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Devon Sexual Health provides non-judgemental help and advice about abortion

posted by: Susan Mills

One in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime – and its important to know your options.

Although abortions are not provided directly by our Devon Sexual Health clinics, our specially trained staff can offer non-judgemental support and advice as well as help with referrals to abortion providers.

What is an abortion?

An abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy so it doesn’t result in the birth of a child. Sometimes this is known as a termination of pregnancy.

In England, Scotland and Wales, abortions are available under the care of an NHS hospital or a licensed clinic and are usually free of charge. You can have an abortion at any age, even if you are under 16, and your parents do not need to know.

How can I get an abortion?

There are four ways that you can access a termination of pregnancy in Devon:

  • Via your GP
  • Via self-referral to MSI UK which has branches in Exeter and Paignton
  • Via Torbay Pregnancy Advisory Service (ToPAS) for Torbay residents
  • Via Devon Sexual Health clinics who can talk through options with you and help to arrange referrals for you

When can you have an abortion?

You can have an abortion up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy in England, Scotland and Wales, however the majority take place before 12 weeks. The length of your pregnancy is calculated from the date of your last period. Getting advice as early as possible will give you time to make an informed decision.

What are the different methods?

There are two types of abortion: medical abortion or surgical abortion

  • Medical abortion involves taking medicines to cause a miscarriage. It can feel like a heavy and painful period.
  • Surgical abortion may involve general anaesthetic, but is a quick procedure and can usually be done as a day case.

Your abortion provider will be able to discuss the options with you.

What are the side effects?

Abortion is a very safe procedure and will not affect your fertility in the future. As a result, you must use contraception as soon as possible after the termination to prevent a further pregnancy. More advice on contraception options can be found here, or you can talk to your local sexual health clinic.

It is normal to feel a range of emotions after an abortion. Support is available, so ensure to ask what help is available in your area.

More information on abortion can be found here


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