Frequently Asked Questions

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

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