Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Quality Compassionate Reproductive Health Care Personalized to Fit Your Needs

About FPA Chicago Abortion and Family Planning Clinics

Family Planning Associates (FPA) is one of the most trusted independent abortion providers in the United States. FPA is committed to providing confidential and personalized care. Patient education is an important part of our practice.

It is normal to have questions, and it can be difficult to find unbiased information about abortion on the internet. The information provided on our website is based on the care provided in our practice and current medical research. We also offer referrals to unbiased organizations such as the National Abortion Federation and The Guttmacher Institute, if you want to explore additional information.

We want you to feel comfortable walking into our offices, and hope that these frequently asked questions will help. If you have other questions or concerns please let us know. You can call 312-707-8988 or email us.

What is the Abortion pill?

The abortion pill uses two medicines to cause a miscarriage and end a pregnancy. The medication abortion is a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy, up to 77 days, in the privacy of your home.

This is a non-invasive procedure that feels more natural for some people. You can be with a spouse, partner, family member or trusted friend, for support with the medical abortion. Patients who want a less invasive procedure, prefer the medication abortion.

The first step involves an office visit, including an ultrasound, lab work and exam. Mifepristone ends the pregnancy. Pregnancies need a hormone called progesterone to grow and mifepristone stops your body from making this hormone.

Misoprostol helps your body pass the pregnancy and causes bleeding and strong cramping. 24-48 hours after your office visit you will take misoprostol and you must stay home for 12-24 hours.  During this time, should rest until your bleeding and cramping is light.

A few days later you will have a phone interview with one of our staff to talk about your experience. You may need to return to the office for us to confirm that you are not longer pregnant. Most of the time you will take a pregnancy test at home four weeks later, and if the test is negative you and we will know the medication abortion worked. Because if your pregnancy test is positive four weeks after the abortion you may still be pregnant. Call us immediately if this happens so we can schedule you for another ultrasound.

Will it hurt?

The pain will be the worst after you take the second medication, misoprostol at home. Cramps similar to heavy period cramps are common, and for some people the cramping and pressure can be very severe.

We will give you prescription pain medication.

If you want to feel less cramping you can take one of the pain medications 30 minutes before taking misoprostol. Take your pain medications on a regular schedule until your pain is gone or light. If you are not taking pain medication regularly, it will not help with your pain because it only works for 4-6 hours.

Unfortunately, if you wait until you are in pain to take medications you will be in pain longer, because the pain medication takes time to work.

Do not use any aspirin medications like Bayer, Excedrin, BC, or Goody’s.

Milder cramps, like period cramps or less, may last for a few weeks after you pass the pregnancy.

How will I know that the abortion was successful?

The only way to know if the abortion was successful is to return for your follow-up visit 1-2 weeks later. In our experience, it is possible to have heavy bleeding and cramping and pass clots, yet still be pregnant. In very rare cases, the pregnancy can continue to grow and progress after taking the ‘abortion pill’. This is why it is so important to return within a few weeks of your procedure.

What if the pill doesn’t work?

After you take the abortion pill, you must make sure the medicines worked. We will call you for a telephone interview. After this call we may ask you to come back to the office for another ultrasound. If you still feel pregnant or think that the medication did not work, call us right away. We will also ask you to take a urine pregnancy test 4 weeks after the abortion. If this test is positive call us immediately. You may still be pregnant.

If you are still pregnant after you take the medication abortion you have two options. Usually you can take more medicine or have a suction procedure to complete the abortion.

Rarely, some of the pregnancy may still be in the uterus after some pregnancy tissue passes. If this happens you could have heavy bleeding, infection, or both. To prevent these complications, you may need a suction procedure, more medications, more tests or treatments.

Sometimes clots in the uterus can cause cramping and pain in the belly and/or lower back. If this happens, you may need a suction procedure or medication to help pass the clots.

You will not have to make another payment if you need more medical care to complete the abortion. This means you will not be asked to pay more if you need more medications or a suction procedure in our office. You must return to our office if you think that you are still pregnant or if our staff ask you to come back. We provide abortion care up to 24 weeks but it you need to go to another clinic or hospital to complete the abortion you will be responsible for the cost of that care.

Can I exercise after taking the pill?

You can exercise the day after you take the second medication at home. However you should not exercise if you feel like you have not passed the pregnancy.

After you exercise, if your bleeding increases stop exercising. If this happens you should be less active and do not exercise again until your bleeding is lighter.

How long will I bleed after taking the pill?

