Frequently Asked Questions

Womens Health Care Center
2701 General Pershing St
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 899-6010
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Is abortion legal?
Yes. In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the right to abortion is protected by the U.S. Constitution. However, after the first trimester of pregnancy, each state has the right to regulate how a woman can access abortion care. Furthermore, states can choose to restrict access to abortion care after the second trimester.

Louisiana is one of the most restrictive states in the nation. Women seeking an abortion in Louisiana must receive state-directed counseling, then wait 24-hours to have her abortion procedure. Additionally, women must receive a mandatory ultrasound and, starting in 2012, be offered the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat. Furthermore, the parent of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided and public funding for abortion is available only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

What are the risks of abortion?
All medical procedures have some risk. The risks associated with abortion vary depending on which type of abortion is chosen. However, abortion is one of the safest surgical procedures for women in the United States. Fewer than 0.5% of women obtaining abortions experience a complication, and the risk of death associated with abortion is about one-tenth that associated with childbirth. Abortion is the second most commonly performed medical procedure for women in the last thirty years, second to Caesarean sections.

For more information about the safety of abortion, please refer to this fact sheet from the National Abortion Federation.

Is an abortion painful?
There is pain and discomfort associated with both the medical and surgical abortion procedures. In the case of the surgical procedure, most women find the procedure uncomfortable but bearable. Some women, perhaps because they are anxious about the abortion, or just particularly sensitive to pain, describe abortion as being quite painful. Every woman's body is unique, so every woman's experience is different.

How long will I be at the clinic?
Each clinic visit lasts between 3-5 hours. The first appointment includes completing a medical history, doing lab work and an ultrasound, and watching a video which explains more about both the medical and surgical abortion procedures. Patients will also have an opportunity to speak one-on-one with a physician in a private setting.

The length of the second appointment depends on the type of procedure chosen. While the surgical abortion procedure takes just minutes, patients will spend at least 30 minutes in recovery.

When can I return to normal activity?
Most women resume normal activities the next day. Strenuous activities, such as biking, exercise, and heavy lifting, should be avoided for three weeks.

Additionally, to reduce the risk of infection of the vagina or uterus, nothing should be inserted into the vagina until the follow-up exam has been completed three weeks after your procedure. This includes no tampons, no douching, no swimming, hot tub or Jacuzzi or tub baths (shower only).

When can I have sex?
Engaging in sexual intercourse is strongly discouraged until after the three-week examination. In most cases, abortion will not affect future pregnancies. Moreover, it is possible to become pregnant immediately after an abortion, before the next period starts, so choosing the best method of contraception must be considered before you resume having sexual intercourse to avoid another unplanned pregnancy.

How can I expect to feel emotionally after an abortion?
Rapid hormonal changes after a termination may result in emotional or psychological changes for a woman. Still, other women may be affected by guilt, emotional conflict, regret or sadness. There is no way to know how a patient will be affected but these are all normal reactions. Therefore, it is important that the decision to terminate a pregnancy be given careful consideration.

When will I get my next menstrual period?
You can expect to get a normal period about 4 to 8 weeks after the abortion. Often the first menstrual period after an abortion is heavier than normal.

Does insurance cover the cost of an abortion?
Although nearly two-thirds of insurance companies nationwide cover elective abortion to some degree, Louisiana state law forbids insurance coverage of abortion.

Does Medicaid or other state-assisted health insurance cover the cost of an abortion?
Medicaid is only required to cover abortion in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. No state-assisted health insurance plans are permitted to cover abortion in Louisiana.
Female Physicians

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At Women's Health Care Center, we have all female physicians.  We understand the importance of your individual needs. It is our goal to make you feel comfortable and to know you are in the care of dedicated, qualified doctors who are devoted to you and your well-being. You deserve to have your doctor listen carefully and understand your unique situation.
Right To Know

Please visit the Department of Health and Hospital's website for abortion alternatives and informed consent at http://pregnancyinfo.la.gov

At Women's Health Care Center, we have all female physicians.  We understand the importance of your individual needs. It is our goal to make you feel comfortable and to know you are in the care of dedicated, qualified doctors who are devoted to you and your well-being. You deserve to have your doctor listen carefully and understand your unique situation.

COUNSELING

The state of Louisiana requires each patient to complete counseling performed by a physician 24 hours prior to when abortion services are rendered. During this session you will receive documents provided by the state concerning the risk and possible complications as well as a directory of alternative services. The counseling consists of an ultrasound to determine how far along you are in the pregnancy. Patients will also complete a lab to determine blood RH factor and check for iron levels. Each patient will also view an informational video about pregnancy options. After completing counseling, patients may set up an appointment for the procedure. The total cost of the procedure will be given upon scheduling the second appointment. There is a fee of $150 that covers the expense of your ultrasound and lab, this fee will be deducted from the total price of your abortion.

