Abortion Care

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Your Body, Your Choice

Let’s be real—abortion isn’t always an easy subject to talk about. At HealthQ, we’re changing that. When it comes to your body and your life, you should have all the answers, information, and support you need to make an informed choice. No matter your situation, your beliefs, your health, or any other variable, we’re here to help you through whatever decisions you make.

If you’re in the Massachusetts area and considering abortion, Lawrence, Haverhill, and Beverly have a safe location to get the help you need.

Abortion on your own terms

If you’re considering abortion, there are a few different options you should know about. The first is In-Clinic Abortion, which you may have during the first 14 weeks of your pregnancy. The second is Medication Abortion, also called the Abortion Pill, which you may have during the first 11 weeks of your pregnancy. HealthQ offers both of these safe and effective methods, and we’re happy to help you determine the best option for you.

Some people prefer the convenience of an in-clinic abortion because the procedure is over by the time they leave our medical office. Others prefer a medication abortion because the abortion experience takes place in the privacy of their own home, supported by a friend or family member.

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Enter the first day of your last period to see your options

Enter the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) to see whether your options include medication or in-clinic abortion or both. If you are more than 14 weeks pregnant, we encourage you to call the National Abortion Federation Hotline Fund for a referral for abortion at (800) 772-9100. Please note that this calculator is for informational use only. The best way to accurately date your pregnancy is by seeing a trained medical provider.

IS ABORTION SAFE?

Yes, abortion is safe. Outdated myths and inaccurate media portrayals will have you think otherwise. But the facts, which come from the National Institute for Health, show that abortion is actually safer than childbirth in the United States.

HealthQ is a registered abortion provider in Massachusetts and fully licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. We participate in quality assurance site visits and adhere to evidence-based clinical standards developed by the National Abortion Federation, which sets the requirements for abortion care in the U.S. and Canada. Our trained providers will take the time to review all risks and possible complications during your visit.

WILL IT BE PAINFUL?

Abortions can be accompanied by pain, but we offer suggestions and solutions to help manage and reduce it. Nitrous oxide is a safe and non-addictive method of providing relaxation and pain reduction. If you choose to use it during your abortion, you’ll be able to hold up a mouthpiece and breathe in the gas as desired, supervised by a trained staff member. The effects wear off within 1-3 minutes of breathing regular air so you will be fine to drive yourself home. We believe that cost shouldn’t be a barrier to pain management, so there is no additional fee should you choose this service.

We recommend that you take 800mg of Ibuprofen before your appointment to help with cramping during or after your procedure. Please do not take aspirin.

DOES MY INSURANCE COVER ABORTION?

MassHealth and most insurance plans cover abortion, but not all. Please provide your insurance information while scheduling so we can help you verify coverage. You can also check directly by calling the member services 1-800 number on the back of your health insurance card. To verify coverage, ask the following questions:

Do I have coverage for voluntary termination of pregnancy (a.k.a. abortion)?

  1. Is there a deductible to pay for this procedure?
  2. Do I need a referral from my primary care provider (PCP) for this procedure?
  3. Is there a copay for this procedure?

The representative may ask you where the procedure will be performed (a clinic, office, hospital, or surgical facility). Be sure to tell them that it will be performed in an “office.”

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ABORTION PILL AND THE MORNING-AFTER PILL?

Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, is an emergency contraception method, which may prevent pregnancy, but it will not terminate an established pregnancy. Emergency contraception can reduce the risk of pregnancy for up to five days after unprotected sex. The sooner you take it, the more effective it will be.

How Does the Abortion Pill Work?

If you choose to terminate your pregnancy using medication abortion (aka the abortion pill), your abortion will happen at home over the course of a few days. You’ll take the first abortion pill (mifepristone) at our health center or at home, at a time that works best for you. You will likely feel fine after taking the first pill, or at most have some nausea. 12-48 hours later, you’ll insert 4-8 misoprostol pills.

1-4 hours after you insert the misoprostol, you’ll have a period of cramping and bleeding. After that point, your abortion is complete and you’ll call or return to our medical office 7-14 days later for confirmation. We will make sure that you are healthy, have all your questions answered, and that you have the birth control method of your choice.

What Happens During an In-clinic Abortion?

If you choose this type of abortion, Beverly, Haverhill, and Lawrence have HealthQ medical offices where the procedure will take place. The actual procedure performed by a physician takes 5 to 10 minutes, but you should plan to spend up to 2-3 hours at the medical office. During the procedure, your provider inserts a flexible, plastic cannula (thin tube) inside the uterus, and uses gentle suction to remove the pregnancy.

