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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does the abortion hurt?

Every woman experiences the abortion differently. During the abortion procedure, you may feel some menstrual-like (period) cramping for about one or two minutes. Your nurse will give you medications through an intravenous in your arm to relax you and help you feel more comfortable. The doctor will give you a local anesthetic ("freezing"). You may also breathe nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") using a mask. Throughout the abortion, you will be awake and in control by letting us know what you are feeling.

Will this affect my ability to get pregnant in the future?

Your fertility will not be affected when you have a safe, legal and uncomplicated abortion performed by qualified health professionals. You will be tested for (sexually-transmitted) infections at the time of your abortion, and will get some preventative antibiotics. If your tests show that you have an infection, you will be contacted for further treatment. You will also be given instructions on how to care for yourself after your abortion. The abortion procedure will not prevent you from having children later on.

Will I bleed after my abortion?

There is a range of bleeding that can happen after an abortion. Some women don't bleed at all. Some women may bleed for 1 to 2 weeks afterwards, like their menstrual period flow. Some women can bleed or spot for several weeks after their abortion. For all women, their next regular menstrual period will come between 4 to 6 weeks after their abortion. You will be given instructions on what to expect after your abortion.

Can I wear a tampon after my abortion?

We recommend that you don't put anything into your vagina for two weeks after your abortion to help prevent infection. This means that you should use pads instead of tampons for any bleeding. You should also NOT have vaginal sex, baths (okay to shower!), swim in hot tubs or pools, douche or put anything foreign into your vagina. If you do any of these things, you will increase your chance of getting an infection.

Can I have sex after my abortion?

No. We recommend that you don't put anything into your vagina for two weeks after your abortion to help prevent infection. Also, you can get pregnant after your abortion if you are not using a birth control method. Our counsellors can talk to you about birth control choices that would work for you.


Will an abortion increase my risk for breast cancer?

Recent scientific studies using proper methodology show that there is absolutely NO increased risk of breast cancer associated with abortion. Previous studies that claimed increased breast cancer risk have been scientifically shown to be inaccurate and biased.

How long will my appointment be at the clinic?

You should expect to be at the clinic for 2 to 3 hours. The abortion procedure, itself, is very short but you will need time to see your counsellor and nurse, and then recover after your abortion. If you are scheduled for a two-day abortion procedure, you can expect to be at the clinic for 1-4 hours on each day.

Do I have to pay for my abortion?

If you are a BC resident and have valid Medical Service Plan (MSP) coverage (BC Care Card), your abortion will be completely covered by the plan.

If you are from another province and have not been in BC for three months, you will have to pay a fee. However, you can apply for reimbursement of some of that fee from your own provincial health plan.
If you are a visitor to BC, you can get an abortion at the clinic for the following fees:

If you under 12 weeks pregnant: $500
If you are over 12 weeks pregnant: $550

If you require assistance in applying for BC Medical Insurance, please contact us at 604-736-7878.

Do I have to make an appointment?

All women have to schedule an appointment for an abortion or counselling in advance by telephone. No drop-ins are accepted. There is usually a 1 to 2 week waiting time to book an appointment. Please call us at 604-736-7878 to book at appointment.

Do I need a referral from a doctor?

You do not need to get a referral or written note from a doctor to book an abortion at our clinic. However, if you do see a doctor beforehand or if a doctor or clinic refers you to our clinic, please give us their name when you book your appointment. While a home pregnancy test is acceptable, we strongly suggest that you get your pregnancy confirmed at a clinic or doctor's office.

Is my friend or partner allowed into the clinic with me?

You may bring one person, male or female, with you into the clinic. For the security and confidentiality of our patients and staff, you and your friend/partner must show photo ID at the clinic. Also, we need to know the name of the person who will be coming with you ahead of time. Please give us their name when you book your appointment. No children are permitted into the clinic. Only patients are admitted into the medical area of the clinic; any accompanying person can in the waiting area or drop you off and come back to pick you up.

Can I drive after my abortion?

No. Because you are having surgery and getting medications, you cannot operate a motor vehicle for 24 hours after your abortion. You must arrange for transportation to and from the clinic on the day of your abortion. We strongly advise you to have someone take you home after your abortion.

Are your doctors "real doctors"?

Yes. All of our doctors are certified physicians with the College of Physicians & Surgeons of BC. They are all fully trained in doing abortions and have many years of experience in this field.

Do you have picketers or anti-choice protestors?

Fortunately, we rarely see any protestors outside our building or on the street. Our clinic has a legal "Bubble Zone" in front of our building that prevents protestors from picketing on the sidewalk in front of our building and several feet down the street, on both sides of our building. Within this "Bubble Zone", it is illegal for any picketers to protest, take pictures, hand out anti-choice pamphlets, and verbally or physically try to stop or intimidate someone who is going to the clinic. If you see or experience any of these things, you should tell us immediately. We are located in a large building with many other services so it is impossible for anyone to know where you are going when you are entering the building.

Can the fetus feel "pain" during the abortion?

No. The central nervous system of the fetus is not developed sufficiently to "feel" pain during the stages of pregnancy that we perform abortions (up to 16 weeks). There are some studies that suggest that the fetus may be reacting to stimuli after 24 weeks pregnancy, but there is dispute over whether the fetus is actually able to feel pain, as we know it.

Should I do a pregnancy test after my abortion?

It is not necessary to have a pregnancy test after your abortion. In fact, it may take four or more weeks for your pregnancy hormones to disappear from your blood and urine after an abortion. We will advise you if you need further blood or ultrasound tests after your procedure. You may choose to have a follow-up examination 2 weeks after your abortion to make sure that you are returning to normal.

Will I feel sad after my abortion?

Sadness is not unusual in the weeks following an abortion. Understanding that these feelings are normal and talking about them will help you. We offer post-abortion counselling to women who feel that they need it. We can also give you a referral for counselling or you can speak to your doctor if you wish. The rate of psychiatric illness after an abortion is LOWER than after childbirth.

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