Your bleeding will be heaviest after you take the misoprostol at home on the second day. The type of bleeding you have will change. At first, the bleeding may be heavier than your normal period, and it may include blood clots.

Once the pregnancy has passed, bleeding will slow down. You may bleed or spot for 4 to 6 weeks after the abortion. The bleeding can stop and start again many times.

Can I use tampons after taking the abortion pill?

When your bleeding has been light for 24 hours you can use a tampon instead of a pad.

How effective is the abortion pill?

Approximately 1.75 million people in the U.S. and millions more worldwide have chosen the abortion pill to end a pregnancy. It is effective approximately 91-98% of the time. How well the medication works depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy.

If you take the abortion pill when you are 8 weeks or less pregnant it works about 98 out of 100 times.

If you take the abortion pill when you are 8-9 weeks pregnant it works about 96 out of 100 times.

If you take the abortion pill when you are 9-10 weeks pregnant it works about 91-93 out of 100 times. But if you take an extra dose of misoprostol it works 99 out of 100 times.

If you take the abortion pill when you are 10-11 weeks pregnant it works about 87 out of 100 times. But if you take an extra dose of misoprostol it works 98 out of 100 times.

 

When can I return to school or work?

You will take the Mifeprex in our office on ‘day one’ after having an exam, ultrasound, lab work and signing consents. You can go to work, school or make other plans that day, it is very rare that you would start to bleed or pass the pregnancy after taking the first medicine alone. You should make arrangements to be at home on ‘day two’ for at least 24 hours after taking the Cytotec (the second medication). The bleeding and cramping is moderate to heavy for most women and you should not be at school or work while you are passing the pregnancy. In most cases you can return to your regular obligations and activities the following day.

If I can’t come back to FPA for my follow-up appointment, can I just see my doctor or take a home pregnancy test?

By consenting to take the abortion pill at FPA, you also commit to returning to our office for your follow-up appointment. If you know that you are unable to return to see us, you should not take the abortion pill with us. In order to confirm that the abortion is complete, it is necessary for us to do an ultrasound. The abortion pill procedure is not 100% effective. If the abortion is not complete, only FPA can provide you with the additional medications or services needed to complete it. Home pregnancy tests can remain positive for over a month in some cases.

What is the difference between local anesthesia and sedation?

Local anesthesia is a cervical block (injection of numbing medication) performed before your surgery. While your cervix will be numbed, you will be awake during the procedure and it is normal to feel some strong cramping and discomfort.

Sedation is administered intravenously through an IV placed in your hand or arm in most cases. If you are sedated for your procedure you will not feel or remember any pain or discomfort.

Will it hurt?

If you have chosen to have sedation, you will not feel or remember any pain during your procedure. After the procedure you may experience mild to moderate cramping, if needed we will give you pain medication.

If you have chosen to have local anesthesia with your procedure we will numb your cervix but you will feel some cramping, pain and pressure from the uterus. Some patients describe the pain as minimal while some patients find the pain to be more severe. You will be offered pain medication, and in some cases we can provide you a medication to help you feel more relaxed.

Once you are discharged, in most cases ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol/Midol) will help with the cramping. If the cramping is not helped by these over the counter medications, you should call us immediately.

How long will I be under sedation?

You will be unaware for about 5-10 minutes with a first trimester abortion, or about 10-20 minutes with a second trimester abortion. The medications used for sedation work very quickly and wear off very quickly as well. Most patients are alert and oriented within 5 minutes of their procedure.

I am afraid I won’t wake up after having sedation. Can that happen?

The sedation that we offer is safe, effective and short acting. You will be asleep for 5-20 minutes depending on the procedure. There is always some degree of risk with any surgery. Serious complications with sedation are very rare in our facilities. Complications may occur if a patient has ingested any food or liquid within 8 hours of surgery. Tell our staff if you have had prior complications with anesthesia or if you have had anything to eat or drink within 8 hours prior to your surgery, including gum and water.

How long will I bleed after an abortion procedure?

In most cases, the patient experiences bleeding for up to 2 to 3 weeks after the abortion procedure. However, some patients do not experience any bleeding and other patients have spotting or bleeding off and on. If you have any questions about what is normal after your procedure, you can always call the office. A 24-hour on-call service is available for after hours.

How is the in-office abortion procedure performed?

The first trimester abortion is a simple procedure performed by aspiration (suction). This procedure is referred to as a D&C (Dilation and Curettage). This procedure generally takes about 3 to 5 minutes.

