How to Find Trustworthy Abortion, Emergency Contraception, and Birth Control Resources

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Use tried and true resources for abortion pills, emergency contraception, birth control, and general reproductive health needs.Canva; Everyday Health

The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion and giving individual states agency to legislate abortion access. People have found ways to end unwanted and unsafe pregnancies for as long as people have gotten pregnant.

More than 850,000 abortions are performed annually in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute. While many states will restrict abortion access, people everywhere will continue to get abortions — it’s a matter of how safe and expensive it will be.

Your state may have changed its abortion laws and the information around abortion might be less robust and harder to find. That’s why you should go to trusted sources of information.

Trust Existing Abortion Healthcare Networks

In aftermath of?Roe, many people had their social media feeds flooded with people volunteering their homes and vehicles to people seeking abortion who would now have a harder time obtaining one. Most of these people are well intentioned, but it’s hard to vet them. If you don’t know someone personally, it’s better to trust existing abortion networks than accept help from a stranger or follow DIY advice on TikTok, as covered by New York?magazine.

These networks already know how to operate safely and discreetly and have been doing so for years:

  • Abortion Care Network connects hundreds of independent abortion clinics across the United States. ACN hotline: 202-419-1444
  • National Abortion Federation is another network of trustworthy abortion providers. NAF hotline: 1-800-772-9100
  • Abortion Clinic Pages is an online directory of vetted healthcare providers.
  • Abortion Clinics Online’s directory lists reputable abortion providers. ACO hotline: 1-800-455-8130
  • Planned Parenthood connects you with clinics, providers, and information. PP hotline: 1-800-230-PLAN (7526)
  • Ineedana.com can help you identify a nearby provider in English or Spanish.
  • The Brigid Alliance links people 15 weeks pregnant or more with transportation, food, and other logistical coordination needed to get an abortion.

Abortion Funds Can Help You Get Healthcare

If your state’s laws have now restricted or banned abortion, the cost to travel to the nearest abortion hub could be a barrier. Even people in states with abortion protections may face unplanned costs. That’s where abortion funds come in. Abortion funds can help offset unexpected costs for travel, lodging, and childcare in addition to the procedure itself, per the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Donating to abortion funds is an effective way to help people across the country access abortion. The National Network of Abortion Funds connects more than 90 abortion funds in localities around the country. In one year, they funded nearly 82,000 abortions and had requests for hundreds of thousands more. If you need help paying for an abortion, contact an abortion fund.

EC Pills vs. Abortion Pills: Emergency Contraception Is Different Than Medical Abortion

A common misconception is that emergency contraception (EC) is a form of medical abortion. While both are pills taken when a person does not want to be pregnant, EC primarily prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation (the release of an egg) or fertilization (the process of sperm and egg combining). Medical abortion addresses implantation and development. Implantation is when the embryo (fertilized egg) settles in the uterus and starts to grow and develop. Legally, states vary on when they say pregnancy begins and how many weeks along a person can get an abortion.

“Some of these laws say that pregnancy begins at fertilization, others at implantation,” writes the Guttmacher Institute. “Several use the term "conception," which is often used synonymously with fertilization but, medically, is equated with implantation.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the professional membership organization for clinicians, supports access to abortion and contraception.

RELATED: Find Affordable Birth Control and Emergency Contraception, Fast

“Because the patient-clinician relationship is a critical component of the provision of the highest quality healthcare, any efforts interfering in this relationship harm the people seeking essential healthcare and those providing it,” writes ACOG.

Pregnancy Is a Process, One That Begins Only if Other Complex Processes Occur

ACOG also states that the start of pregnancy is not one moment but rather a series of complicated events that take place over many weeks.

Depending on the point in the menstrual cycle and how quickly emergency contraception steps are taken, the different forms of emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy in different ways; by stopping or delaying ovulation (progestin pill, Ulipristal), or by stopping fertilization (copper IUD). That’s why it’s crucial to take oral emergency contraception within 72 hours of unprotected sex or get a copper IUD within five days of unprotected sex.

Some emergency contraception works best if a person is less than 165 pounds, although it still works for heavier people. Ulipristal (Ella), a prescription emergency contraception, or a copper IUD may be better options for people with higher BMIs, note GoodRx Health. In fact, the copper IUD can be used as emergency contraception up to five days after sex, and then can provide reliable contraception up to 10 years if desired.

Emergency contraception laws vary by state, per the National Conference of State Legislators. The Guttmacher Institute details state-by-state availability of emergency contraception. Plan C can help you find pills for self-managed medical abortion.

Medical vs. Surgical Abortion

Your doctor or abortion provider may recommend either?medical or surgical abortion depending on the circumstances of your pregnancy. Surgical abortions are almost 100 percent effective and only take about 10 minutes, per Planned Parenthood. They are also incredibly safe. It’s important to get abortions from people trained to do it safely. Don’t try to do it yourself or have a friend try with unsafe methods you see on TikTok or the internet.

Medical Abortion

For earlier stages in pregnancy — up to 11 weeks after your last period — medical abortion is an option. Medical abortion is often referred to as “Plan C,” "abortion pills," or “abortion with pills.” There are two methods of abortion with pills: taking both mifepristone and misoprostol, and taking misoprostol only. Both methods are safe and effective, although the former is most effective with the least side effects. Plan C compares the experience to having a miscarriage since the process results in heavy bleeding for a few hours and cramping for several days after. Second trimester abortions can be done with medication, usually in a hospital or clinic, says ACOG.

Surgical Abortion

Pregnancies that are more than 11 weeks along may require a surgical abortion, which refers to a set of procedures that remove pregnancy tissue from the uterus, per MedlinePlus. If it’s been 14 to 16 weeks since your last period, a “suction abortion” (vacuum aspiration) can gently extract tissue from your womb. If it’s been 16 weeks or more since your last period, you’d need a dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion, which uses a combination of suction and surgical instruments.

Remember — There’s No Right Way to Feel

All of us have grown up surrounded by complicated and conflicting information about fertility, abortion, and contraception. Whether from your family, your religious community, or your elected officials, you’ve likely heard a lot of misinformation about abortion. Your own perspective may have evolved over time.

There is no right way to feel after having an abortion. It’s common to feel a mixed bag of emotions, as the NHS (PDF) notes — and that’s okay. Research shows that a majority of people don’t regret their decision to have one no matter how they feel. In the time leading up to and following an abortion, lean on your trusted loved ones and make time for self care.

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