Abortion means to stop a pregnancy from growing. It can be done by taking medicine or having an operation. When a fetus naturally comes out of the uterus before it's fully grown, it's called a miscarriage. This can happen on its own, without any medical help. If someone who is pregnant doesn't want to have a baby, they can choose to have an abortion. Learn more about how the two abortion methods differ below!
Medication Abortion (Abortion Pills)
A medicated abortion is when someone takes two types of medicine, called mifepristone and misoprostol (or just misoprostol if mifepristone isn't available), to stop a pregnancy. They take pills over the course of 1-2 days. The medicine stops the pregnancy from growing, and then it causes contractions to push the pregnancy out of the body.
To end a pregnancy, there are different types of surgeries that can be done. The type of surgery depends on how long you have been pregnant. These surgeries are out-patient, which means you can go home the same day and do not need to stay in the hospital overnight.
How do I know what the laws around abortion are in my state?
I need financial assistance to pay for my abortion. What are my options?
If abortion is illegal in my state, can I get into legal trouble for getting one?
Abortion is illegal in my state. What are my options?
My state requires me to get "abortion counseling" before I get the procedure. What should I expect?
Is a crisis pregnancy center the same as an abortion clinic?
The Trimesters of Pregnancy
Many abortion laws depend on how far along the pregnancy is, so it is important that you understand the timeline. There are three stages of pregnancy – known as trimesters. The first trimester is from week 1 to 12, the second trimester is from week 12 to 27, and the third trimester is from week 28 until delivery. Learn more about each trimester below:
Myths About Abortion
"Getting an abortion means I can’t have kids in the future.”
This isn’t true! Generally, abortion is a very safe procedure that hasn’t been found to affect fertility or future pregnancies. You can get pregnant just weeks after getting an abortion.
In rare cases, just like any medical procedure, there may be complications that could affect future pregnancies. Abortions that are done earlier in pregnancy are associated with fewer complications.
"People use abortions as a form of birth control."
As of 2014, 51% of people seeking abortions reported that they were already using some kind of contraception/birth control in the month that they got pregnant. Studies have also shown that if people used abortion as their main form of birth control, they would get two to three every year. However, on average, a person who can get pregnant will get no more than one or two abortions in their whole life. It’s clear that this myth is just wrong!
Sometimes, people end up pregnant when they don’t want to be, and it can be due to contraception failure, sexual assault, lack of sexual and reproductive health education, or inaccessible birth control methods.
Abortions are an important tool in the toolbox of reproductive health, alongside contraception, screenings, STI tests, and regular checkups. Not everyone is going to need it, but it’s good to have it just in case. No one should assume the reasons that people get an abortion, so that’s why it’s important to support widespread abortion access.
"Making abortion illegal stops abortions."
Criminalizing abortion and limiting access does not stop people from getting abortions. People have been getting abortions for thousands of years, but only in recent history has modern medicine made them safe, effective, and reliable – when they are protected by the law. By making them illegal, people will continue to seek out abortions through dangerous and unreliable methods, such as through unlicensed practitioners instead of trained doctors.
The most effective way to reduce the number of abortions is to improve sexual and reproductive education and resources, especially contraception methods. When people know how to prevent pregnancy and have the tools to do so (ex: condoms, birth control pills, etc.), overall abortion rates decline.
"Getting an abortion increases my risk of getting breast cancer."
This myth is untrue-- at this point, there is no clear scientific evidence that any type of abortion is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.
While there are some studies that show an increased risk of breast cancer, the most comprehensive studies and reviews find that there is no link between the two. To learn more about these studies, visit this link.
"Abortions are an excuse for people who were irresponsible."
Some people argue that abortion access should be limited to discourage people from getting abortions for “frivolous reasons” after they make a mistake.
In reality, 49% of abortion seekers live below the poverty level and are three times more likely to be poor. 73% of people seeking abortions state financial issues as a reason for their abortion. A driving motivator for seeking an abortion is that people cannot afford to be pregnant and/or raise the resulting child.
Speaking of children, 59% of abortions are obtained by people that already have children. Because these people are already aware of the time, money, and energy that goes into raising a child, we must trust their judgment when they say “I cannot be pregnant or have another child at this time in my life.”
As described above, people can end up pregnant but not want to be for many different reasons, and they do not owe other people explanations. They deserve to feel safe, happy, and confident in their decisions if they choose to get an abortion. That starts with educating ourselves on who gets abortions and the many reasons they might do so.
"If people don’t want a kid, they should put their baby up for adoption."
Adoption and abortion are not equal alternatives. Asking someone seeking an abortion to stay pregnant and give birth is asking them to deal with the life-long health effects of pregnancy. These include chronic hypertension, cardiovascular disease, increased risk of stroke, pelvic floor weakness, incontinence, depression, and more. Additionally, getting an abortion is much safer than being pregnant and giving birth – up to fourteen times safer. For some people, an abortion is about both not wanting to raise a child AND not wanting to be pregnant.
When carried out as recommended by health professionals, abortion is a safe medical procedure. However, there are many barriers that exist to getting a timely, affordable, and discreet abortion. As a result, people may resort to dangerous and invasive methods carried out by untrained people.
According to the World Health Organization, around 45% of all abortions are unsafe.
An unsafe abortion is associated with a variety of physical health risks including:
incomplete abortion (failure to remove or expel all pregnancy tissue from the uterus);
haemorrhage (heavy bleeding);
uterine perforation (caused when the uterus is pierced by a sharp object); and
damage to the genital tract and internal organs as a consequence of inserting dangerous objects into the vagina or anus.
Unsafe abortion is a leading – but preventable – cause of maternal deaths. It is estimated that 30 pregnant people die for every 100,000 unsafe abortions. Therefore, it is important to spread awareness on this topic and encourage others to only follow the abortion advice given medical professionals.
Getting an Abortion in Maryland
Abortion is legal in Maryland. However, there are some restrictions that exist.
Abortion in Maryland is only legal until "viability" which is when a fetus has developed enough that it is able to survive outside the uterus with medical help.
Additionally, if you are under the age of 18 years old, a parent or guardian must be notified of your decision to get an abortion.
Learn more about Maryland state laws surrounding abortions here.
Funding & Support
Abortions can be quite costly.
Therefore, there are a variety of resources available to help you pay for abortion and other related expenses such as lodging, meals, transportation, and childcare.
There are also networks that provide emotional support throughout the entire process of getting an abortion.
To see your assistance options, visit here.
Finding a Provider
There are many virtual and in-person abortion providers throughout the state of Maryland.
Different providers offer abortion through different pregnancy stages, therefore, your options will depend on your specific location, age, and pregnancy stage.
View a list of all the providers in Maryland here.
Alternatively, you can text "hello" to 435-334-6337 for assistance in finding a provider that works for you.
Not from Maryland? Learn more about the abortion laws, funding, and providers in your state here.