Your provider will offer you nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help you relax. This wears off immediately after the procedure, and you will be able to drive yourself home. Nitrous oxide does not put you to sleep. If you like, you can also choose to have an IUD inserted or another method of birth control started during your visit.

patient seeking abortion in Haverhill

Minors and Parental Consent—The Lowdown

By Massachusetts law, people under 18 who have never married must obtain consent from a parent or guardian to receive an abortion. That said, if you’re a minor and find yourself in circumstances where you can’t or don’t feel it’s right to involve a parent or guardian in your decision, it doesn’t mean you can’t get an abortion. Get in touch with us and we can help walk you through the process of petitioning a judge of the Superior Court for what’s called a judicial bypass. The important thing to remember is no matter how old you are or who else is in your life, choosing to have an abortion is up to you and you only. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us for guidance.

PREGNANCY TESTING AND DATING WITH ULTRASOUND

We offer a simple, fast, and effective urine pregnancy test with results in as little as five minutes. If you’d like to know how far along you are, we can do a dating ultrasound to confirm how many weeks pregnant you are and your expected due date. Depending on the approximate duration of your pregnancy, we will recommend an abdominal or vaginal ultrasound. Both take 5-10 minutes and you will feel minimal discomfort, if any. If you’re not sure how you feel or what to do next, please call us for open-minded and judgment-free counseling on all your options.

What are My Abortion Options?

Abortion Pill Vs. The In-Clinic Abortion Procedure

Abortion Pill

You won’t have shots, anesthesia, or instruments in your body. It may feel more natural, like a miscarriage. Being at home instead of in a health center may feel more private. You can choose to have someone with you, or you can be alone.

Abortion Procedure

It is over in a few minutes. It works 99% of the time. You see less bleeding than you would with a medication abortion. Medical staff members are with you during the abortion. It can be done later in the pregnancy than a
medication abortion.

Abortion Pill

It takes 1-2 days to complete the abortion. Bleeding can be very heavy and may last longer than with an in-clinic abortion procedure. Cramps can be severe and may last longer than with an in-clinic abortion procedure. It cannot be done as late in pregnancy as an in-clinic abortion procedure. It cannot end a tubal or ectopic pregnancy.

Abortion Procedure

You have less control over the abortion procedure. You are not able to choose who is with you. Cramps can be severe. It cannot end a tubal or ectopic pregnancy.

Abortion Pill

You may have mild to very strong cramps off and on during the abortion. Over-the-counter pain relievers help.

Abortion Procedure

You are likely to have mild to very strong cramps during the abortion procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers, nitrous oxide will help. Our clinic team will comfort and support you during the procedure.

Abortion Pill

Up to 11 weeks from the first day of your last period.

Abortion Procedure

Up to 14 weeks (98 days) from the first day of your last period.

Abortion Pill

Expect heavy bleeding with clots during the abortion process. After that, lighter bleeding may continue off and on for a few weeks.

Abortion Procedure

You may have light bleeding for 1-7 days. Bleeding may continue off and on for a few weeks.

Abortion Pill

For both types of abortion, the cost is $650.

Abortion Procedure

For both types of abortion, the cost is $650.

Abortion Pill

The pills work 98-99% of the time. If the pills fail, you may try the pills again or have an in-clinic abortion procedure.

Abortion Procedure

It works 99% of the time. If it fails, you must have a repeat in-clinic abortion procedure.

Abortion Pill

Yes. Neither type of abortion lowers your chances of getting pregnant or staying pregnant in the future.

Abortion Procedure

Yes. Neither type of abortion lowers your chances of getting pregnant or staying pregnant in the future.

Abortion Pill

Both pills are safe. Big problems are rare. Abortion is at least 10 times safer than continuing a pregnancy.

Abortion Procedure

The in-clinic abortion procedure is safe. Abortion in the first 14 weeks leads to very few problems. Abortion is at least 10 times safer than continuing a pregnancy.

Where Can I Get an Abortion If I’m Too Far Along to Have One at HealthQ?

HealthQ provides services for abortion in Lawrence, Haverhill, and Beverly for up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, however, abortion is available in Massachusetts for up to almost 24 weeks and is available past that in a few other states. To find a high-quality abortion provider who performs abortions past 14 weeks, and for any financial, logistical, and emotional support, call the National Abortion Federation referral line at (877)257-0012.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER AN IN-CLINIC ABORTION?

Pad/Tampon Use
Pads should be used for the first few days after your procedure. The rate of bleeding can be observed more easily when pads are used. Tampons can be used once the bleeding has slowed down and you are only spotting.

Your Period
Your first period after the procedure should occur in 4-6 weeks. If you feel you may be pregnant or your period does not come after 6 weeks, call the center. If you are using hormonal contraception (pills, patch, ring, Depo-Provera, or Nexplanon), your first period can vary depending on the method. Be sure to discuss what to expect with your provider.

