If you’re wondering if you can get an abortion without a parent, the answer is maybe. Every state has different regulations related to abortion procedures for women under 18. Some states don’t require parents’ permission, but others have strict requirements that a parent must be notified and give permission. You will also find everything in between.
However, if you’ve decided to end the pregnancy, the first step you need to take is to contact a medical professional or clinic like Planned Parenthood. They can provide counseling, answer questions, and inform you of your options. They can also let you know what the regulations are where you live.
If parental notification and consent are required, you may be able to get a “judicial bypass.” This gives you legal permission to proceed with an abortion without your parents knowing.
There are different regulations on when an abortion can be performed (depending on how far along you are).
The laws pertaining to abortion pills are the same as those for a medical procedure to end a pregnancy. They vary from state to state (and country to country) and may or may not require permission or notification.
The abortion pill, also referred to as a “Plan C” pill, should not be confused with the Plan B or morning-after pills that are available without a prescription. The Plan C pill requires that you schedule a medical visit for evaluation and treatment. It can only be administered by a licensed healthcare provider.
Procedure day: get ready
There are basically two different types of procedures that may be available for you to end a pregnancy: a medical abortion or a surgical abortion. The procedures are different, but the recovery and follow-up will be similar.
Medical abortion — On the day of your visit, there is no special preparation necessary. When you arrive at the office, you will be asked to sign some paperwork. The professionals at the clinic will review the procedure, process, and possible complications with you. You will be given a dose of one medication in the office before you leave and instructed to take another dose of a different medication within 48 hours.
These pills will cause cramping and bleeding. The bleeding is typically heavier than a normal period and may be similar to what a woman experiences with a miscarriage. You will have a follow-up appointment scheduled that will be similar to an annual gynecological exam. At this time, the medical practitioner can discuss birth control options with you in order to prevent future unwanted pregnancies.
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Surgical abortion — Because this is a surgical procedure, you will have more visits and tests performed before and after the actual procedure. You will be given a date and time to arrive at the hospital or clinic. You will be advised to fast (no food or drink) for a period of time before your arrival time.
This usually means no food or water after midnight or for at least 12 hours before your appointment. You will sign consent forms and be prepped for surgery. Once you are taken in for your procedure, a doctor will administer anesthesia. This can include local (numbed at the site), conscious sedation (awake but sleepy), or general (completely asleep).
Once the procedure is complete, you will be required to stay for a period of time so that the medical staff can evaluate you. If you have had conscious sedation or general anesthesia, you will need a driver with you. They will need to take you home and make sure that you are safe before leaving you alone.
You will experience stomach cramps and vaginal bleeding, which can last for a few days. You may also experience nausea and vomiting related to the anesthesia. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary and should use sanitary pads instead of tampons. You will also have a follow-up appointment as described above.
The risks and complications related to abortion are directly related to the procedure performed, the number of weeks of gestation, and the length of follow-up care. Most women who have had abortions have few or no complications. However, the later in the pregnancy that an abortion occurs, the greater the risk of complications.
These complications can include:
- incomplete abortion (requires additional treatment)
- damage to the uterus
- damage to the cervix
- unsuccessful abortion (pregnancy continues)
- excess bleeding
Effects of abortion without parents knowing
You may feel that your best option is to keep your parents from knowing about the pregnancy and abortion. This is a difficult and emotional event, and you shouldn’t need to go through it alone. If you’ve chosen to end a pregnancy without telling your parents, make sure there’s someone else you can confide in. This should be someone you trust to help you through the decision process, procedure, and recovery.
You may experience a range of emotions after an abortion. If you need to discuss how you’re feeling, contact the office where the abortion services were performed or ask your primary care provider about post-abortion counseling.