Frequently Asked Questions
Q | Which type of abortion is best for me?
A | Women who are no more than 9 weeks into the pregnancy have the option of either a surgical or medical abortion. The following chart is a side-by-side comparison of the two options. view Medical Abortion vs. Surgical Chart
Q | Will the surgical abortion hurt?
A | A surgical abortion can cause cramping, similar to cramping experienced with a menstrual period. Pain medication is given before and after the procedure. Remember the procedure lasts 5-10 minutes, depending on how far you are into the pregnancy. With assistance of the surgical assistant and the pain medication, you will be able to get through the procedure with minimal difficulty. If you are very fearful of pain or have a low pain tolerance, for an additional fee of $60 you can get an injection of pain medication and Phenergan for improved pain control.
Q | Can my boyfriend/husband/mother/ friend be in the procedure room with me?
A | No, only medical personnel are allowed on the surgery side of the clinic. This policy is both for safety and confidentiality reasons. We keep your loved ones informed of your progress, especially if they are nervous or anxious about you.
Q | I am 16 years old, can I come by myself?
A | The state of Tennessee requires that you have one parent consent or agree to your having an abortion. If you are unable to tell your parent(s) or legal guardian(s), you will need a judicial bypass. Please call our office for assistance. Parental Consent [PDF]
Q | What if I change my mind after I’m at the clinic?
A | A woman can change her mind at any point in the surgical process up until the physician actually begins the procedure. Once the doctor has inserted the instruments into the woman’s vagina, there is no turning back until the procedure is complete. Also, if you receive a medication called Cytotec (used to soften the cervix) you must proceed with the procedure. Cytotec can cause birth defects. If you have chosen medical abortion and taken the first medication (Mifeprex) by mouth, you MUST take the 2nd set of medicines to complete the procedure. Failure to do so may prevent a complete abortion, cause infection, birth defects to an ongoing pregnancy or other complications.
Q | How long can I expect to be there?
A | Although the actual surgical procedure itself lasts 5-10 minutes, with new laws and restrictions in place and a required 48 hour waiting period, two visits are now required. You can expect to be at the center for 2-4 hours for each visit. The first visit will include medical history, ultrasound, lab, informed consent, video and educational materials to review as well as individual counseling sessions. The second visit will include the procedure itself , whether surgical or medical, and recovery time for surgical patients. So there are a lot of “other” time-consuming parts of your visit here. We strive to give you the individual attention you deserve, but remember on busy days, there are many other women needing all these services too.
Q | Will there be protesters?
A | Typically, we have a few protesters standing on the sidewalk. They are not allowed in our parking lot or on our property. You are in no way obligated to talk to them or accept their brochures. We encourage you and your loved ones to ignore them, not to talk or engage with them at all.
Q | What should I wear and bring with me?
A | Wear loose and comfortable clothing. Bring a warm hoodie or jacket, warm socks and a light blanket or throw (even in the summer months) as the surgery side of the building is kept very cold (cold temperatures help reduce women’s nausea before, during and after the procedure). You will only be undressing from the waist down. We will provide you with everything you need to be as comfortable as possible while you are here. Bring a sanitary pad for the ride home in case you need to change one. If you are asthmatic, please bring your inhaler or any other medications you might need. Always take prescribed medicines as usual. Diabetics might want to bring a glucose monitor with them to track levels, if needed. NO cell phones are allowed beyond the reception desk. You can leave your phone with your driver or safely at the reception desk. We also ask that you try to limit the number of people coming with you to one.
A | You can pay by cash, or credit card – Visa, Master Card or Discover. No personal checks will be accepted. Payment must be made at time of your service. There are no payment plan arrangements possible. Our experience has shown us that once the crisis has passed so has the agreement to follow through on a payment plan.
There are limited funds available for financial assistance. As a National Abortion Federation (NAF) provider clinic, funding is now more available due to the generosity of an anonymous NAF donor.
This funding is based on income and family size and is available in states (Tennessee included) in which Medicaid (TennCare) or state government does not offer financial assistance. Please inquire to see if you qualify.
Q | I had an abortion last week and I’m testing positive on a home pregnancy test. Am I still pregnant?
A | We strongly encourage you not to do a home pregnancy test before returning for your follow up appointment at the center, or your own doctor. Pregnancy hormones levels can be detected by a pregnancy test for 3-4 weeks after a surgical or medical abortion, even though you are no longer pregnant. Doing a home test can be confusing and unnecessarily frightening. We will perform a pregnancy test for you at the time of your follow-up visit.
Q | Will a Doctor be able to tell I had an abortion?
A | It is unlikely that a doctor can tell you had an abortion after your cervix has healed, at about 3 weeks after your procedure. However, a pregnancy and abortion procedure is an important part of your medical history, and we encourage honesty with your doctor. We also understand the fear and concern of being “judged” or treated badly by medical personnel. Most OB/ GYNs are supportive of all reproduction choices, including abortion. However; there are some anti-choice doctors. Ask us and we can recommend some good supportive gynecologists.
Q | Will I be able to get pregnant after my abortion?
A | There is no evidence of fertility or childbearing problems after an abortion. Having an abortion does not interfere with your ability to have children in the future.