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 a mandatory waiting period of 3 to 5 days.
- Many clinics schedule two separate visits. One for counseling and check-up, the other for the abortion procedure.
Read on to find out the wait time for abortion in your area.
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Requirements Before Having an Abortion
Most abortions are performed within a specific time window, in which two sets of requirements must be met:
- The pre-abortion requirements
- The legal cut-off date
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 offer 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.
If you desire counseling beyond what was offered, you can:
- read How Do I Make a Good Decision?
- contact your nearest pregnancy resource center
2. Mandated Waiting Period
33 US states have mandatory waiting periods that range from 24 to 72 hours. Ireland is the only 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.
Legal Cut-Off Date
Gestational limits are threshold restrictions that allow for abortion within a specified time period and for a specific reason. These indicators include: health of the mother, fetal defect, rape or incest, and life of the mother.
- ⏳ Find out your area's legal gestational cut-off date at: Until When Can I Get an Abortion?
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:
- No specific stipulations; waiting list for public clinics
- No waiting period but mandated counseling requirement
- No known requirements
- 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.
- 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
- Consultation within 1 – 5 working days
- Abortion appointment within 5 – 10 working days
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
- Pre-abortion consultation
- Abortion appointment after a mandatory waiting period of 5 days
- Most abortions still require travel to England
- GB rules apply
- Abortion appointment
- No specific stipulations, but hospitals have a backlog of requests, creating automatic wait times.
- The average wait time is 7.6 days.
- These states have mandatory counseling and/or waiting periods:
- Florida: 24 hours, in-person counseling necessitates two separate trips to the abortion clinic.
- Georgia: 24 hours
- Indiana: 18 hours, in-person counseling necessitates two separate trips to the abortion clinic.
- 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
Note: If your waiting period causes you to exceed the threshold restriction, abortion is no longer an option in your situation. There is no exception in the law for someone who crosses the gestational limit during this waiting period or who passes this limit while awaiting further tests ordered by a doctor.
Abortion as Soon as Possible?!
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.
Taking sufficient time beforehand often results in greater peace about the decision in the long run.
Waiting on an Abortion Appointment?
Remember that you are the one who gets to determine what really matters! The time it takes for your appointment date to roll around is a gift to you. Use it to think through what you want. 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?
- 💡 Dealing with a specific concern? Try our Solutions Finder Test!
- ⛑ Unsure where to start? Take our First Aid Test!
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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.