HEALTH

SAFETY 

checklist

Am I pregnant?

Pregnancy tests are not always accurate. Get your pregnancy confirmed by a medical professional. An ultrasound can tell if the baby has a heartbeat and how far along you are.

Do I understand the potential risk?

Every medical procedure, including abortion, carries the risk of complications. You have the legal right to give fully informed consent.

You also have the right to:
1. Get an explanation of the abortion procedures available

2. Assess their risks and side effects

3. Learn about other options for your pregnancy

Have I considered alternatives to abortion?

Abortion may seem like the best fit for your current circumstances, but learning about other options you have is a good idea. Some women who initially consider abortion are ultimately delighted to be parenting a child. Others who are not comfortable choosing abortion, but are not ready to raise a child, make an adoption plan.

Do I know what to do if I change my mind?

Abortion is your choice – you can change your mind at any time before the procedure starts. Women have gotten off the exam table and left. Some have changed their minds after taking the first set of pills for medical abortion. This is a decision that you will live with the rest of your life. Don’t allow anyone to pressure you.

Do I know how the clinic handles complications during the procedure?

Ask if the abortion doctor has admitting privileges to a hospital nearby should you have an emergency. Make sure the clinic has a plan to provide any follow-up or emergency care, should complications arise during or after the procedure.

Have I gotten information about the abortion provider?

When you call to schedule your abortion, ask for the name of the doctor in charge. Find out if the doctor is licensed and board-certified. Also, find out if there are malpractice cases or disciplinary actions against the doctor.

When you call to schedule your abortion, ask for the name of the doctor in charge. Find out if the doctor is licensed and board-certified. Also, find out if there are malpractice cases or disciplinary actions against the doctor. 

Do not trust the doctor’s office to know or be forthcoming about any malpractice or disciplinary actions taken.

Here is how you can do some research.

Discipline and Administrative actions against a doctor are considered public record. Here is where you can search the doctor’s name in the state of Florida


Ask: will I feel pain?

People have different levels of tolerance for physical pain. One survey of women who had local anesthesia revealed that about half experienced “moderate to severe pain” and the other half, “none to mild pain.” Pain relief options available during the abortion usually include local anesthesia, sedation, and sometimes, general anesthesia. 

Ask: What feelings can I expect after the abortion?

Many women experience initial relief, but months and even years later, some struggle with their decision. If this is you, visit PDL-Help.org to find a pregnancy center near you were trained and compassionate people are ready to help.

Do I know my rights as a minor?

No one can legally force you to have an abortion, including your parents. (155) The decision you make must be free, voluntary, independent, and non-coerced. (156) If you are being pressured to get an abortion you don’t want, contact the police and your local pregnancy center for help, or call toll-free: 210-614-7157

Have I been Tested?

Have I been tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Any surgical procedure can be complicated by infection. You may be carrying an STI and not know it because they often do not have symptoms. These infections can cause damage to your pelvic organs and lead to problems such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy. 

References available at

BeforeYouDecide.info

Am I pregnant?

Pregnancy tests are not always accurate. Get your pregnancy confirmed by a medical professional. An ultrasound can tell if the baby has a heartbeat and how far along you are.

Do I understand the potential risk?

Every medical procedure, including abortion, carries the risk of complications. You have the legal right to give fully informed consent.

You also have the right to:
1. Get an explanation of the abortion procedures available

2. Assess their risks and side effects

3. Learn about other options for your pregnancy

Have I considered alternatives to abortion?

Abortion may seem like the best fit for your current circumstances, but learning about other options you have is a good idea. Some women who initially consider abortion are ultimately delighted to be parenting a child. Others who are not comfortable choosing abortion, but are not ready to raise a child, make an adoption plan.

Do I know what to do if I change my mind?

Abortion is your choice – you can change your mind at any time before the procedure starts. Women have gotten off the exam table and left. Some have changed their minds after taking the first set of pills for medical abortion. This is a decision that you will live with the rest of your life. Don’t allow anyone to pressure you.

Do I know how the clinic handles complications during the procedure?

Ask if the abortion doctor has admitting privileges to a hospital nearby should you have an emergency. Make sure the clinic has a plan to provide any follow-up or emergency care, should complications arise during or after the procedure.

Have I gotten information about the abortion provider?

When you call to schedule your abortion, ask for the name of the doctor in charge. Find out if the doctor is licensed and board-certified. Also, find out if there are malpractice cases or disciplinary actions against the doctor.

When you call to schedule your abortion, ask for the name of the doctor in charge. Find out if the doctor is licensed and board-certified. Also, find out if there are malpractice cases or disciplinary actions against the doctor. 

Do not trust the doctor’s office to know or be forthcoming about any malpractice or disciplinary actions taken.

Here is how you can do some research.

Discipline and Administrative actions against a doctor are considered public record. Here is where you can search the doctor’s name in the state of Florida


Ask: will I feel pain?

People have different levels of tolerance for physical pain. One survey of women who had local anesthesia revealed that about half experienced “moderate to severe pain” and the other half, “none to mild pain.” Pain relief options available during the abortion usually include local anesthesia, sedation, and sometimes, general anesthesia. 

Ask: What feelings can I expect after the abortion?

Many women experience initial relief, but months and even years later, some struggle with their decision. If this is you, visit PDL-Help.org to find a pregnancy center near you were trained and compassionate people are ready to help.

Do I know my rights as a minor?

No one can legally force you to have an abortion, including your parents. (155) The decision you make must be free, voluntary, independent, and non-coerced. (156) If you are being pressured to get an abortion you don’t want, contact the police and your local pregnancy center for help, or call toll-free: 210-614-7157

Have I been Tested?

Have I been tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Any surgical procedure can be complicated by infection. You may be carrying an STI and not know it because they often do not have symptoms. These infections can cause damage to your pelvic organs and lead to problems such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy. 

References available at

BeforeYouDecide.info

References

1. Pedersen, W. (2007). Childbirth, abortion and subsequent substance use in young women: a population-based longitudinal study. Addiction, 102 (12), 1971-78.

2. Coleman, P.K. (2005) Induced abortion and increased risk of substance abuse: a review of the evidence. Current Women’s Health Reviews, 1 (21), 21-24.

 3. Curley, M., Johnson, C. (2013). The characteristics and severity of psychological distress after abortion among university students. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, dol: 10.107/s11414-013-9328-0.

    Coleman, P.K. (2010). Late-term elective abortion and susceptibility to posttraumatic stress symptoms. Journal of Pregnancy, Retrieved on July, 20 2014 from http://dx.doi.org/10.115/2010/130519

    Sulliman S, Ericksen T, Labuschgne T, de Wit R, Stein D, Seedat S. (2007). Comparison of pain, cortisol levels and psychological distress in women undergoing surgical termination of pregnancy under local anesthesia versus intravenous sedation. BMC Psychiatry, 7:24 doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-7-24.

4. Gissler, M., et al. (2005). Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000. European Journal of Public Health, 15,459-463.

5. Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, J., Ridder, E.M. (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. Journal of Child Pyschology and Psychiatry,47, 16-24. 

6. Franke, L. Bird, The Ambivalence of Abortion (New York: Random House Inc., 1978) p. 63. See also Reardon, Aborted Women, 45.

7. Strahan, T., “Portraits of Post-Abortive Fathers Devastated by the Abortion Experience,” Assoc. for Interdisciplinary Research in Values and Social Change, Nov./Dec. 1994.