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How long do I have to wait to have an abortion?

How long do I have to wait to have an abortion?

The political battle over abortion has created a ticking clock for people seeking abortions. In many states, there are only a handful of clinics, and in several more, people considering abortion have to jump through increasingly ridiculous hoops, including waiting periods. If you’re considering an abortion, the wait you may face could color your decision. So how long do you have to wait to have an abortion? Here’s what you need to know. 

State Waiting Periods 

More than half of states require abortion seekers to wait between 18 hours and 3 days before having an abortion. This means you must contact the clinic and schedule your procedure, then wait a set period of time to have the procedure. So it’s important to make that call as soon as possible if you live in a state with a waiting period. The states with waiting periods are: 

  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Michigan 
  • Wisconsin
  • Idaho
  • South Dakota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • Oklahoma
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Indiana 
  • West Virginia
  • Alabama
  • North Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina 

Abortion Wait Times 

Because abortion clinics are overworked and often understaffed, there may be an additional wait on top of your state’s mandated waiting period: the wait to get an appointment. In some cases, you may wait a week or longer. And if you’re near the state gestational limit, this could foreclose access to abortion. Call and schedule an abortion as soon as you begin thinking about having an abortion. You can always change your mind and cancel later, but delaying an appointment may remove your ability to choose a termination. 

A Faster Timeline for Medication Abortion 

One option for getting around state mandated waiting periods is to consider a medication abortion. The abortion pill is a safe and affordable option. In many cases, you can get a prescription filled at your local pharmacy, then take the pill at home. And even when you can’t, you may be able to get the prescription through the mail. 

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