If you are over 13 weeks pregnant, you will first have your cervix dilated with medication and/or sterile product made specifically for cervical dilation (laminaria dilators). This procedure is referred to as a D&E (Dilation and Extraction), and lasts 1 to 3 days. In some cases, a patient will require one or two consecutive days of dilation and will return for the procedure on the second or third day. The dilation procedure takes just a few minutes and you will be in the clinic for a few hours on the day or days that your cervix is being dilated. In some cases, we can administer a medication on the morning of your procedure that will soften and dilate the cervix without the need for insertion of dilators.

When can I return to work?

The majority of our patients return to work or school the following day. The admitting and medical staff will explain the DOs and DON’Ts after surgery.

Can I have someone with me during the procedure or in the recovery room?

Your support person will not be able to join you during the medical parts of the visit, including the exam rooms and recovery room. We must protect the privacy of all of our patients, and for that reason we cannot allow guest in these areas.

We encourage your support person to wait for you in our reception area. If this is not possible, they can return for you upon completion of your appointment.

After an abortion, when can I have sex?

When bleeding has been light for 24 hours, you may resume intercourse, provided you feel emotionally and physically ready to do so. You are the best judge of your feelings. You should use contraception when you decide to resume intercourse if you wish to avoid pregnancy. You are at risk for pregnancy right away after having an abortion.

Can I take a taxi or public transportation home?

Taking public transportation after surgery is not recommended. If no other method of transportation is available, we require that an adult must accompany you.

Can I use tampons after my procedure?

When bleeding has been light for 24 hours, you may use a tampon.

How effective is a surgical abortion?

In most cases, a surgical abortion is nearly 100% effective. In less than 0.3% of cases, a pregnancy is not terminated on the first attempt. Such a failure is most common in pregnancies of less than six weeks’ duration. A very small percentage of surgical cases will require a re-aspiration if unusual bleeding occurs or if there is retained pregnancy tissue.

How will I feel after my abortion procedure?

Most patients feel very ‘normal’ when they leave the office after having an abortion. You will probably be hungry and maybe a little more tired than normal. We recommend that you have a full meal and then take it easy for the rest of the day. It is normal to experience some mild to moderate cramping. If the cramping is not helped by over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Advil or Aleve we ask that you call our 24-hour emergency number. The bleeding is usually comparable to a normal period and some patients do not have any bleeding at all. If at any point you soak one full maxi-pad in an hour or less you should call us immediately.

If you have had pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, fatigue or breast tenderness, these symptoms will start to go away within a few days of the procedure. If you still ‘feel pregnant’ after a few days, you should call us right away.

You may take a shower or tub bath after your procedure. Do not douche, use tampons, have intercourse, or place anything in the vagina for two weeks after having a surgical abortion. Avoid any products that contain aspirin or alcohol as they can promote heavier bleeding.

Why can’t I eat before having the abortion procedure?

When sedation is provided, gag reflexes are temporarily suppressed. If food or liquid remain in the stomach vomiting can occur, resulting in asphyxiation (choking). This can cause serious complications and in very rare cases death. Please inform our staff if you have had anything at all to eat or drink on the day of your procedure.

Is it a doctor who performs the procedure?

Yes. All of our doctors are licensed by the State of Illinois, are board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and specialize in pregnancy termination.

What happens to the pregnancy tissue removed during the abortion?

The pregnancy tissue that is removed during the procedure is sent to a pathology laboratory where it is weighed and examined, most often microscopically. A report detailing this examination is sent to our office within a week of the procedure. The tissue then disposed of in accordance with the mandates of state law–most often this means it will be cremated (incinerated).

How will I know that the abortion was successful?

Our physicians at FPA are very thorough and take multiple steps to ensure that the abortion procedure is complete. First, the physician will examine the pregnancy tissue after the surgery. Second, a post-operative ultrasound can be performed at the request of the physician. Third, the pregnancy tissue that is removed during the procedure is sent to a pathology laboratory where it is weighed and examined, most often microscopically. A report, detailing this examination, is sent to our office within a week of the procedure. After reviewing the pathology reports the physician decides whether a follow up visit is needed. We will contact you if the physician requests that you come in for an evaluation. We want to ensure that your pregnancy hormones are falling at the appropriate rate and that you are recovering well. Lastly, in some cases if you are very early in the pregnancy at the time of your surgery, the doctor may request that you return to the clinic 2-3 days after your abortion for a blood test to ensure that the procedure was successful.

Can I exercise after an abortion procedure?

