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If you're absolutely sure you want an abortion and are trying to find a legitimate abortion clinic, it can be confusing to locate an abortion clinic that actually offers abortion services. Many that advertise themselves as abortion centers are actually run by anti-abortion organizations.
Look for "Abortion Services" or "Abortion Referrals"
Whether you're looking through a phone book or searching the internet, you may find that anti-choice centers (many with "warm and fuzzy" names) are often listed alongside abortion clinics and legitimate women's health clinics that support reproductive choice. This can make choosing an abortion clinic more confusing, but don't be fooled by them. The goal of these centers is to reverse, block, interfere with, or delay your decision to terminate your pregnancy until it's too late to obtain an abortion.
A reputable abortion clinic will either provide abortion services on-site or will refer you to an abortion provider. It will clearly state that it offers "abortion services" or "abortion referrals" in its advertising or on its website. Any clinic or center that states that it "does not provide abortion referrals" will not help you obtain an abortion, regardless of your circumstances.
Getting accurate facts online about abortion methods and procedures is also tricky. If you search the phrase "I need an abortion" the results will include websites that claim they provide unbiased medical information on abortion but are created to scare you and convince you not to terminate your pregnancy.
"Abortion" in the Title Isn't Always Pro-Choice
Even websites with "abortion" in the title aren't necessarily abortion providers or even pro-choice. As Fox News reports:
"On the Internet… anti-abortion groups buy up Web addresses similar to those of abortion providers or abortion-rights groups, then use them to lead to Web pages with anti-abortion materials."
"Our idea is to change the hearts and and minds of people about abortion," said Ann Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League.
These websites mask an underlying pro-life agenda, but they're easy to spot. They will immediately emphasize the risks of abortion, as well as the regret and fear they say many women suffer from afterward. They often include graphic depictions of abortion that play to your emotions; ignore accepted medical facts and cite other unverified claims as truth (such as the unproven link between breast cancer and abortion); inflate the level of post-abortion complications involved; and suggest possible outcomes (such as damage to internal organs, sepsis, scarring and even death) that rarely occur in developed countries where abortions are performed by trained health care professionals with sterile medical instruments.
"Pregnancy" in the Title Usually Means Pro-Life
Clinics that support reproductive choice will either offer abortion services or provide a referral to an abortion provider.
Clinics that oppose reproductive choice will not refer you to an abortion provider. Many of these anti-choice clinics call themselves "pregnancy centers," "pregnancy resource centers," or "abortion counseling centers." Names like "new life" or "new hope" indicate a health center whose sole goal is to maintain pregnancy, not terminate it. They promote adoption over abortion. Yet it's significant to note that very few unmarried women who complete their pregnancies ultimately give the baby up for adoption; according to the National Center for Health Statistics, less than 1% did so between 1989-1995.
In short, pregnancy or new life centers will not help you obtain an abortion or give you a referral to an abortion provider. Visiting them will only waste valuable time if you're determined to have an abortion.
Adult or Minor - Laws Regarding Reproductive Choice
It may seem that getting an abortion is very difficult. And it can be, depending on where you live. It's estimated that 85% of counties within the U.S. are not served by an abortion provider.
Although abortion has been legal in the United States for over three decades, the laws regarding abortion vary from state to state depending on your age:
- If you are an adult (18 and older), reproductive choice is your right.
- If you are a teenager, depending on your age and the abortion laws in your state, you may or may not need parental consent.
You should know what the laws are in your state to make an informed choice.
Factors in Choosing an Abortion Provider
When choosing an abortion clinic or abortion provider, it is also essential that you understand the differences between the two types of abortion -- medical and surgical -- before you make your decision.
What type you choose will depend on the availability of services, how many appointments are required for the abortion itself and any follow-up exams you may need, and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Not all abortion services are available at all clinics, and you'll need to leave ample time to make arrangements for travel to and from the clinic, recovery at home, and payment for the services.
Armed with this information on how to find an abortion clinic, you can locate abortion clinics in your area and make contact online, over the phone, or in person.