How can I tell if an abortion will be safe

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It is not always easy to tell if an abortion will be safe. Try to go to the place where the abortion will be done, or ask someone who has been there these questions:

  • Have you heard of women getting sick or dying from having an abortion here? If so, go somewhere else.
  • Who will do the abortion and how were they trained? Doctors, nurses, health workers, and traditional birth attendants can all do abortions. However, abortions done by someone who is not trained in safe abortion methods and how to prevent infection can be very dangerous.
  • Is the room where the abortion will be done clean and neat? If it is dirty and messy, probably the abortion will be also.
  • Is there a place for washing hands? A health worker who has no place to wash his or her hands cannot do a clean, safe abortion.
  • Do the instruments look like something found or made at home? Instruments made at home can cause injury and infection.
  • How are the instruments cleaned and made free of germs? Instruments should be soaked in strong disinfectant or boiled in water to kill germs that cause infection.
  • Does the cost seem fair? If the cost is very high, sometimes it means the health worker cares only about money, not your health.
  • Are other healthcare services also provided along with abortions? A good health center will also try to provide other services that women need, like family planning, treatment for STIs, and HIV prevention.
  • Where will you be taken if something goes wrong during or after the abortion? There should always be a plan to get you to a hospital in case of emergency.

IMPORTANT: An abortion is more dangerous if:

  • your last monthly bleeding was more than 3 months ago.
  • your pregnancy is starting to show.

The longer you have been pregnant, the greater the chance of complications after abortion. For your safety, an abortion after more than 3 months of pregnancy must be done with special equipment in a clinic or hospital.

  • Burns, A. A., Niemann, S., Lovich, R., Maxwell, J., & Shapiro, K. (2014). Where women have no doctor: A health guide for women. Hesperian Foundation.
  • Audiopedia ID: en020209