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Myths and Facts About Abortion

MYTH: Abortion is dangerous.

FACT: Abortion is one of the safest and most common medical procedures performed in the United States. The risk of serious complications is minimal; less than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication that requires hospitalization.

MYTH: Abortion causes or increases your risk of breast cancer.

FACT: Exhaustive reviews by panels convened by the U.S. and British governments have concluded that there is no association between abortion and breast cancer. There is also no indication that abortion is a risk factor for other cancers.

MYTH: Abortion puts future fertility at risk.

FACT: There is no scientific evidence that having an abortion affects your ability to have a healthy pregnancy. Only when a person experiences serious but rare complications is future fertility affected. Medical studies show that having an abortion will not make it more difficult to become pregnant again.

MYTH: Abortion is very painful.

FACT: Pain management is always offered to patients choosing abortion. Most people experience cramping, similar in sensation to menstrual cramps, during abortion. People who have had an abortion report all different levels of discomfort. If you are particularly worried about pain management, talk to your abortion care provider about your pain management options.

MYTH: Abortion is expensive.

FACT: The cost of an abortion depends on many factors, including how far along the pregnancy is, the type of procedure and medication used, and the kind of facility. The average first-trimester abortion costs around $400-600. If you have health insurance, the cost may be significantly less. The majority of private health insurance programs provide coverage for abortions, and public health insurance programs such as Medicaid in New York State also provide coverage for abortion. If you are uninsured, clinics may offer a sliding scale for abortions, based on your income. They may also allow you to use credit cards or work out a payment plan. You may also contact the New York Abortion Access Fund to see if they can provide any financial assistance. For more information on payment, see Paying for Your Care.

MYTH: People who have abortions suffer from “Post Abortion Stress Syndrome.”

FACT: Expert panels have found that no evidence exists to support this condition. Every person and every situation is different. People experience a range of emotions before choosing and after having an abortion. The Oakland-based group Exhale offers unbiased post-abortion counseling to those who have had abortions nationwide. They can be reached at 1.866.4.EXHALE or at exhaleprovoice.org.