How can I get an abortion?

To get an abortion free on the NHS, you need to be referred by a doctor or, in some cases, a nurse. This can be your own GP, or a doctor at a local family planning clinic, or at a Brook Centre if you are under 25.

So the first thing to do, if you think you want to have an abortion, is go to your doctor, a family planning clinic or a Brook centre. Once you have been referred for an abortion, you will need an appointment at the abortion clinic. Your medical history will be taken and a nurse or doctor will discuss what will happen next.

You can get abortions on the NHS, and you can also pay for an abortion. The earlier you decide to have an abortion, the easier it is to get a free abortion on the NHS.

NHS abortions

Although the normal legal limit for abortion is 24 weeks, it's best to get help as soon as possible. There is an average of 2-4 weeks waiting time on the NHS from when you first see a doctor to when you have the abortion.

If you haven't made up your mind about what you want to do about your pregnancy yet, but there is a chance that you may choose to end it, you can ask a doctor to arrange an abortion for you, just so that you're on the waiting list. In the meantime, you can get advice and speak to a counsellor. Then if you choose to continue with the pregnancy, it's fine for you to cancel the abortion. But if you decide to end the pregnancy, at least you're already on the waiting list.

Private abortions

You can also have a private abortion which you would need to pay for. Early abortions start from around £450 and go up to £750 or above in the later stages. For more information on private abortions, visit our useful organisations section.

What if my doctor says no?

Some doctors have a moral objection to abortion - this means they believe it is wrong. If your GP has an objection to abortion, then she or he does not have to be involved in referring you. However, they should explain their viewpoint clearly to you and make arrangements for you to see another doctor.

What if I'm under 16?

If a young woman under 16 is considered competent to consent to her own medical treatment, she can consent to an abortion.However, it would be usual to try to involve a parent or another adult to provide support, for example another family member or a specialist youth worker.

If you have any questions about how to get an abortion contact Ask Brook on 0808 802 1234. Your call will be confidential. That means we won't tell anyone about it.

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