For most people, pro-choice means a woman’s right to choose what she wants to do with her own body. Webster’s defines it simply as “favoring the legalization of abortion1.” But do either of those statements accurately define the term “pro-choice”?
The literal meaning of the two words combined suggests a highly different concept – pro: to be in favor of, and choice: the power to select freely and after consideration.
Do women facing unplanned pregnancy today truly possess the power to choose freely? The concept would look something like this:
Her healthcare provider would adhere to a strict code of medical ethics (i.e., the provider’s ability to present unbiased information would not be influenced by financial gain).
All of her options would be equally and thoroughly represented (i.e., the materials/information presented would not be influenced by the provider’s personal/political agenda or beliefs).
She would be given time to fully consider the cost of each of the options available to her (i.e. would be required to delay her decision for a short period after counseling and before making her decision (this is not required by NYS2)).
She would remain free from any type of coercion while in the process of making her decision – (i.e., not pressured/influenced by her doctor, pro-life/pro-choice propaganda, the father, family, friends, co-workers, etc.).
To be “pro-choice” is to be an advocate for the empowerment of women through unbiased information and uncoerced decisions. Only within that environment is a woman truly free to choose.
Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy today? No doubt you feel like you need to resolve this crisis quickly. The nurses at CompassCare understand how you're feeling. Meet Kathy.
"I understand that you're pregnant and that's a scary thing for you, and that your feeling like you have all of these plans in front of you that you were hoping to do this year and that's kind of up in the air now that you're pregnant - and you don't want to trade that off for a baby. On the other hand, this is reality. So I'm encouraging you to just think about it for awhile, and don't feel pressured into making a choice before you're ready to make a choice. Why don't we talk about what the options are? We'll think about it for a little bit so that you're not facing feeling regret; making a decision in the spur of the moment under the pressure of circumstances in life right now and all of the voices that come against you right now. This is your decision. This is your life. And we're here to help support you in processing your options and finding what will work for you. My name is Kathey Mauer and I'm a staff nurse at CompassCare in Rochester."
Women choose abortion for many reasons. It can be a result of pressure from a boyfriend or a family member, fear of raising a child alone and at a young age, or just the fear of being pregnant. The reasons are complex, and the stories span the emotional spectrum, from relief to heart-rending grief. Read some stories of women who chose abortion:*
“I have experienced several pregnancies and terminated all of them. The first time I found out I was in college and only 20 years old. I was freaked out, scared, felt lonely and depressed.”
“It would have been easier if my boyfriend said we'd raise it together and we could get married. I consider myself something of a feminist so I shock myself that I even thought I needed to get married to have a child, but I did… The best part was that I realized that this person was not someone I wanted to be with in a relationship, the worst part is the pain that you feel after.”
“The pregnancy termination has affected me because I keep thinking on the baby. If the baby was going to be a girl or a boy. How old would he or she would be now.”
“I strongly considered having the baby, but I didn’t think that I would be able to give it the kind of life that it would have deserved. I didn’t have that great of a job, I didn’t have a permanent home, and the father would have been hardly in the picture… I was very early along and I felt that it was the best decision for everyone involved.”
“Best part was I realized I needed to slow down take a step back and be much more responsible in life. Worst part was how horrible, scared, and selfish I felt. Has affected my life by making me slow down and realize I can’t be so careless or irresponsible.”
“I don't think there was anything good about my experience. Other than the termination was painless and quick. The worst part was feeling/thinking ‘what if this is my one chance to have a baby?’”
Today’s adolescents are dealing with more sexual pressures than ever. By age 15, parental influence is eclipsed by the social weight of peers. Yet even with increased pressure, teens are often choosing not to engage in sex. In a recent study of over 4500 U.S. teenagers aged 15-19, sexual activity declined from 1988 to the 2006-2010 period from 51% to 43% in girls and 60% to 42% in boys.1
The top reasons stated by both male and female teens for abstaining from sexual intercourse were religious and moral reasons, having not found the right person, and not wanting to get pregnant.2 Whatever your reason for waiting, the choice is yours. Be empowered to decide what the future holds for you. Real choices. Your decision.
Approximately eighteen percent of all U.S. women obtaining abortions are teenagers.
Ages 18 – 19: 11%
Ages 15 – 17: 6%
Younger than 15: less than 1%1
Teens are more prone to complications arising from induced abortion because they “are more likely than older women to delay having an abortion until after 15 weeks of pregnancy, when the medical risks associated with abortion are significantly higher.”1 According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the risk of death increases by 38% for each additional week of gestation.2In other words, if the mortality rate from abortion-related complications is 1 in 100,000 at 8 weeks, it will be 1.38 in 100,000 at 9 weeks.
Nevertheless, your doctor should talk with you about the risks of any abortion to your future reproductive health as a teen, as well as the positive impact a full term pregnancy can have. For more information on the side-effects of abortion click here.
Why the higher risk of side-effects?
Teens who are trying to hide their abortions are less likely to follow a post-abortion antibiotic regimen or return for a follow-up visit.
The fact that teenagers generally have numerous sexual partners, lower levels of protective antibodies, and higher levels of estrogen may also play a role3.
Adolescents are more likely to have Chlamydia and other related infections at the time of abortion3, which can result in PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease).
The risk for ectopic pregnancy-related deaths due to PID are higher among teenagers who have had abortions.
