Preparing for an Abortion
Calling a Provider
After locating an abortion provider in your area that seems to suit your needs, the next step is calling the facility. This will also help you gauge what the culture of the clinic is like and if itís somewhere you would feel comfortable receiving care. They can answer any basic questions you have and help you set up an appointment.
Before making the call, write down a list of questions you want to ask. You can use the list below to help you brainstorm. Once you have your questions, keep your pen and paper handy to write down answers. Have your schedule or calendar nearby, as well as the date of your last period, and the best phone number to reach you. If you want support in making the call, ask a friend or partner to sit with you and help you take notes.
Some good questions to start off with are:
- What types of abortion services does your facility offer?
- How long does each procedure take? How many visits are required?
- How much does each procedure cost? Does that amount include all services, like a pregnancy test, medications, lab work, and follow-up?
- What forms of payment are accepted? Do you partner with any abortion funds or operate on a sliding scale?
- Can I bring a support person? If so, will they be allowed in the appointment with me?
- Who provides the counseling and when does it take place? What kinds of things are usually discussed?
- Will I be able to have all my questions answered throughout my appointment?
Remember that if you feel uncomfortable with any of their answers, you do not have to make an appointment immediately. You can call another facility from the Book of Choices to compare answers.
Once youíre ready to make the appointment, you should ask:
- What should I bring with me to the appointment?
- Do I need to bring photo ID?
- Whatís the best way to get to the clinic?
- Where is the best place to park? (if driving)
What to Bring
In addition to what the clinic suggests bringing, you may want to bring the items listed below.
- Directions and contact information for the facility.
- Insurance information and an acceptable form of payment (if applicable).
- Bring a book, magazine, or music to help you pass the time.
What to Expect While at the Clinic
On the day of your appointment, dress comfortably. If you see protesters outside or near the clinic, remember that you do not need to interact with them and that you have a legal right to enter the clinic. Walk in with a support person or clinic escort (a volunteer from the clinic), or listen to music on your headphones. There may be a security guard and a metal detector inside the clinic for your protection. If you are nervous about protestors, you can ask the facility beforehand if they typically experience protestors, and if so, if they have clinic escorts to help you enter the building safely.
After checking in with the receptionist, the clinic will need you to fill out several forms, including information about your medical history (i.e. any medication you are currently taking, if youíve been pregnant before, family history). If youíre worried you might forget anything, you can write down a list of any important medical information and bring it with you. Once you hand in the completed forms, you may have to wait to see a provider.
The clinic should provide a counseling session to answer any other questions you have, explain what will happen throughout the procedure, and make sure youíre comfortable with your choice.
Before the abortion, you will meet with a nurse or doctor so that they can administer a pregnancy test and a blood test. After that, they may perform a pelvic exam or an ultrasound in order to determine how far along you are in your pregnancy.
The Doula Project
Doulas are trained professionals who provide supportive care during pregnancy. The Doula Project is a nonprofit focusing on providing doula care across the full spectrum of pregnancy, including abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth and birth for those considering adoption or parenting. The Doula Project partners with abortion clinics to provide doula care to clients choosing medical or surgical abortion. They have partnered with Planned Parenthood Brooklyn, Planned Parenthood Bronx, and several public centers to provide doula support for clients choosing abortion or facing fetal loss. For more information, visit them online.
Ancient Song Doula Services
Ancient Song Doula Services is a Brooklyn-based organization offering full spectrum labor and postpartum doula services with a focus on low income individuals, women of color, and immigrant populations. All services are free and/or low cost and referrals are made through providers or can be self-made through their website. ASDS serves Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and Long Island. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.