How do I find the clinic that's right for me?
We know that it can be really tough to find an abortion clinic, especially one that you know you can trust. Rest assured that the vast majority of abortion clinics are safe and clean and will provide you with high-quality care.
Clinics are all different. Things like cost, anesthesia, and available services will be different at different clinics. Some may only provide abortions up to 11 or 12 weeks into pregnancy, and others can provide abortions up to 18, 24, or 26 weeks into pregnancy. It’s a good idea to call around and get an idea of what your options are. (Be aware that you may have to travel out of state to an abortion clinic, especially if you are looking for an abortion after 13 weeks of pregnancy.)
You can find clinics by going to any of these websites:
Planned Parenthood (Note: Look for clinics that list “Abortion Services”)
You can also call 1-877-257-0012 or 1-800-230-PLAN for information about some of those same clinics.
Here are our tips on how to choose a good abortion provider:
1. Don’t trust ads in the phone book or on the internet. Big or expensive ads don’t necessarily mean that the clinic is a good one – or even that it’s a real clinic at all. Before clicking on advertisements, use the links above to see if there are clinics in your community.
2. Get a referral from someone you trust. Okay, this can be tough if no one else in your life knows about your abortion, but hearing from someone who has been to a clinic is really your best bet. You can also call a local hospital or doctor's office and ask them to give a referral to a clinic they trust.
3. Call the clinic on the phone. How do they sound? Are they friendly? Are they knowledgeable? Do they listen? Do they answer all your questions? If you have the time, ask if you can set up an appointment to see the clinic before the date of your abortion. Is the clinic actually located where the ad in the phone book says it is? Will they tell you the credentials of their doctors and staff?
4. Ask about their services. What do they offer? Can your friend or parent come with you? How many visits are required? What is the procedure like? What types of anesthesia are offered and who administers it? What do they do in case of an emergency?
5. Ask about their fees. Do the fees sound "too good to be true"? If they do, they probably are. Ask what charges are included in the fee. Are all medications included? Is all lab work included? Is a follow-up included? Is a method of birth control included? Do they take insurance or Medicaid? If they can’t take Medicaid (in many states they cannot), will they give you a discount?
6. Take a look at the clinic and staff. Is the clinic clean? What is the atmosphere like? Is it cold and sterile or warm and friendly? How much experience do the doctors have? Can they provide you with all the information you might want?
7. Trust your gut. Your safety and health are the most important things to consider. If there’s anything about a clinic that makes you feel uncomfortable, ask them about it. If you aren’t sure that a clinic is doing something the right way, call your regular doctor or hospital and ask them about it.
What to watch out for:
There are some places out there that call themselves clinics, but don’t actually perform abortions. These “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” are often listed in phone books under Abortion or Abortion Alternatives. They also show up when you do Internet searches for “abortion.” They often will offer you free pregnancy tests or free ultrasounds, but the people who perform these services are not doctors. The crisis pregnancy centers are anti-abortion and they will try to convince you not to have an abortion, often by giving you false information about the risks or costs of abortion. To protect yourself, you should never give your medical information to anyone who is not a doctor or working for a doctor’s office.
How can you be sure a clinic is a real clinic?
Ask on the phone if they provide or refer for abortion services. Avoid centers that refuse to give a straightforward answer.
Ask whether they have doctors or nurses on staff. Just like you would for any clinic, ask what training the doctors have received. If their answers seem suspicious, trust your gut.
Be careful when surfing the web. Often you will find anti-abortion religious websites disguised as pro-choice information. Keep searching for reliable information or use the sites listed above.