 
MEDICAL ABORTION

Abortion by pill is a safe procedure to terminate an early pregnancy. Women's Health Care Center has extensive experience with this method. The pregnancy should not exceed 63 days (approximately two months) from the first day of a woman's last normal period. Further, the woman must also be in good health. Those that choose this method of termination must be available to make several visits to the clinic. Due to the possibility of severe birth defects that may be caused by the abortin pill, one must agree to have a surgical abortion should this method fail to terminate the pregnancy.

Women who choose this method will be given an ultrasound to verify the length of the pregnancy. You will view a video that fully explains the procedure, the risks, the possible complications and aftercare. Written material including take-home instructions and a pamphlet provided by the FDA will be given to you. Before and after taking the pill, you will be given every opportunity to ask questions of the counselor and the physician.

The pill works by taking a combination of two medications, one taken at our clinic the other at home. These medications work in combination to cause a medical miscarriage. The first pill which is the actual abortion pill, is administered at the clinic. This pill will cause the pregnancy to separate from the lining of the uterus. You will be given a prescription of between four (4) and eight (8) Misopristol tablets to insert vaginally. You will need to go to a pharmacy to obtain these medications. You will be instructed by the physician when and how to insert these tablets. Within a few hours of insertion, most women will begin to bleed and cramp with the expectation that they will successfully expel the pregnancy. You will be given all necessary verbal and written instructions and an emergency telephone number to call should you have questions, need reassurance or have any medical problems. What to expect and side effects are fully explained before any medication is administered. Patients who complete a medical abortion must return to the clinic for a follow-up appointment.

 
SURGICAL ABORTION

Women’s Health Care Center provides surgical abortions from 8 weeks to 12 weeks in pregnancy. The cost of the procedure increases as the number of weeks of pregnancy increases. For more information on the costs, please visit our Fees page.

During a first trimester abortion, the lining of the uterus is carefully removed through a medical procedure called vacuum aspiration. This procedure usually takes just minutes to complete and most women will experience menstrual-like cramping during and after the procedure. Vacuum aspiration is approximately 99% effective.

After the procedure, it is normal to have some of the following symptoms for a few days: mild cramping, vaginal bleeding, breast tenderness and fluid, and to feel a little tired or "down." Additionally, you may have a menstrual period anywhere from four to eight weeks after the procedure.

Strenuous activity should be avoided for two weeks; however, most women resume normal activity the day after the procedure. Any prescriptions provided by the clinic should be filled immediately and taken as prescribed.

 
MINORS

In the state of Louisiana, if you are under the age of eighteen, you are considered a minor.  In order for a minor to receive an abortion, the parent or legal guardian of the minor will need to give consent to the abortion.  During your counseling visit at the clinic, one of the staff members will give you a Parental Consent form.  This form must be filled out by the minor's parent or guardian in front of a notary, notarized and brought with the minor patient at the time of the termination appointment.

If the minor is emancipated, the minor will need to bring legal documentation showing the emancipation and will not need to obtain parental consent.  A minor can show emancipation through marriage or through legal proceedings.

If the minor cannot obtain parental consent, the minor can obtain a Judicial Bypass by submitting an application with the Clerk of Court in the parish where the minor is domiciled or in the parish where the abortion is to be performed. 
All minor patients will complete a minor investigation form which will ask if the conception was consensual, or a result of molestation or rape.  This form will also ask the age of the person the minor is pregnant for.  The Delta Clinic asks the age of the person the minor is pregnant for due to the Carnal Knowledge Sex Crime Statutes in Louisiana.
 
A Felony Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile is committed when a person who is 17 years of age or older has sexual intercourse, with consent, with a person who is 13 years of age or older but less than 17 years of age, when the victim is not the spouse of the offender and when the difference between the age of the victim and the age of the offender is four years or greater.

A Misdemeanor Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile is committed when a person who is 17 years of age or older has sexual intercourse, with consent, with a person who is 13 years of age or older but less than 17 years of age, when the victim is not the spouse of the offender, and when the difference between the age of the victim and age of the offender is greater than two years, but less than four years.
 
Click this link for the Louisiana State Law that outlines Abortion and Minors:
LA RS 40:1299.35.5 Minors
 
Click this link for the Louisiana State Law that outlines Felony Carnal Knowledge:
LA RS 14:80

Click this link for the Louisiana State Law that outlines Misdemeanor Carnal Knowledge:
LA RS 14:80.1

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2701 General Pershing St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Call Us at: (504) 899-6010