It Matters How You Feel

Early abortion can be an ordinary decision.

Most women who choose to end a pregnancy are emotional, but many don’t feel badly about their decision. They are clear that it’s a decision they need to make, and they want to take care of it as quickly as possible, before the pregnancy develops.  We support this perspective. We do not believe that a woman has to feel bad about herself while ending an early pregnancy.

Mainstreaming early abortion services makes it possible to have an ordinary medical experience while ending a pregnancy. The politics of abortion make ending an early pregnancy a major moral dilemma. For some women it is, and for some women it isn’t. Either way, women deserve the best medical care with the most advanced methods available.

Dealing with an unwanted and unexpected pregnancy can be highly emotional.

For some women and couples, making a decision about ending pregnancy can be one of the most difficult situations you will find yourselves in.

  • You discover he isn’t as supportive as you thought he would be.
  • You discover that ending a pregnancy is more sad and painful than you expected.
  • You’re angry that you need to have an abortion when it’s something you never thought you’d do.
  • You find out you really don’t want to be pregnant even though you thought you did.
  • You feel different from your partner and feel you don’t really know each other like you thought you did.
  • You don’t know how you feel and keep going back and forth, around and around.
  • You feel lonely and are afraid to tell anyone you’re close to that you need to have an abortion.
  • You had a bad prior abortion experience or have heard of bad experiences, and are frightened to have an abortion.
  • You thought you had a clear plan if you got pregnant, but now you just feel confused.
  • You have the ability and resources to have a baby, but don’t really feel like you want to.
  • You realize you would really like to be pregnant, even though this is such a bad time.
  • You feel that abortion is wrong but don’t want to have a baby.

Being pregnant can be a highly emotional time. Conflicted feelings are the norm. Hormones are changing rapidly, making difficult feelings even more emotional. Even if you feel you are making the right decision, you can feel sad, conflicted, frightened, and lonely.

While nobody “wants” to be in these situations, they can also be times of growth. This situation may help you to become clearer about what is important to you. You may get to know your partner in ways you didn’t know him before. You may see that you need to make some decisions in your life that you were avoiding. You may realize your life needs to head in new directions to make a wanted pregnancy possible in the future.

People often feel that the emotional conflicts around abortion are unique. However, important decisions are often conflicted. Sometimes we feel we made the wrong decision. Sometimes we never feel good about decisions we had to make. Sometimes we wish we had the conditions to make different decisions. However, you do have a choice about how you can relate to those decisions. You can linger and regret; you can obsess; you can learn and make new choices; you can work to create your life so that you can make different decisions in the future; you can help others in similar situations. While making the decision whether to have an abortion, it can be a time to look at how you approach making difficult decisions in your life in general.

The divisiveness of the abortion debate, and the way abortions are provided in isolated clinic settings has made abortion something women feel ashamed of, and therefore don’t talk about. In fact, abortion is much more “ordinary” than we tend to experience. Most women experience abortion first-hand at least once in their lives. We are in a time when women are having sex, enjoying sex, and birth control is far from perfect. Sex is a time when we get carried away. We make mistakes. Life’s situations and choices are rarely ideal.

Abortion services are often provided in segregated clinic settings, which can heighten feelings of isolation. Women can encounter protesters. Partners often are not included in the entire visit. Clinics may require “counseling” even though you’ve made your decision and don’t necessarily want to talk about it. Each part of your visit may involve a different person. One staff member does the counseling, another testing, and another helps during the procedure so you don’t feel connected to a particular provider. Waiting rooms and recovery rooms can lack privacy. It doesn’t need to be that way. There is no other medical service that is offered in such an impersonal way.

This website and the efforts of the doctors who created it are trying to change this experience for women. We are working to make early abortion available in mainstream medical settings, where you see a doctor in the privacy of a single examination room. We feel it is important for you to be able to bring a support person to be with you. We do not feel you require counseling, but make ourselves available if you want to talk. We promote individually scheduled visits so that waiting time is limited and private.

The public abortion debate has been volatile and divisive. The doctors who created this website think that “how” abortion is provided and “how” we talk about abortion with each other is important. We need to make early abortion available in mainstream medical environments, and we need to talk with each other in more open and honest ways. The politics of abortion would make you think that there are two camps of people – those who are for abortion, and those who are against abortion – and that you can divide a line between them. But as human beings, we are much more conflicted. We can feel one way today, and another way tomorrow, or many different ways at the same time. Let’s work together to make our difficult life choices a time to grow and develop.

Medically, abortion should not be difficult, but we understand that the emotional aspects of abortion can vary greatly between women. Some women are sure of their decision and feel fine afterward. Others may feel a sense of loss or grieving, guilt, or anger. All of these emotional responses are normal. We also understand that many women do not feel as though they have a safe place to discuss these feelings. If you or a loved one has had an abortion and would like to talk to someone, there are people who will be there for you. To learn more, click the following link to visit Exhale, an after abortion hotline and support community. 


We’ve included some patient feelings and emotions below. Sometimes hearing from women who are going through this difficult decision can make you feel like you are not alone. We’ve included some responses from an experienced abortion provider that you may find helpful.


Other Feelings