Men who accompany women for an abortion or who just want to be helpful usually do not know where to turn to get clear, unbiased information. In order to help to provide some of this information, we have divided questions that are frequently asked at abortion clinics into three categories: the factual, the emotional and the spiritual.
FACTUAL Frequently asked Questions
1. How can I find a quality provider?
You are very smart to know that not all abortion providers are alike, just as in any field. The first thing you might want to do is to get a referral from someone you trust, such as your doctor or family planning clinic. Next, be certain that the provider is a member of one of the national organizations, such as the National Coalition of Abortion Providers (www.ncap.com) or the National Abortion Federation (www.prochoice.org). A yellow page ad is not a guarantee of quality service! Try to get the name of the physician before your appointment so that you can do a web check. Is the doctor board-certified in ob-gyn? Lastly, call the clinic. Are their fees suspiciously lower than the others? How does the staff sound? Are they knowledgeable, friendly, willing to take their time with you? Do they offer counseling afterwards should you or your partner want to come in to talk? Is there a fee for this counseling?
2. How does she decide which type of abortion to choose?
Women have their choice of type of abortion only before nine weeks. They can choose either the abortion pill or the vacuum type of procedure. After nine weeks, the type of procedure is determined by the doctor for optimal safety. A good source of information is www.pregnancyoptions.info. Individual websites from the clinic themselves can provide you with more information about their offerings.
3. Can I be with my partner during the procedure?
Being with your partner during counseling, the procedure, or recovery is an option that only some clinics offer. If this is important to you, be sure to call and ask before making your appointment. Keep in mind, though, that your partner has the final word on whether you can be present.
4. Will she be in a lot of pain during the abortion itself?
Most women do have cramps during the procedure, and sometimes they can get bad, but most abortions take only five minutes and the cramps do begin to go away shortly afterwards. Many clinics offer a variety of pain control, from just a local anesthetic that would numb the cervix alone, to IV sedation in which she is in a twilight sleep, to full general anesthesia. Each method of pain control has advantages and disadvantages. Ask your provider which methods of pain control they offer.
5. Afterwards, how will I know if she is OK or not?
A quality provider will send each patient home with a list of instructions as well as how to get in touch with them should you have any questions or concerns. Choosing a clinic with 24/7 answering service will do a lot to ease your mind. You can expect that she will actually feel quite well physically, but she may have cramps that are easily treated by ibuprofen.
6. How do we know what method of birth control is best?
A good provider will send each patient home with a starter pack of some type of birth control. Before you make the appointment, be sure to ask if both birth control counseling and supplies are available on the procedure day at no extra charge.
7. When can we resume having sex?
Most clinics tell patients to refrain from sex for two weeks. Also, using condoms may be necessary until the chosen method of birth control is fully functioning, which could mean a bit more than two weeks.
8. How can I be of most help afterwards?
The first thing you can do to be helpful is to read the instruction sheet carefully as soon as you get home. Also, you can help by being sure she has ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin, sanitary pads, and condoms at home. Extras include a ThermaCare heat patch, DVD’s, and warm fluids. She will feel reassured to know that you care.