Abortion: A Comprehensive Guide to Abortion Care

Abortion care should be convenient, compassionate, and affordable.

Abortion is a common, safe, and normal experience. Every person deserves compassionate, high-quality, and accessible reproductive health care, especially abortion care. If you are considering having an abortion or just want to brush up on some facts, carafem is here with a helpful guide to find abortion care that is easy to understand, easy to access, and centered around you.

The best abortion providers work to value you, your time, and your preferences. That’s why we’ve built the carafem experience to be compassionate, convenient, and prioritized to you. We work to provide the best possible health care in a way that celebrates all aspects of your identity, including your sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, immigration status, socioeconomic background, dis/ability, and age.

What is abortion?

Simply put, an abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. Abortions are incredibly common, safe, and effective options to end a pregnancy. You can have either a medication abortion using pills, or an in-office abortion procedure (sometimes called a surgical abortion, though no surgery is involved).

Is abortion safe?

Yes, abortion is absolutely safe! It’s also a common, shared experience. One in four women* in the U.S. will have an abortion in their lifetime. People have been receiving abortion care for all of human history, and medical research has overwhelmingly proven time and time again that abortion is a safe medical experience.

carafem provides abortion care earlier in pregnancy, though abortion later in pregnancy is also a vital part of reproductive health care. Abortion prior to 13 weeks gestation is very safe and the risk of complications are rare. When taking the abortion pill, the risk of major complications is less than 0.5%, and an in-office aspiration abortion has a complication risk of less than 1%.

*People of all genders get abortions, from cisgender women to trans men, non-binary people, intersex people, etc. This data from the Guttmacher Institute is quoted verbatim, though carafem affirms and supports all people seeking abortion care.

What are the types of abortion care?

Abortion Pill

The abortion pill is often referred to as a medical abortion or a medication abortion. The abortion pill is actually a combination of two kinds of pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) that are taken in sequence. In the U.S. these are most often used before 11 weeks of pregnancy.

The abortion pill safely and effectively ends a pregnancy in a way that feels more like a natural process than a procedure. The abortion pill may be better for those who have never had a pelvic exam or like the privacy of having an abortion at home.

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In-Office Procedure

The in-office procedure is a safe and simple method of ending an early pregnancy in our office with a gentle and quiet hand-held suction device. This process is also known as “aspiration abortion” or “surgical abortion” – even though there is no surgery involved. We know it is one of the safest and most effective methods of abortion around the world.

This is a common way to end an early pregnancy up to 13 weeks from your last period. The procedure takes about 2 – 7 minutes — no longer than a regular pap smear. It’s provided in a regular exam room — no loud machines or hospital-like setting required.

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Online Abortion Care

Telehealth abortion care has become very popular over the past several years, and carafem has provided online care to tens of thousands of people. You can expect the same quality of care and receive the same medication you’d be prescribed at an in-person abortion pill appointment. With this option, you will complete a medical evaluation via an online form or during a video visit.

If medically eligible, you will receive medication in a discreet package by mail within a few business days. carafem’s package includes everything you’ll need to take your medication, including some helpful extras like tea and a heating pad to help with cramps. Online abortion care is a convenient option if you are a busy parent, live far away from a clinic, or if you just prefer to stay home.

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Tips to find high quality abortion care

Whether you’re getting that compassionate care from carafem or another provider, you deserve to have a provider who will make you comfortable, care for you, and offer 24/7 support. Organizations like I Need An A and Abortion Finder can help you find a trusted abortion provider, and looking at a health center’s reviews can help you determine the quality of care you might receive.

Unfortunately, there is an epidemic of fake abortion clinics, often called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) that masquerade as abortion providers but do not provide abortions. These fake clinics will give you inaccurate and false information about your health, your pregnancy options, and the safety and availability of abortion care.

Since Crisis Pregnancy Centers go to great lengths to look like abortion clinics, it’s important to make sure you know whether you’re going to a real clinic or a fake one. This Fake Clinic Database from ReproAction has a list of identified fake clinics so you can know where to avoid. Alternatively, the National Abortion Federation can help you find a reputable, trusted abortion provider.

What is the legal status of abortion in the US?

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, many states started severely restricting or completely banning abortion care, so it’s important to know the laws of your state when you’re seeking abortion care. Check out this State by State Guide to Abortion by Abortion Finder to know what is legal in your state. This guide is constantly updated as each state changes its laws so you can trust it has the most recent and accurate information.

If you do live in a state where abortion care is banned, you can still receive abortion care! Many people travel to a state that’s close to them to seek in-person or telehealth care. There are groups called abortion funds and Practical Support Organizations that will help cover the cost of your abortion and help support your traveling and other logistics. We’ve put together a short guide on traveling out of state to receive Online Abortion Care so that you can still receive high quality, medically supported abortion with pills in a state where it’s legal.

If/When/How has a Reproductive Legal Helpline which is managed by lawyers and legal experts that can answer any questions you might have regarding your legal rights to abortion care and can assist in navigating a judicial bypass. Similarly, Janes Due Process is a resource for people under 18 in Texas seeking abortion care, and can provide legal support, case management services, and help with obtaining a judicial bypass so you can receive abortion care without notifying a guardian.

