Below are frequently asked questions we hear from our patients.
Answers may vary for each Summit location. We recommend you contact your local clinic for specific or frequently asked questions. Our staff is here to help, so don’t hesitate to call us anytime.
Q: Which type of abortion is better, medical or surgical?
A: Patients under 11 weeks pregnant may choose either a medication or surgical abortion. Patients over 11 weeks pregnant are eligible for surgical abortions only. If you are under 11 weeks, what is “better” for you may differ from someone else. It is important to make this choice based on your personal needs and medical history. Please visit Abortion Services for more information on each abortion type. You are welcome you to call to speak with a health educator, free of charge, at any time about this very important decision.
Q: Will the surgical abortion hurt?
A: Most patients are able to get through their abortion (which lasts around 5-8 minutes) with minimal discomfort. Summit Centers offers pain medication, twilight sedation, or general anesthesia to help patients through surgical abortions (contact your local office to see what is offered). Surgical abortions with minimal or no pain medication can cause cramping similar to or stronger than than a menstrual period. We will make every effort to keep you as comfortable as possible. Visit our page on Surgical Abortion for more information.
Q: Will the medication abortion hurt?
A: As with surgical abortions, every patient’s experience with medication abortions differs. Because medication abortions are completed at home, we offer pain medications and suggest techniques to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Medication abortions are similar to miscarriages, which can result in heavy bleeding and cramping. Most patients report cramping that is similar to or stronger than a menstrual period. You can learn more about these frequently asked questions on our Medication Abortion page
Q: Can my partner/mother/friend be with me during my abortion?
A: We only allow patients and medical staff into the operating room for safety and confidentiality reasons. However, you will have a medical assistant and/or health educator with you during the procedure. We will inform your loved ones about your progress throughout your visit. We try to take extra care with partners, family, or friends who are nervous or anxious about you.
Q: How long will my appointment last?
A: With either type of abortion, you should plan to be at Summit for a total of 4 to 8 hours. This is because laws that restrict access to abortion limit the number of doctors who perform abortions. For that reason, we structure our clinic to accommodate everyone who needs our services. We do not want to turn anyone away or provide anything but quality, compassionate care. We encourage you to clear your day, and we appreciate your understanding.
When you arrive, you will fill out paperwork, then review your medical history with a nurse or medical assistant. You’ll have basic lab work, an ultrasound, complete a health education session, review surgical (or medical) consent forms, and in some cases, receive medicines. Whether you choose the surgical or medication abortion, you’ll meet with the doctor for your procedure: medication abortion patients will take one pill in the office and receive additional medicines to take home. For surgical abortion patients, the actual procedure lasts about 5 to 8 minutes. Afterwords, these patients will be taken to the recovery room where they will rest and have a snack.
Q: How do I pay, and will insurance cover my abortion? Are payment plans or financial assistance available?
A: Every insurance plan and every state has different policies about abortion coverage. Patients with lower income might qualify for state assistance. It is best to contact the Summit Center nearest you. Your local clinic can answer frequently asked questions about cost, payment policies, and financial assistance. If you pay out of pocket, we accept cash and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express).
Q: How long do I have to wait after an abortion before going back to work?
A: Patients who have surgical abortions often return to work within a day or two. Patients who have medication abortions often need two full days off of work. We recommend taking it easy for the first week or so after your abortion (no heavy lifting or intense physical labor/workouts), most patients feel physically capable of daily activities very soon after their abortion. We are happy to provide doctor’s notes for missed work or school. (Doctor’s notes never disclose details about your visit).
Q: I had an abortion last week and I’m testing positive on a home pregnancy test. Am I still pregnant?
A: It is very unlikely that you are still pregnant. Pregnancy tests can detect hormones for up to 3-4 weeks after an abortion. We recommend not doing a home pregnancy test after your abortion. Moreover, we perform an ultrasound immediately after your surgical abortion to ensure the procedure is complete.
Q: Will my regular OB/GYN be able to tell I had an abortion?
A: It is unlikely a doctor will be able to tell you’ve had an abortion as long as your cervix has fully closed, which takes about 3 weeks. However, it’s important to recognize that pregnancy and abortion are normal, important parts of your medical history, and we encourage you to be honest with your doctor. We understand hesitation about sharing your experience, but most OB/GYNs are supportive of all reproductive choices, including abortion. If your doctor is anti-choice or makes you feel guilty or judged for your reproductive or sexual choices, it is important to know that you have the right to quality healthcare where your needs and choices are fully respected. If you are considering looking for a new OB/GYN, we are happy to provide referrals for supportive and skilled physicians.
Q: Will I be able to get pregnant after my abortion?
A: This is a very frequently asked question. Research shows no evidence of fertility or pregnancy problems after an abortion (or more than one abortion). Having an abortion does not interfere with your ability to have children in the future.
Q: How soon after my abortion will I be able to have sex or use tampons?
A: Because your risk of infection increases until the cervix is fully closed, we recommend that nothing go inside of the vagina for at least 1 week. That means: no sexual intercourse, sex toys or penetration of any kind, no tampons (use only sanitary pads or liners). You can still swim or take a bath.
It is important to know that when you do have sex, you are still at risk for pregnancy, even if you have not yet had a normal cycle. If you do not want to become pregnant again, we are happy to help you find the birth control method that is right for you. We can write a prescription or you can purchase up to 12 packs of birth control pills (NorQD, Blisovi, Sprintec) while you’re here. You can also receive Depo shots for up to 12 months, or have an IUD or implant inserted the same day as your abortion.