A quality abortion provider better serves both your physical and emotional health. The decision to choose abortion is often a difficult choice. Once that decision is made however, you must also choose which abortion provider you will entrust with your care. There may be a number of abortion providers in your area. So, choosing a provider may involve more than a single phone call. How do you choose a quality abortion provider who will offer you the best care, ensure comfort, and treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve?
You may find an abortion provider in your area at:
The Abortion Clinic Directory
Often your first contact with an abortion provider is by phone. As you are talking to the abortion provider, be sure to listen for the following:
*You are treated kindly and patiently.
*Information regarding abortion services is being given clearly and willingly.
*The telephone counselor is well informed and answers your questions easily.
Being on the phone gives you an opportunity to ask a great many questions. Listed below are some of the many questions women often ask:
*What days and hours are pregnancy tests available?
*What are the costs?
*How fast will I have the results?
What are the Fees?
*Does the fee quoted cover all the costs?
*What methods of payment are offered?
*Will my insurance be accepted?
*Do they offer a post-surgery check up visit? Is there a charge?
*Are there charges for any of the lab tests?
*Is ultrasound routinely offered? Is there an extra charge?
*What is the pain management program? Are there extra fees for sedation or general anesthesia?
*Do you feel pressured into choosing general anesthesia or any other pain relief option? What is the fee?
*Are medications included in the fee? Is there a pharmacy on site to fill take-home prescriptions?
*What lab tests will be done the day of my abortion?
*Will I know my lab results before my abortion surgery?
*If my blood type is RH negative, do they offer a Rhogam injection? What is the cost?
*Can I get a PAP test or a test for Sexually Transmitted Diseases at the same time? What is the cost?
Laboratory tests usually include a pregnancy test and a blood sample to check your hematocrit (if your blood is lacking iron) and your RH factor.
Is Counseling Provided?
*Will I speak privately with someone?
*Is there someone to talk to if I am not sure of my decision?
*Does the clinic offer counseling after my abortion?
*Do they offer counseling for those who are with me?
Quality abortion providers have health educators or counselors available who can answer questions or address concerns about all pregnancy options - parenthood, adoption and abortion. Each woman - even those who are very certain about their abortion decision - should have an opportunity to meet with a health counselor to discuss feelings and concerns. The counseling staff is there to support and help both patients and those who are with you in this experience.
It is probably wise to get a few opinions about the different abortion providers in your area and you should certainly call all of them and get an impression of their staff and services. You should ask friends and family that you trust for a recommendation. Also consider asking your doctor, local hospital, family planning agency, or social service agency. If it is possible, visit the clinic, or at least visit their web page and read it thoroughly. If their fee seems too low or too high, ask more questions about what is included and why it is so different than other clinics’ fees. Ask what organizations the clinic belongs to--the Abortion Care Network is one and another is the National Abortion Federation (NAF). NAF members have created standards for abortion providers to follow.
Choosing a Provider
Here are some questions to ask:
*How long will the abortion take?
*How long will I be in the facility?
*Are there pain management options and are all options offered to you? Are there extra charges?
NOTE: Most women report cramping associated with abortion as tolerable. Others prefer not to experience any discomfort. Because general anesthesia carries a greater medical risk and is far more expensive, some clinics may offer IV or oral sedation and pain relievers. Discuss this with your provider.
*What kind of procedure will be performed How early is abortion offered?
*Is there an option for one-day second trimester abortion?
*Who will be in the room during the procedure? Can my partner or friend be with me?
*What qualifications does the doctor have? How long has he or she been performing abortions?
*Will an ultrasound be done before the abortion to confirm the length of pregnancy?
*Where do patients “recover” after surgery and for how long generally?
*For non-surgical abortion, is the method used the FDA approved method (Mifeprex with Misoprostol) or a substitute?
*Is there a 24-hour phone number for emergencies?
Surgical abortion usually takes only a few minutes, yet patients can be in the facility for several hours. Quality providers ensure that counseling is provided, a medical history is obtained, and lab work is performed before you are readied for surgery. These are important opportunities for you to meet the medical team and to relax. Following surgery, patients need ample recovery time with medical and counseling staff available. Written and oral instructions on how to take care of yourself and what to do if you have a problem should be available.
Non-surgical abortion can be performed early in pregnancy. There are certain requirements and an experienced care provider should offer the information and be willing to answer your questions. After two weeks, it is very important for all patients to have a follow-up examination. Quality abortion providers will not charge for a surgical follow-up visit.
For more resources, go to www.Abortion Care Network.