Pre-Abortion Requirements: Wait Time for an Abortion Appointment

Wait Time for an Abortion Appointment

744154720 | Chutima Chaochaiya |

How Soon Can I Get an Abortion?

  • The wait time for abortion varies, depending on the regulations and availability in your area.
  • Some regions have mandatory waiting periods between 24 hours and five days.
  • Many clinics schedule two separate visits. One for counseling and check-up, the other for the abortion procedure.
  • Especially when feeling pressured, the wait time can be an opportunity to determine what path bests represents one’s values, thoughts, and desires.

This page provides information on the wait time for abortion in your area.

Top Picks:

Pre Abortion Requirements

Most abortions are performed within a specific time window, in which two sets of requirements must be met:

Pre-Abortion Requirements

1. Abortion Consultation

The abortion process usually includes a consultation element. Counseling is frequently offered at this point, on top of the necessary medical examinations. While counseling is mandatory in some countries, most clinics provide it upon request.

Ideally, this would be the place for you to raise concerns, ask questions, think through options, and make a decision you feel good about in the long run.

Oftentimes this wait time is a vital opportunity for women to pause and weigh the loss of the baby against all other factors. Women often change their minds at this point, deciding that the baby trumps life's other demands.

If you desire counseling beyond what was offered, you can:

2. Mandated Waiting Period

Twelve US states have mandatory waiting periods that range from 24 to 72 hours. Ireland is the only other English-speaking country with a mandated waiting period before an abortion. Three full days must pass between the initial consultation and the abortion procedure. This means that a woman who receives pre-abortion counseling on a Monday cannot have an abortion until Friday.

At five days, the Netherlands has one of the longest mandated waiting periods worldwide.

3. Ultrasound Requirement

Pre-abortion ultrasound requirements must be met in some regions before having an abortion. This is to establish the length of pregnancy and ensure that the pregnancy is intrauterine and intact. Countries that require ultrasounds include the USA and Australia.

Legal Cut-Off Date

Gestational limits are threshold restrictions allowing for abortion within a specified time period and for a specific reason. These indicators include socioeconomic, health of the mother, fetal defect, rape or incest, and life of the mother.

How Soon Can I Get an Abortion Appointment?

While most countries have no specific waiting requirements, other stipulations create an automatic delay. See below for the pre-abortion stipulations and waiting times for your country:

  • USA:

    • The average wait time is 7.6 days.
    • These states have mandatory counseling and/or waiting periods:
      • Arizona: 24 hours, in-person counseling necessitates two separate trips to the clinic.
      • Florida: 24 hours, in-person counseling necessitates two separate trips to the abortion clinic.
      • Georgia: 24 hours
      • Iowa: 24 hours, in-person counseling necessitates two separate trips to the abortion clinic.
      • Kansas: 24 hours
      • Michigan: 24 hours
      • Nebraska: 24 hours
      • North Carolina: 72 hours
      • Ohio: 24 hours, in-person counseling necessitates two separate trips to the abortion clinic.
      • Pennsylvania: 24 hours
      • South Carolina: 24 hours
      • Utah: 72 hours, in-person counseling necessitates two separate trips to the abortion clinic.
  • Great Britain:

    • Consultation within 1 – 5 working days
    • Abortion appointment within 5 – 10 working days

    Northern Ireland:

    • Most abortions still require travel to England
    • GB rules apply

    Republic of Ireland:

    • The gestational age of the fetus must be certified by a physician during a pre-abortion examination.
    • Mandatory counseling for minors
    • The woman must give written consent to receive an abortion
    • Abortion procedure after a mandatory waiting period of 5 days

  • Canada:

    • Consultation
    • Abortion appointment


    • At least two appointments are necessary. The waiting time for the first appointment is usually less than two weeks. The second appointment follows soon after and can possibly be scheduled for the same day.

    New Zealand:

    • Appointment with GP within 1 – 5 days
    • Consultation at abortion clinic within 7 – 16 days; counseling must be offered by law at this point.
    • Abortion appointment within 1 – 7 days

    South Africa:

    • No specific stipulations; waiting list for public clinics
  • Austria:





    • No specific stipulations, but hospitals have a backlog of requests, creating automatic wait times.

    The Netherlands:

    • Pre-abortion consultation
    • Abortion appointment after a mandatory waiting period of 5 days




    • No known requirements

Note: If your waiting period causes you to exceed the threshold restriction, abortion is no longer an option in your situation. In this case, the wait time has resolved the decision for you. There is no legal exception if you cross the gestational limit during this waiting period or while awaiting further tests ordered by a doctor.

Abortion as Soon as Possible?!

Perhaps you stumbled upon this page because you are feeling under time pressure. The experience of this set of circumstances may be weighing you down, causing you to long for immediate relief. Yet this is a situation you had probably never wanted to face and you are aware of the gravity of this decision. Any trial is an opportunity to show what we are made of...

Women frequently share with us that they were advised to decide as quickly as possible. This well-meaning counsel can lead to a great deal of pressure. Consider a woman who has not had the opportunity to think through her situation and her options – she would be unsure which path was the best choice for her.

Speeding up decision-making process may lead to a choice she later regrets.

Taking sufficient time beforehand often results in greater peace about the decision in the long run. You owe it to yourself!

Waiting on an Abortion Appointment?

The time it takes for your appointment date to roll around is a gift to you. Use it to think through what you want.

Remember that you are the one who gets to determine what really matters!

This will allow you to make a choice that resonates with your deepest longings and convictions. You are under no obligation to keep the appointment if you are not at peace with having the procedure.

Seek the support of others! Is there someone you know who would be there for you without trying to influence your decision?

Allow us to be your judgement-free sounding board as you determine the path that matches your values and desires. Here are some tests you may find helpful:

Top Picks for You:


While we strive to provide you with the most up-to-date information possible, abortion regulations are constantly shifting. profemina has no influence on wait times and takes no responsibility for any deviations from these average numbers.

Was this article helpful?