What is the best abortion method for you?

It is important that you take time to think through all your pregnancy and abortion options. There are many ways to address an unintended pregnancy, but you determine your own best path based on your circumstances. This pregnancy options workbook can help you consider what options are available to you and what best fits your needs.

Choosing between a medication abortion and an in-office abortion is a highly personal decision. Both the abortion pill and an in-office procedure are very safe and effective. Many people feel that the abortion pill is more private because the actual abortion takes place at home, and many people like the peace of mind after an in-office procedure when leaving their provider no longer pregnant.

Advantages of the Abortion Pill

  • The abortion pill can be used in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.
  • It requires no surgery or anesthesia (and less time in a medical environment).
  • It has the potential for greater privacy.
  • It allows for more control over your body.
  • It is less invasive and may feel more natural.

Advantages of an In-Office Procedure

  • The biggest advantage for many is that you are no longer pregnant when you leave our center.
  • An in-office procedure with carafem takes about 2-7 minutes, no longer than a regular pap smear and it’s provided in a regular exam room. In contrast, taking the abortion pill requires two steps to be successful and it takes between 24 and 72 hours for most users.
  • This option at carafem is available up to 13 weeks gestation, as opposed to the abortion pill that is only available up to 11 weeks of pregnancy depending on your state laws.

Regardless of what abortion option you choose, both a medication abortion and the in-office procedure are safe and effective, and carafem will offer you 24/7 high quality, compassionate support throughout the process.

Abortion Options at carafem

At carafem, all abortion services are supported by Cara, our virtual care assistant with answers to your questions 24/7. Video Visits are available in 16 states and cost $0-249 depending on your insurance and if you qualify for financial assistance. Immediate Evaluation is available in five states, does not require any video consultation, and costs $0-239 depending on your financial assistance eligibility.

carafem offers the Abortion Pill in our three health centers in the DC, Atlanta, and Chicago metro areas. Note: due to local laws, in Georgia, abortion care is limited to often the first six weeks of a pregnancy. carafem’s Online Care also offers the abortion pill through telehealth, both with video appointments available and through an online form.

Common Questions About Abortion

Abortion care should be accessible to all who want it ​— cost should never be a reason you can’t get an abortion with carafem. We partner with abortion funds to offer financial assistance to those who qualify, and accept health insurance for in-person appointments. Additionally, our staff will work with you to check with your insurance company and abortion funds to see if they will cover part or all of your costs — just call us 24 hours in advance of your appointment to get the process rolling.

We understand that out-of-pocket costs are a big concern and play an important factor in your decision. You can expect to pay about $0-249 if you choose online care or $0-$475 for an abortion pill appointment in one of our health centers. The in-office procedure costs $550. You can find more information about appointment costs and insurance acceptance here

At carafem, depending on location, the in-office procedure costs $550 and we accept most medical insurance, and medicaid in certain states. Financial assistance may be available for low-income clients.

Maryland Medicaid can be used to completely cover the cost of your appointment at a carafem health center! Illinois Medicaid can be used to completely cover the cost of your appointment at both a carafem health center and online care. If you have Medicaid insurance through another state, we can apply a $50 discount to your appointment for In-office Care. Some private insurance will cover part or all of the cost of your in-person appointment with carafem.

If you are concerned about being able to pay for your abortion appointment with carafem, please call us at 855-729-2272, and we will work with you to ensure you receive the compassionate, high-quality abortion care you deserve.

It’s completely normal to feel a range of emotions after an abortion! From joy to grief to contentment to apathy — or all of the above. Anything and everything you’re feeling after an abortion is normal and okay. The most common emotion people experience after an abortion is relief. Even years later, most people know their abortion was the right decision.

For some people, having an abortion is a major life experience that they want to honor and respect, and for others, it’s a simple healthcare experience. Whatever you’re feeling and however you’re processing your abortion is completely valid. You’re the expert of your own life, and know that carafem trusts that you made the best decision for you, your life and future, and your family and loved ones.

If you’re struggling with navigating your emotions after an abortion, the Abortion Resolution Workbook: A Guide for Those Seeking Emotional and Spiritual Resolution might be a good resource for you. This free, online workbook can offer guidance, thought exercises, and support that will “help you pay attention to your feelings, understand the whole complex situation you are in, and find some new ways of looking at your experience.”

carafem provides comprehensive, 24/7 support during your abortion process, and can offer additional resources to support you after your abortion is complete. Organizations like Shout Your Abortion, Connect and Breathe, and Two Plus Abortions can offer emotional guidance and connect you to other people who have had an abortion so you know you’re not alone in this experience.

Because there’s a lot of misinformation about the safety of abortion, we wanted to reassure you that having an abortion will not impact your fertility. Having an abortion will not prevent your ability to become or stay pregnant in the future, so you can have a child or grow your family when you are ready.

Regardless of why you decided to have an abortion, your reason for doing so is valid. You should be proud that you sought the healthcare you needed. carafem will always support your decisions, and will provide compassionate, high quality abortion care whenever you need it.