Does the Student Health Center perform abortion?
No. The Student Health Center does not perform abortion, but we can help a women find an abortion provider and answer questions about the procedure.
Is Abortion Legal?
Yes. In January 1973, the Supreme Court stated that the decision to terminate a pregnancy should rest with the woman and her health care provider. In the state of Indiana, only first trimester abortions (the first three months of pregnancy) are permitted in outpatient clinics. If a woman is under the age of 18, parental consent or judicial bypass is required.
What procedures are available for first trimester abortion in Indiana?
A woman may choose from two types of first trimester abortion procedures. This includes the most common method, a surgical abortion called “vacuum aspiration” or “suction curettage.” The other procedure is referred to as a medical abortion and involves taking two oral medications, mifepristone and misoprostol.
When can an abortion be performed?
It is preferable to have an abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy. A woman should find out as soon as possible if she is pregnant. Pregnancy tests can be done ten days past conception at the Student Health Center. This will allow you to make an appointment within the proper amount of time at a clinic that provides abortion services. (The Student Health Center does not provide surgical or medical abortions.) Surgical abortion can be performed between 6 weeks and 13 weeks, 6 days from the first day of your last period. For medical abortions it must be no more than 70 days from the first day of your last period. Indiana law requires that a woman provide consent at least 18 hours before an abortion. The clinic you contact will give you the details about informed consent.
What do I need to do to have an abortion?
You will need to have an intake interview, sign a consent form, give a medical history, have laboratory tests and have a physical examination.
How much does abortion cost?
The charges depend on the method. Health insurance sometimes will pay for an abortion. Check with your insurance plan and the clinic. Some clinics have financial assistance programs to help women pay for the procedure. The Hoosier Abortion Fund also can provide help with payment.
Do I need an appointment?
Yes. You must call the clinic you wish to attend and arrange your appointment ahead of time. Some clinics also require that you bring evidence of pregnancy, such as a note from your health care provider or lab test results. The Student Health Center can provide all paper work that most clinics require, although we do not perform abortions at the Student Health Center.
Is it safe?
Done under sterile conditions by a qualified physician or trained providers, the risk involved in a first trimester abortion is far less than the risks associated with pregnancy.
Do I have to go to the hospital?
No. It is an outpatient procedure. First trimester abortions can be performed in licensed clinics or in a private physician’s office.
What if my pregnancy is in the second trimester? Can I still have an abortion?
Yes, but the abortion must be performed in a hospital or licensed surgery center and only for certain indications, including in the instance of rape. Dr. Caitlin Bernard's office can be contacted at 317-880-3944 for further inquiry.
What is the procedure for a surgical abortion and how long does it take?
The cervix (the opening to the uterus) is dilated (opened up slightly) and a plastic tube about the width of a pencil is inserted. The contents of the uterus are drawn out by gentle suction. This procedure takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes but the woman should expect to be in the clinic approximately 4-6 hours due to lab work, intake and recovery.
Will it hurt?
For a surgical abortion, a local anesthetic is used around the cervical opening. During the procedure, the patient should expect moderate to severe menstrual-like cramping. Depending on the clinic additional pain medication, such as nitrous oxide or fentanyl, may be available for an additional fee. These medications will not put you to sleep but will reduce the amount of discomfort during the procedure. If a woman wants a general anesthetic (i.e. to be put to sleep), she must find out which clinics offer that option. Some do; others do not. It does, however, cost more. Your health care provider can give you this information. After the procedure, you may have spotting or bleeding for up to two weeks. You should use pads, not tampons for this spotting.
Why do some women prefer surgical abortion?
- Less likely to have an incomplete abortion
- Procedure is over in a shorter amount of time
- You are not alone during the procedure but at the clinic with medical personnel
- Fewer visits
- You don’t have to see the blood and tissue of conception
What is the procedure for a medical abortion and how long does it take?
There are two steps. You will receive mifepristone medication to take orally. A few days later you will take misoprostol in pill form. The whole process can take anywhere from 1-day to about one-week.
How does this medication work?
Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone. Without this hormone, the lining of the uterus breaks down, ending the pregnancy. Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy.
Why do some women prefer medical abortion?
- No anesthesia or surgery
- Less cramping than with surgery
- More control – it may feel less invasive
- More natural – it may seem more like a miscarriage. Bleeding may continue on and off for up to three weeks following the procedure. It will be similar to your average menstrual period.
- More privacy – you may have the abortion at home.
Who can choose medical abortion?
You may choose medical abortion if it is 70 days or less after the first day of your last menstrual period. But you must agree to have a surgical abortion if the medical treatment fails. You also need access to a telephone, transportation and backup medical care.
What if I am still pregnant after taking the medication?
Your clinician will help you decide what to do next. You may wait two to six weeks and check again. You may take more Misoprostol or you may need to have a surgical abortion.
When will I get my period?
Abortion begins a new menstrual cycle. You should have a regular period in four to eight weeks. You may start a method of contraception after the abortion. The clinic or Student Health Center can help you decide what’s right for you.
For further information, pregnancy testing and/or support services you may contact:
- Student Health Center, Medical Clinic: 812-855-6203
- Student Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 812-855-5711
- Student Health Center, Health and Wellness: 812-855-7338
- Planned Parenthood of Indiana - Bloomington Health Center: 812-336-0219
- All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center: 812-558-0089
The following websites may also be helpful: