In many areas abortions are available for free on the NHS and carried out at a NHS hospital or specialist abortion clinic. Your GP (if you are happy to talk to him/her) or local family planning service or sexual health clinic will be able to refer you for a free NHS abortion at a specialist abortion clinic. You may even be able to make an NHS appointment at an abortion clinic yourself by calling.
Abortion in England, Wales and Scotland is legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy under the terms of the 1967 Abortion Act agreed by the Government.
Under the Abortion Act 1967 two doctors must agree that you meet the requirements of the Act to have an abortion. Usually this would be your GP that you have visited and a doctor within the abortion clinic. This will all be dealt with as part of the consultation process at the abortion clinic and once it has been completed an appointment for an abortion will then be made for you. The NHS aim to make sure you have an abortion within three weeks from your initial appointment with your GP or family planning clinic. Some clinics will be able to see women on the NHS, the following day.
Your doctor doesn’t have to help you if they feel that abortion is wrong but if your doctor is unable to refer you for an abortion due to a moral or religious belief they must then refer you to another doctor who is willing to help you. Alternatively, your local family planning service or sexual health clinic will be able to refer you for abortion treatment. You may even be able to make an NHS appointment at an abortion clinic yourself without having to see your GP.
Doctor – Patient Confidentiality
Your doctor is bound by patient confidentiality so they cannot tell anyone about your medical history, including whether you have had an abortion. The abortion clinic is also bound by confidentiality and you can also ask them not to inform your GP if you have gone to them without your GP knowing.
Informing your Doctor
It is sometime possible for you get treatment on the NHS without your doctor ever knowing about it. This can be done by accessing NHS abortion services through your local family planning service or sexual health clinic. You may want your doctor to know about it once it has happened so your medical records can be updated but it is entirely up to you.
You can choose to have an abortion at any clinic, it doesn’t have to be the one closest to you. You may choose to go a little further away from home so that there would be less chance to meeting someone you know. You just need to ask at your initial appointment.
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