Teenage Abortion

Finding out you are pregnant when you least expect it can be daunting for most women but when you are a teenager it can be even more frightening.  You may feel ashamed or embarrassed or perhaps even scared to tell your parents.  You might not know what to expect or how people will react.

Perhaps your boyfriend is not interested in talking about it and you may feel very alone.  It is a big shock and your friends may be scared too or just relieved it hasn’t happened to them.  They may not be able to offer you the support you need as they just don’t know how to deal with it themselves.

Do I have to tell my parents?

You don’t have to tell anyone about you having an abortion, even your parents, if you don’t want to.  Though if you feel you can’t talk to your parents you should try to find another adult you can trust.  It could be an older brother or sister, or another family member or a youth worker for example.  They will be able to offer you the support you need and just be there for you when you need them most.

Do I have to tell my boyfriend?

You might want to tell your boyfriend that you are pregnant but for many teenage boys the news may be too much to take in.  Its up to you whether you tell the father or involve him in your choice. He doesn’t have any legal rights over what you decide to do so try not to let them pressurise you into making a rushed decision.  It is important that you are sure the decision is right for you and no-one else.

What should I do next?

You’ve found out your pregnant so what is your next step?  You should visit your GP, local family planning clinic of sexual health clinic.  They can assess your circumstances and refer you to a specialist abortion clinic where you can get access to professional counselling.  They can also offer to test you for STIs and talk over your contraceptive options. 

You may even be able to make an NHS appointment at an abortion clinic yourself without needing to see your GP. Alternatively, you can contact a clinic directly and refer yourself for private treatment that you would pay for.

Do I have to go to a clinic with someone?

You can choose to go through the whole process alone but you will find that any organisation you see initially will recommend you have someone with you for support.  It can be a very emotional time and it can help to have someone you trust with you.

I am under 16 – does this make a difference?

Even if you are under 16, if your GP, Family Planning Clinic or Sexual Health Clinic feel that you are able to make competent decisions about your health, you will not be asked to bring another adult with you.  All your medical records remain confidential no matter what age you are so you don’t need to worry about anyone finding out.  Your GP will suggest you tell your parents as they will be able to offer you the support you need when you are at home after the treatment but you cannot be forced to tell them.

If you are under 16 some clinics will require you to have an adult to escort you home after your treatment. You can discuss this with them at your consultation.

Doctors, nurses and other health workers are not allowed to give out information about you without your consent unless they think that you are in danger. In these exceptional cases they would try to discuss it with you first.

Will an abortion affect my chances of having a family in the future?

Having an abortion should not affect your chances of having a baby in the future. Abortion procedures are very simple and safe. Complications are rare. However all procedures do have risks. Surgical abortion requires a simple operation and one of the most common risks is infection. If you follow the instructions given to you by the clinic you reduce the chances of complications considerably.

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