Abortion at 19: What it’s really like to take abortion pills in the UK

At the clinic, Evelyn had an ultrasound to determine the progress of her pregnancy, before discussing her options with the doctor.

“I opted for medical termination of pregnancy (also known as the abortion pill) over surgical abortion because I didn’t want the hassle of surgery,” she says.

“Both are safe procedures, and oftentimes an abortion is safer than continuing a pregnancy,” says Dr Frances Yarlett, GP and Medical Director of The Lowdown.

“The risks of both types of abortion include infection, heavy bleeding, and failure – where the pregnancy continues after an abortion. However, in surgical abortions, there is also a risk of damage to the uterus and to the cervix, as well as the risks of anesthetics used to calm you down or put you to sleep,” she says.

On the same day, Evelyn took the first dose of the drug, mifepristone, which blocks the main pregnancy hormone, according to the NHS.

“I didn’t feel any physical pain, but I cried after realizing that my decision was finally set in stone. I couldn’t change my mind at this stage of treatment,” Evelyn tells us.

Just 24 hours later, she returned to her second appointment with “painkillers, a hot water bottle and a thick towel” in preparation for the second dose, misoprostol.

This drug “causes the uterus to contract and the pregnancy to pull out of your body,” Dr. Frances tells us.

“On the way home I was already cramping up and started bleeding. Luckily my mum was able to drive me home and kept me company as I faced what felt like a really bad time. intense and nauseating,” says Evelyn.

“Soon after, I felt an intense urge to ‘push’ and ran to the bathroom, where I passed what I thought was the majority of the pregnancy problem. I didn’t dare though. I continued to bleed for a few weeks and had to watch out for any signs of infection, as well as take a pregnancy test sometime after to verify that I was no longer pregnant.

But once the worst was over, a wave of relief washed over Evelyn when she realized she could move on with her life plans.

“Although I had some regrets at first, I found solace in online Facebook groups dedicated to women who have chosen to have abortions.”

Dr. Frances tells us that such feelings after an abortion are completely normal: “The emotional impact of an abortion is complex, ranging from relief to regret, but often a mixture of both.

“These emotions can change over time and are experienced very differently by each individual. It is important to remember that these feelings are all normal, and even if you feel negative emotions or regrets, it does not mean that the decision to have an abortion was wrong.

Evelyn adds: “From time to time, I would think about how old my child was at the time, or what astrological sign he might have been. But I know I made the right decision to put myself and my own future first.

“Now, four years later, I haven’t looked back. I am so grateful for the access we have to healthcare in the UK, and I pray that one day American women will have the same opportunities for bodily autonomy.

For more information on how to access abortion in the UK, visit the NHS website here.

*Name has been changed.

Back To Top