My “Gut” Telling Me?
You were designed with a conscience or a sense of what is right — or not right. Is that soft, guiding voice telling you something isn’t quite right? If you make a decision about your pregnancy, but your gut is telling you to pause, listen to it. Then take the time necessary to explore why you’re sensing hesitation before moving forward.
It may help to fill in these statements with your own words:
- The idea of raising a child causes me to feel ______________ because _________________ .
- The idea of placing a baby for adoption causes me to feel __________because __________.
- The idea of having an abortion causes me to feel __________ because ________________.
Be Empowered at Pregnancy Care Clinic
At Pregnancy Care Clinic, we provide compassionate and confidential services to help you decide if abortion is the right decision for you. Our licensed medical professionals offer no-cost pregnancy services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and STI testing, where indicated. Contact us today for an appointment.
 K. Nunez,. (2019, October 11). What You Need to Know About Informed Consent. Retrieved on July 29, 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health/informed-consent
 L. Cone,. (2019, September 19). Forced Abortion. Retrieved on July 29, 2020 from https://thejusticefoundation.org/2019/09/forced-abortions/
 M. Curley, C. Johnston (2013). The Characteristics and Severity of Psychological distress after Abortion Among University Students. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, July 40(3) 279-93
- Coyle, P. Coleman (2010). Inadequate Preabortion Counseling and Decision Conflict as Predictors of Subsequent Relationship Difficulties and Psychological Stress in Men and Women. Traumatology, 16(1), 16-30
 Kaiser Family Foundation (2019, December 5) Abortions Later in Pregnancy. Retrieved on March 18, 2021 from https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/fact-sheet/abortions-later-in-pregnancy/