Sex
You should not have sexual intercourse until you feel ready. This may mean a few days for some women or several weeks for others. This is up to you. You are capable of getting pregnant as soon as 7 days after your abortion, so you should use the birth control method that you discussed with the provider if you do not wish to get pregnant again.

Activity
You may resume normal activity immediately. Sometimes, with strenuous activity (like heavy lifting and physical exertion), your bleeding may increase. This doesn’t happen for everyone. If you notice your bleeding increase with strenuous activity, then avoid these activities for two days.

Bathing
You may bathe in a shower or tub at any time. However, do not douche.

Sore Breasts
If your breasts were sore before the abortion, the soreness will usually go away within a week. To feel more comfortable, limit any stimulation to the breast until the soreness goes away and wear a tight-fitting bra or sports bra. Women who have abortions later in pregnancy (after 16 weeks) will sometimes get breast milk after abortion.

Q: DOES HAVING AN ABORTION IMPACT LATER PREGNANCIES?

There are no indications that abortion affects a person’s ability to become pregnant later on. Our providers will review all risks and possible complications during your visit.

Q: HOW MUCH DOES AN ABORTION COST? CAN I USE INSURANCE?

The discounted fee for self-pay clients is $650 for both in-clinic and medication abortion. There are no hidden fees. We charge the same for both types so that your choice is based on preference, not cost.

We recommend contacting your insurance company to check your coverage for abortion, copay, deductible, and whether you need a referral from your primary care provider. Most HMO type insurance plans require you to have a referral. You are responsible for obtaining a referral from your primary care provider before your visit, however, please feel free to ask our staff should you need help checking your insurance benefits and/or obtaining a referral.

Insurance copays are set by your insurance company and range from $20-$130, depending on your plan.

If you are uninsured, we may be able to help you enroll in MassHealth or connect you with an organization that will help cover some or all of the cost of your abortion. If you are paying out-of-pocket, we will ask you to pay the full fee at the time of your visit by cash, credit or debit card, or check.

Q: I LOST MY COPY OF ‘CARING FOR YOURSELF DURING AND AFTER A MEDICATION ABORTION,’ WHERE CAN I FIND THIS?

You can download a copy in English or Spanish on our patient portal.

Q: DO I NEED PERMISSION TO HAVE AN ABORTION?

The decision to continue or terminate a pregnancy belongs to you. However, Massachusetts has a law that requires minors to obtain one parent’s consent to have an abortion. If you do not want to involve a parent in your abortion decision, you can ask for an order from a judge to allow you to have an abortion without telling anyone. This is called a judicial bypass. There is no cost for the judicial bypass. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, you can talk to one of our staff members for assistance in obtaining a judicial bypass.

Q: DOES ABORTION CAUSE BREAST CANCER?

No. Since 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) agreed that scientific evidence does not support a link between abortion and breast cancer.

As the American Cancer Society states, “abortion is an issue that can bring out strong feelings in people. These feelings are often linked to personal, religious, and political views that may have little to do with any connection to a disease like cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women (aside from skin cancer), and it’s the second leading cancer killer in women. Because it can be a deadly disease, it’s one that many women fear. Linking these topics creates a great deal of emotion and debate. But scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.”

Q: CAN I BRING SOMEONE TO MY APPOINTMENT?

You are welcome to bring a support person to our health center, but it is not required. Companions must provide a government-issued photo ID and must remain in the waiting area during your appointment.

Q: DO YOU HAVE PROTESTERS AT HEALTHQ?

Our health centers are located in multi-use office complexes surrounded by private property. Protesting on private property is prohibited, and to date, we have had very few protesters.

Q: DO I HAVE TO LOOK AT MY ULTRASOUND IMAGE?

This is up to you. You are welcome to see your ultrasound and to have our provider explain it to you. If you do not want to see it, you do not have to.

Q: WHEN SHOULD I START BIRTH CONTROL AFTER MY ABORTION?

Although you may not have your period for several weeks after your abortion, you could become pregnant right away, even if you’re still lightly bleeding. If you do not want to become pregnant again, most birth control methods can be started at your abortion appointment or your follow-up appointment. Our staff can help you choose a method and get you started as soon as possible.

Q: SHOULD I HAVE AN ABORTION?

We highly recommend the All-Options Talkline 888.493.0092 for unbiased, judgment-free, and open-hearted support in decisions, feelings, and experiences with pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption.

Q: HOW DO I TELL MY PARENTS I AM PREGNANT?

