“I’m late. The test stick says Positive. But I can’t be pregnant. Not now. Do I need to have an abortion? What do I do?”
If these are the thoughts running through your head, there’s stuff you need to know, and there’s help. You won’t have an abortion today – it doesn’t happen that quickly. So you have time to think, learn, and plan.
- Be sure you’re pregnant.
Before you can have an abortion, you need to know for sure whether you’re really pregnant. You learn that by having a pregnancy test performed at a clinic. A positive test at a clinic would be considered “official” by an insurance company – different than a home test. If you can’t go to your regular doctor for that test, or don’t have a regular doctor, call or text First Care Clinic to schedule an appointment. Your pregnancy test will be free of charge, confidential, and you’ll have the chance to talk with someone about your pregnancy and all your options.
- Understand what the state requires.
If your test at the clinic is positive, the next step is to have an ultrasound. In Wisconsin, it’s a state law (2013 SENATE BILL 206) that before a woman can have an abortion, she must have an ultrasound at least 24 hours beforehand. She must be given the opportunity to see the ultrasound images of the unborn child, and a verbal description of the unborn child’s development must be provided. The ultrasound will confirm how far along your pregnancy is (how many weeks and days), and whether the child is developing as expected. It will also check to ensure the child is growing inside your uterus – if not, that’s a medical emergency and you need help right away. Even if you didn’t have your clinical pregnancy test at First Care Clinic, you can still call or text us for an ultrasound appointment. Ultrasounds at First Care Clinic are free of charge, confidential and performed by a trained nurse sonographer. Your ultrasound will be reviewed by a physician who will add any other information she feels is important for you to have.
The state also requires that you review the informed consent booklet, “A Woman’s Right to Know …” which explains the abortion procedures that are legal in Wisconsin and at what stage of pregnancy. The booklet also explains the risks associated with each type of abortion and other important information. At your appointment at First Care Clinic, a nurse will review the booklet with you and help you understand all your options.
- Be aware of the age requirements.
If you’re under 18, you can’t have an abortion in Wisconsin without permission from a parent or other adult allowed by the law. That’s a little complicated to explain here, so if it applies to you, just give us a call. As long as you’re at least 14 years old, we’ll get you in to talk with someone to learn how the process works and understand all your options. If you need it, we can even give you a medical excuse from school. Privacy laws mean that we’re not allowed to tell your parents about the appointment without your permission, so you can feel safe coming to the appointment.
If you’re younger than age 14, it’s important that you talk to an adult you can trust. If you’re not sure who to talk to, give us a call. We’ll help you figure it out.
- Consider Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) testing.
While you’re at the clinic, you might also want to consider having STI testing. It’s not required before an abortion, but an undiagnosed STI could cause a medical complication if you decide to have the abortion. It’s important to be tested and complete any necessary treatment first. The nurse you see will help you understand which if any STI testing is appropriate for you. And like all services at First Care Clinic, STI testing is free of charge and confidential.
- Consider having a support person.
This is a big decision and you might not want to make it alone. You can bring anyone you want to your appointment at First Care Clinic. It could be your mom, your sister or friend, or the father of your baby. If you’re not sure how to talk about a possible pregnancy with him, First Care Clinic has a program just for men to help you make this decision together if that’s what you want. Sometimes it can be helpful for a guy to talk to another guy about what he wants to say or do – and get some advice on how to talk with you. He probably has a lot of questions too. You can ask for that to be part of your appointment when you call or text us.
It can be really scary to think you might be pregnant when that wasn’t your plan. You need information from a place you can trust. First Care Clinic has been helping women just like you for more than 30 years. Check out our website, www.firstcareclinic.org, for more information and give us a call. We’re here for you.