Approved for use in the US in September of 2000, mifepristone is a medication used in combination with misoprostol to facilitate 1st trimester abortion (medical abortion). While misoprostol causes the uterus to contract, mifepristone is responsible for blocking the action of the progesterone needed to sustain a pregnancy, causing changes in the uterine lining, detachment of the pregnancy, and opening of the cervix.1
Between 2000 and 2005, there were over 208,000 legally induced medical abortions performed in the US2. Over a 4-year span during that time, more than 600 Adverse Event Reports (AER) were submitted to the FDA regarding mifepristone-administered abortions.
237 cases of hemorrhage: 1 fatal, 42 life threatening, and 168 serious; 68 required transfusions.
66 cases of infection: 7 cases of septic shock (3 fatal, 4 life threatening) and 43 cases requiring parenteral antibiotics.
22 cases reported second trimester viability (meaning the abortion was unsuccessful and the pregnancy carried into its 2nd term): of the 13 documented follow-ups, 9 were terminated without comment on the state of the fetus, and 3 fetuses were diagnosed with serious malformations, suggesting a malformation rate of 23%.
Hemorrhage and infection are the leading causes of mifepristone-related morbidity and mortality.3
All abortion procedures have associated risk. It’s important to determine your current medical condition before considering any type of abortion. Contact us for a free consultation.
The short answer is yes, it could. However, there is much research that still needs to be done on this topic. “Despite strong recommendations for substantive research, and the clear need for women to have accurate information as they execute their autonomy, current data remain sparse, studies are small and methodologically flawed, and the conclusions are often intertwined with the political agendas of their authors and publishers.”1
Complications that can arise from induced abortion, such as infection and damage to the uterus, are the main cause of future risk to women. In the case of medical abortion, the risks for these complications are increased in women who have a high risk of uterine rupture; an intrauterine device (IUD) in place; uncontrolled high blood pressure; diabetes, certain heart or blood vessel diseases; severe liver, kidney or lung disease; take a blood thinner or certain steroid medications; or smoke heavily.2
First-trimester surgical abortion by dilation and curettage (D&C) “can result in uterine synechiae (or Asherman’s Syndrome), which increase the risk of subsequent midtrimester spontaneous abortions and low birthweight deliveries.”3Incompetent cervix is also a preterm birth risk associated with surgical abortion. “Symptoms related to cervical incompetence were found among 75% of women who undergo forced dilation for abortion.”4
With any type of abortion, “if the abortion is infected or complicated by pre-existing and nontreated STD’s, risks of secondary infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and fetal loss increase.”5 Studies have consistently shown that induced abortion increases the incidence of subsequent preterm delivery and also depression6, which can ultimately effect a woman’s decision to have more children in the future.
CompassCare is a non-profit organization providing non-biased information that supports a woman’s truly informed choice. Schedule a free consultation.
"That test came back positive, I told him, no, that's not true." "I was shocked and a little uneasy, because it wasn't planned." "I was just in, um, just a mess. Emotionally a mess."
No. Your life is not over. Even if it might feel like the end of the world, be assured, it's not. Plans may need a bit of adjusting to compensate for this unexpected turn, but CompassCare can help.
Each year thousands of women find themselves in the same position you are in now. You have the ability to make a responsible choice regarding this pregnancy. Outside influences like school, work, friends and family can all vie for your allegiance, but at this moment in time, it needs to be about you.
Whether you’re considering ending your pregnancy or carrying your baby to term, you have options.
"As soon as I went to the center, I think that they knew right away how I was feeling." "I felt very comfortable coming in." "They were completely open and nice and I felt like I could talk to them about anything."
CompassCare's average patient satisfaction rating is 9.8 out of 10. Schedule your free consultation.
According to Planned Parenthood national average, the price of a 1st trimester medical or surgical abortion can range anywhere between $300 to $950,1 and late term abortions can be as high as $2000.
Prices are determined by the date of your Last Menstrual Period (LMP), and the cost rises as your pregnancy progresses. Cost also depends on whether the procedure is performed by a private practice, clinic or hospital.
Within 9 Weeks after LMP
Medical Abortion: Mifepristone and Misoprostol $400-$500
Within 6-12 Weeks after LMP
Surgical Abortion: Suction or Vacuum Aspiration $460-$600
Within 12-21 Weeks after LMP
Surgical Abortion: Dilation and Curettage $300-$600
Surgical Abortion: Dilation and Evacuation $500-$2000
These costs can be even higher, depending on whether additional medical services or visits are necessary due to health issues like STI’s or natural complications. It’s important to know how far along you are to determine what procedure you’re a candidate for.
"Being 17, 18, you kinda are only made to think of yourself - kinda selfish when you're in highschool. Um, I did want to go to college - I wanted to go to cosmetology school. I didn't have a job. And now, having my son, I have a job as a manager and I'm going to college and I plan to be a doctor. So, my life has changed all around because of him. He's made me see the bigger outcome in life and not only myself."
Abortion is not an option for you - so will it be parenting or adoption?
Parenting demands responsibility, commitment, and often outside assistance. A good support system is key to being successful at and enjoying this role. Being a parent is possible!
Information support can be attained through an unbiased, trusted provider. CompassCare exists to help you to first make a well-informed choice about what to do with this unplanned pregnancy, then provides you with the resources you need to make the decisions to follow.
Adoption can be a caring alternative to parenting when raising a child is not right for you at this time in your life. It can allow a family, who might not otherwise be able, experience the joys of parenting. There are many great services right here in the Rochester area that can provide the caring support you need to assist you through the adoption process.
Disclaimer: This site, and all information contained herein, is designed to be an informational tool only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or replace care from a qualified medical practitioner.
CompassCare is a non-profit organization whose nurses are experts in helping women facing unplanned pregnancy.