Every family is different, but telling an adult, especially a parent, “I’m pregnant” and/or “I want an abortion,” may seem like a really hard conversation. If you need help making a plan, an All-Options staff member can help you prepare for this conversation. You can also check out our “For Young People” resource section. Some things to consider:

Choose the right time and set up the conversation. Example: “I need to talk to you because I trust you and need your help.” Keep calm and stick to the facts. Example: “I’ve taken a pregnancy test and I am pregnant.”

Show them that you’ve been proactive about the situation. Example: “I’ve done a lot of thinking about different options and decided this is the right choice for me. I’ve found a health center that can see me and they will take our insurance.”

Give them a chance to process the news, just as you did. Don’t make assumptions about how they feel. You can even ask them questions about how they feel and whether they’ve ever been in a similar situation. Example: “I didn’t know what to think when I first found out, so I understand that you may need some time to process as I did.” “Have you or anyone you know ever encountered something like this?”

If you feel you could use an ally, consider having a supportive family member or friend with you. You know your family better than anyone else, and you can decide whether involving them will be helpful to you. If you decide not to involve them, we can help you obtain a judicial bypass.

Q: HOW DO I SUPPORT MY CHILD WHO IS PREGNANT AND CONSIDERING ABORTION?

The single most important thing you can do is to listen to what your child says about how they are feeling. You might feel strongly that there is one clear choice, but there is no right choice to be imposed since each pregnancy situation is different for each person. In terms of long-term mental health, it is crucial for your child to take the primary role in decision-making about their pregnancy. Sometimes this may seem unreasonable, especially when they are young, but this is a vital part of respecting their rights as an individual and, more importantly, of asking them to begin to be responsible for the decisions they make. It is natural to want to blame someone—your child, the person they got pregnant with, yourself, or another parent—but there is no point in approaching pregnancy in a punishing way. This is a time for support and guidance that can easily escalate into a time of hostility and rebellion. You should absolutely share your opinion, how you’re feeling, and how their decision will impact the rest of your family, but please understand that this must truly be their decision. Reassure them that you love them and will always love them, no matter what.

While supporting your pregnant child with their decision making, it is also important to honor and validate your own feelings since this pregnancy absolutely impacts you as well. Sharing your feelings with your child or someone else you trust is one option; another option is talking to someone at the All-Options Talkline where there are counselors available for anyone involved in a pregnancy.

Q: MY PARTNER IS PREGNANT AND CONSIDERING ABORTION, WHAT IS MY ROLE?

A pregnancy decision can be one of the most difficult issues a couple has to face. The two of you may be in total agreement or you may have completely different feelings. The decision will ultimately be up to the person who is pregnant, but that doesn’t invalidate anyone’s feelings. Partners are certainly impacted by pregnancy, the decision-making process, and the choice made. Keep talking and keep listening. The Pregnancy Options Workbook also has a lot of decision-making exercises that you can work on together.

If you feel you need someone to talk to, the All-Options Talkline is available to discuss pregnancy, abortion, adoption, and miscarriage with anyone who wants to talk before or even after the decision. Men and Abortion is primarily a resource for male partners, but a lot of the advice is helpful for any support person.

Q: SOMEONE I CARE ABOUT IS HAVING AN ABORTION. HOW CAN I SUPPORT THEM?

Start by telling them that you’re there if they want you to be and that you will follow their lead. Be okay with them not accepting support.

Methods of support:

  • Check with them often to see how they are feeling.
  • Pay attention to their body language as well as words.
  • Be available to drive to our health center, fill prescriptions, and run any related errands.
  • Read through the aftercare directions and be ready to help your person follow them. Also, check out the In-Clinic Abortion Aftercare Guide.
  • Have pain medication available and maybe a heating pad or hot water bottle, for comfort and any pain relief.
  • If they need a follow-up appointment, help with logistical arrangements.
  • Do something special for them: a favorite treat, chores, or a heartfelt letter.
    Offer affection, but be prepared for them to not want anything sexual. You may feel rejected, but remember that they might connect sexual intercourse with their abortion. You can be affectionate without having sex.
  • Be understanding about the symptoms of pregnancy: nausea, tiredness, irritability, and moodiness. Many will go away a few days after the abortion or within a few weeks.

Q: WHY DOES HEALTHQ REFER TO “PATIENT” OR “PREGNANT PERSON” INSTEAD OF “WOMAN”?

HealthQ is committed to providing sexual health and abortion services for everyone. As Jack Qu’emi reminds us in his video from All Access, gender-neutral language for abortion is important because “not everybody who has a functioning uterus identifies as a woman. Some transgender people need access to abortion. Some transgender people have periods. Some transgender people can get pregnant.” If you have questions about our language choices or suggestions about how we can be more inclusive, please let us know.

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