Abortion 101: What You Need to Know in North Carolina
By Leslie Massicotte, Teens Climb High Coordinator
Folks who can become pregnant all throughout history have used abortion as a way to maintain control over their bodies and health.
An abortion is ending a pregnancy before viability, or before the time when a fetus can survive outside the uterus on its own. (Did you know that miscarriages are also technically considered a “spontaneous abortion”?)
There are a lot of strong feelings about abortion in our country and globally. A lot of misinformation is out there about how they work and what it means if someone has an abortion.
However, as it is written in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, individuals have the right to decide if and when they want to have children, and they should not be stigmatized for acting on that right.
Individuals have the right to decide if and when they want to have children
There are two types of legal abortions. Both are safe and effective.
A medical abortion involves taking pills that expel the pregnancy tissues from your body (like an early miscarriage). You can opt for a medical abortion up to 11 weeks after your last period. To learn more about a medical abortion, visit this page.
A surgical abortion involves going into a health clinic where a trained doctor or nurse uses surgical instruments to remove the pregnancy from your uterus. Up to 14-16 weeks after your last period, healthcare providers use a gentle suction to remove the contents of the uterus. This is by far the most common surgical abortion technique. After 16 weeks, doctors use a technique called dilation and evacuation (D&E) to remove the contents of the uterus. To learn more about surgical abortions, visit this page.
People get abortions for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes they’re not ready to be a parent, sometimes they can’t afford another child. Sometimes they’ve been raped or the pregnancy is dangerous to their health. Sometimes having a child would interfere with finishing school or being able to focus on work. Regardless of the reasons, no one should feel ashamed of accessing abortion. In fact, did you know that 1 in 3 women get an abortion in their lifetime?
1 in 3 women get an abortion in their lifetime
North Carolina has put some laws in place that make it harder to access an abortion:
Before receiving an abortion, you must be counseled with information that discourages you from having an abortion. You must also receive an ultrasound.
You then must wait 72 hours after counseling before getting your abortion.
Abortion is not covered by insurance unless the pregnancy is life-threatening or is a result of rape or incest.
You can have an abortion only up to 22 weeks.
For folks under 18 wanting an abortion, you must have your parent’s consent. If you can’t involve your parents, you can obtain a judicial bypass, meaning that you have to meet with a judge (in private) and explain your case. (For more info on the process for minors, visit this page.)
North Carolina also makes it harder for clinics to provide abortions by requiring a bunch of unnecessary standards for the clinics, their staff, and equipment. This means that abortion clinics have had to close because they couldn’t meet the burdensome standards. It also means that 91% of counties in NC don’t have abortion clinics.
Not all states have the same laws. In North Carolina, these laws serve to make abortion access more difficult.
In North Carolina, there are 26 facilities that offer abortions. Here are just a few to check out if you’re searching for abortion services:
A Woman’s Choice (Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte)
A Preferred Woman’s Health (Raleigh and Charlotte)
Hallmark Women’s Health (Fayetteville)
Family Reproductive Health (Charlotte)
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (Asheville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Wilmington, Winston-Salem)
Duke and UNC Hospitals (Durham, Chapel Hill)
Have questions about abortion? Text Abby is a new platform designed for teens to get information about the abortion process in North Carolina. If you would like to be connected with someone to assist you free of charge, TEXT ABBY AT 844-997-2229.
Not sure how you’re going to pay for your abortion? Contact the Carolina Abortion Fund (Helpline: 855-518-4603) to see if funds are available.