Abortion/Termination: Concerns & Uncertainties
Just seeing these words “Abortion/Termination” may already seem heavily ‘loaded’ to you. You may have strong feelings about the term ‘abortion’. You may be experiencing very mixed emotions whilst reading this. Abortion/Termination – whichever word suits you better – is ultimately a very personal decision. Certainly, it is a ‘life’ decision. You are deciding to end a life or to grow a life. You are deciding something that is likely to stay with you for all of your life. You are deciding on YOUR life. For these reasons (and many more), this is a very contentious issue in our society and one which is not easily spoken about without strong feelings emerging. This article will therefore focus on the key issues (facts and feelings) that are associated with Abortion/Termination. It is aimed at women who are facing this decision or who have already undergone this ‘procedure’. It is written with the intention of throwing light on the issue and to provide some clarity for you. It is not going to give you any answer as to whether this is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ as nobody can decide this for you – only you can. This, therefore is a major source of the stress and pressure surrounding this decision – that ultimately you are responsible for making this big decision.
Abortion or Termination – what is the difference?
The only difference is your feelings about this. What comes to mind for you when you hear the word ‘abortion’? Some people find it a very harsh and cruel word as they think it has implications of murder or an uncaring disregard. Some people view it simply as a ‘clinical procedure’ and therefore abortion is abortion and it cannot be a term that is ‘sugar-coated’ to make it more palatable or ‘acceptable’.
This may be the view of someone who hasn’t had to make the decision and therefore they don’t have any personal feelings associated with it. Or it may be the view of someone who has had a termination/abortion and want to refer to it in simple clinical terms as this what feels more appropriate/comfortable for them.
On the other hand, some people prefer the word ‘termination’ as it has kinder implications or perhaps sounds less severe. Maybe it is easier to say “I had a termination” than “I had an abortion”? What comes to mind for you?
Either way, abortion/termination – it is the same thing –there is not any difference.
So what is an Abortion? What is involved?
According to Wikipedia, an “abortion is the removal or expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death”.
This also signifies that the decision to abort/terminate is not always a willful decision on the part of the female – that sometimes it is due to medical reasons or genetic malfunctions. In these instances, an abortion/termination can have very different emotional and physiological implications for the woman (and indeed her partner), as in such instances the baby is usually wanted and planned for. When this is not the case, the emotions and physical affects are not necessarily less traumatic, but because it is a planned action, the woman (or couple in some cases) will have different thoughts and feelings attached to the decision, because ultimately, they were making the decision for very different reasons.
Abortion/Termination is legal in England, Wales and Scotland up to 24 weeks gestation. There are several types of procedures available depending on the stage of pregnancy and your personal preferences:
- Medical Abortion (An abortion pill taken internally - two pills issued to the patient and taken internally within 2 to 3 days of each other. This induces bleeding and expulsion of the fetus). Usually requires 2/3 visits to the clinic during and after and is available in the early stages of pregancy – up to 9 weeks.
- SuctionVacuum (this is a surgical procedure where the patient is given an anaesthetic and the embryo/fetus is removed via a vacuum which is a very small pin-like suction tube. Patient is released the same day within a few hours. Usually a painless procedure but generally some period-like pains and bleeding can be expected afterwards. This procedure can be carried out up to 13 weeks of the pregancy.
- Other procedures are available for women in later stages of their pregancy though this would need to be discussed with their doctor.
Where can I have an Abortion/Termination?
Today there are many sources of advice and information available about the surgical procedure, time period and clinics where it can be safely and legally carried out. In the first instance, your GP can offer you advice on this, or you can search the internet for a list of clinics.
Will it damage me physically?
There are many controversies surrounding this, however, according to the majority of research statistics, the chances of any physical damage to the patient are very minimal, due to the modern and sophisticated technology that is now available. There are however always some risks associated with any ‘physical procedures’. Further information about this can be found on the internet or via your GP.
What if I regret having an abortion?
There may be a sense of guilt and sadness afterwards but this is certainly understandable as it is very difficult to make such a big decision without have some doubts afterwards. Even if you don’t regret the decision, you may still have a complex mix of emotions running through your mind about it. Unfortunately, the procedure cannot be undone however, most clinics will offer some form of ‘aftercare’ or post-abortion counselling. There are also many counselling services and other agencies available to offer support to anyone who is struggling with their feelings in this regard.
Last but not least… when it comes to abortion/termination, the focus is primarily on women, and the males are forgotten or not considered. Many men suffer just as much as their female partners who have undergone this procedure and may equally feel the need for help and support.
Related articles from our experts
- Miscarriage: The ‘invisible grief’
Kathryn Cutting Adv.Dip.Couns. MBPS MBACP HPCreg.21st June, 2011
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