Driving to Get An Abortion

Illustrated map with diverse paths to abortion clinic and support services

Facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering abortion is a deeply personal and often challenging decision and often involves considerations of a physical, emotional, and logistical nature. In many regions, accessing abortion services may require you to travel long distances, and it’s crucial to have the right information to ensure a safe and smooth process.

Abortion can be in-clinic or self-managed and, thus, it’s crucial to be well-informed and prepared to ensure a safe and stress-free experience. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the steps needed to arrange a trip for abortion care, whether at a clinic or through self-management.

Additionally, we’ll address a common concern: Can you drive after an abortion? People may have access to different means of transport. If you have access to a car, then driving can be convenient. However, some people may be unable to access one or may opt to use public transport, uber, a train, or air travel if the distance is unbearable. It all depends on what is accessible and convenient.

What to consider before the trip

Before embarking on your journey, the first step in arranging travel for an abortion is to understand the legal landscape in your area, determine your gestational age, and consider the available options based on how far along you are.

The gestational age dictates the type of abortion you can have, with a medication abortion (abortion pill) available up to the 13-week mark, after which an in-clinic abortion (surgical) is necessary. Consulting medical staff, trained providers, or abortion counselors can help you make the right decision. Different countries have different laws, and it’s important to understand the legal requirements and restrictions related to abortion in the area you’re visiting. For instance, some states have gestational limits, mandatory counseling, or other regulations that may impact your travel plans.

A Clinic vs. a Self-Managed Abortion

When contemplating an abortion, the first decision you need to make is whether to visit a clinic or explore self-managed options. Abortions performed within a health-care facility encompass a closely monitored medical abortion, manual vacuum aspiration (MVA), an in-clinic abortion, and the management of miscarriages. Typically, these procedures take place in a clinic or a hospital following the prevailing legislation of the country. On the other hand, a self-managed abortion involves using medication to terminate a pregnancy and may require a different set of considerations. If you’re exploring a self-managed abortion, it’s crucial to understand the available methods, risks, and potential complications and to consult with health-care professionals for guidance or seek out reputable sources online, such as safe2choose, that provide reliable information and connect you to trustworthy providers for abortion medications.

Choosing a Clinic and Preparing for the Appointment

It’s essential to note that while individuals and local online groups may help, relying solely on them may pose risks as some may hold anti-abortion views. Instead, opt for reputable pro-choice organizations or online sources like safe2choose. Obtain the necessary medications through a licensed health-care provider, follow the prescribed instructions, and be aware of potential side effects.

Additionally, if you require an in-clinic abortion, choose a renowned health-care provider and facility that prioritizes safety, confidentiality, and comprehensive care. Research clinics or hospitals in your destination that specialize in reproductive health-care services and have a positive reputation. Reading reviews, seeking recommendations, and contacting health-care professionals or services like safe2choose counseling can help you make an informed decision.

For individuals considering an in-clinic abortion, it’s important to coordinate with the chosen clinic to schedule appointments for consultations, counseling (if required), and the abortion procedure. Be sure to ask about any pre-appointment requirements and potential waiting periods. Explore transportation options to the clinic, considering factors such as distance, cost, and convenience. Some individuals may opt for public transportation, while others may choose to drive.

Driving After an Abortion

The ability to drive after an abortion depends on several factors, including the type of procedure, individual recovery times, distance, sedation or anesthesia, pain medications, and the physical toll of the procedure; it can impact your alertness and reaction time. In most cases, it is safe to drive after an abortion as driving a car does not require physical activity, especially if you’ve undergone a medication abortion. In fact, after undergoing an abortion, many women can resume driving shortly thereafter, provided they take the necessary precautions and refrain from engaging in activities demanding intense physical exertion. However, the physical recovery period varies among individuals, with some experiencing minimal discomfort and others needing more time to recuperate. Understand the typical recovery timeline and any restrictions on physical activities, including driving. If you are experiencing significant pain, dizziness, or any adverse effects, it’s advisable to avoid driving until you feel more comfortable and capable.

What to consider after the trip

Recovery and self-care

Most importantly, you need to prioritize rest and recovery. It’s also critical to take the necessary supplies for your personal health with you and ensure you have access to public restrooms. Stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet to aid in your recovery. Additionally, your health-care provider will issue guidelines on when it is safe to resume normal activities, and it’s crucial to adhere to these recommendations for your well-being.

Emotional support

Notably, arranging travel for an abortion can be emotionally challenging. Above everything, prioritize your mental and emotional well-being by seeking support from friends, family, or mental health professionals, although many individuals prefer to maintain their privacy. This leads to many people finding comfort in online communities or support groups where they can share experiences and advice.

Post-Abortion Care

Post-abortion care, including any recommended rest periods or follow-up appointments, must also be planned for. Ensure you have access to the necessary medication, information about potential side effects, and contact details for health-care professionals in case of emergencies. Regardless of the abortion method chosen, prioritize self-care; rest, hydration, and emotional well-being are essential during the recovery process.

Author: Ms. Doris Kathia is a communications specialist and the Director at Raise Your Voice CBO.