As extreme abortion restriction spring up across the country, many pregnant people are rushing to get abortions as early as possible. So how early in a pregnancy can you get an abortion? That depends on a number of factors, including the provider and how soon you learn about the pregnancy. But here are some general guidelines you need to know.
Pregnancy 101: How Gestation is Calculated
To understand early abortions, you first must understand how doctors calculate pregnancy. Your gestation–how far along you are–is calculated based on the date of your last menstrual period, not on the date of conception. So if it has been 4 weeks since your last period, you are 4 weeks pregnant, no matter when you think you conceived.
How Early Can I Get an Abortion?
You can get a medication abortion as soon as you are pregnant and meet any state-specific waiting periods or abortion requirements.
Most people are unable to detect a pregnancy before 4 weeks, and it is scientifically impossible to detect a pregnancy before implantation happens, which is usually about 3 weeks. This means that the earliest possible time you could get an abortion is at around 4 weeks. However, if your period is irregular or you delay testing, it might be several weeks later. This is why 6 week abortion bans are so restrictive and harmful.
Surgical abortions can only happen once the developing pregnancy is large enough to see–usually around 6 or 7 weeks.
Early Abortion Options
Early in the first trimester, you can safely access medication abortion via the abortion pill, RU486. And thanks to a new FDA rule, you can take the abortion pill after a telemedicine visit, allowing you to fill the prescription at home and take the medication when it’s comfortable for you to do so. For many people in early pregnancy, this is the safest and lowest stress option.
Later in the first trimester, you can consider a surgical abortion. Providers usually offer these after about 7 weeks gestation. The earlier you have surgery, the easier surgery is likely to be and the less likely you are to face state level restrictions or abortion complications. So if you’re considering abortion, call your local abortion clinic as early as possible.
Learn more about choosing a safe abortion clinic. | call an abortion clinic nearest you and ask how early in pregnancy can I get an abortion?
Learn about abortion clinic state regulations on Guttmacher Institute website.