Waiting Time for an Abortion Appointment

Waiting Time for an Abortion Appointment

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How Soon Can I Get an Abortion?

  • The wait time for an 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 an 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


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, it is offered upon request in most clinics. Ideally, this would be the place for you to raise concerns, ask questions, think though options and make a decision you feel good about in the long run.

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


2. Mandated Waiting Period 

33 US states have mandatory waiting periods that range from 24 to 72 hours. Ireland is the only other English-speaking country that has a mandated waiting period before an abortion. Three full days have to 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: socioeconomic, health of 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:

South Africa

No specified stipulations; waiting lists 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.

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


See our Austrian page.


See our German page.

Great Britain


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


See our Italian page.


See our Portuguese page.

Rep. of Ireland


  • Woman must give written consent from a physician
  • Mandatory counseling for minors
  • Pre-abortion examination
  • Abortion procedure after mandatory waiting period of three days

The Netherlands


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

Northern Ireland


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


See our Swiss page.



  • Consultation
  • Abortion appointment


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


See our USA page.

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 really 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?



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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.

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