Most often you can go back to your regular activities the day after your procedure. Strenuous exercise can sometimes increase the amount of bleeding and cramping that you experience. If you notice an increase in your bleeding or cramping after exercising you may want to decrease your activity for a few days. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. If at any point you fully soak a maxi-pad in one hour or less, after your procedure, you should call us right away.

Do you provide me with birth control?

Yes. We offer birth control to our patients immediately after the abortion, if they are medically eligible. The clinician and physician will evaluate your needs and assist you with finding an appropriate birth control method. In most cases we provide one full year of birth control.

When do I start my birth control?

In most cases, you should start your birth control on the first Sunday after your abortion procedure unless you are provided different instructions by our medical staff on the day of your visit.

Starting birth control as soon as you can after your procedure may help to reduce the amount of bleeding you have after an abortion and it will often help regulate your periods sooner. If you do not start your birth control right away after your procedure it is possible for you to become pregnant again within just a few weeks of the abortion.

Can I have an IUD (Mirena, Sklya or Paragard) right away after the abortion?

Yes, we provide intrauterine device (such as the Mirena, Skyla and Paragard) insertions immediately following an abortion procedure. One of the benefits of having an IUD inserted on the same day as an abortion procedure is that we can insert the IUD while you are still under sedation, so you will not feel any discomfort during the insertion.

If you are having the abortion pill procedure, we can insert an IUD on the day of your required follow up visit, in most cases.

An IUD is one of the most effective forms of birth control available. Please see our ‘Helpful Links’ page for more information about your IUD options. Most private insurance companies cover birth control, including an IUD. If you are not using your insurance for the abortion procedure, we are still happy to check your insurance for birth control coverage.

What kind of birth control is best for me?

Finding the ‘best’ birth control method can take some time. Your needs and preferences are unique to you. Your sister may really like the ‘depo shot’ but you might prefer birth control pills or Skyla. Every woman is different–keep in mind that you may need to try a couple of different methods before you find the right birth control for you!

We recommend that you explore your options before you come in for your visit. You can go to our ‘Helpful Links’ page for more information on birth control options.

Keep in mind that most birth control methods do not help to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV and chlamydia. It is important to use a condom every time you have sex to protect yourself, especially if you or your partner have more than one sex partner. Some STDs are viruses can cannot be cured which means that they will never ‘go away’. If you have an STD and it is not treated quickly, it can make it harder for you to become pregnant in the future (infertility). At FPA we provide STD testing and referrals for free STD testing at your request.

How much does it cost to have an abortion?

Our fees are based on the length of pregnancy and your out of pocket cost will depend on your insurance coverage. Often insurance can help to reduce your out of pocket expenses.

Since January 1, 2018 Illinois Medicaid includes coverage for abortion care. If you have current Illinois coverage or are eligible and willing to apply for coverage we can provide free abortion services for you. It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete the application and it can be done online.

Once you have been approved for Illinois Medicaid coverage we will be able to provide you with a free medication abortion up to 10.0 weeks, free in-office abortion procedure with sedation (asleep) or awake (local anesthesia) up to 13.6 weeks, or free second trimester abortion care including cervical preparation and sedation.

If you would like to know if you are eligible for Illinois Medicaid coverage click here to visit the ABE website for more detailed information.

If you live outside of Illinois or are not eligible for Illinois Medicaid, please know that Family Planning Associates does offer affordable abortion, gynecological care, and family planning services. While abortion services are not free of charge entirely we will do everything we can to help you get the financial assistance you need. Please let one of our staff members know if you are facing financial hardship and need help with your payment.

Please call us for more information. We will work with you and help you obtain financial assistance so that you can come in as soon as possible for the care that you need.

Are you a free clinic?

We offer free pregnancy tests and basic ultrasounds for pregnancy dating at all of our locations.

Since January 1, 2018 Illinois Medicaid includes coverage for abortion care. If you have current Illinois coverage or are eligible and willing to apply for coverage we can provide free abortion services for you. It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete the application and it can be done online.

Once you have been approved for Illinois Medicaid coverage we will be able to provide you with a free medication abortion up to 10.0 weeks, free in-office abortion procedure with sedation (asleep) or awake (local anesthesia) up to 13.6 weeks, or free second trimester abortion care including cervical preparation and sedation.

If you would like to know if you are eligible for Illinois Medicaid coverage click here to visit the ABE website for more detailed information.

If you live outside of Illinois or are not eligible for Illinois Medicaid, please know that Family Planning Associates does offer affordable abortion, gynecological care, and family planning services. While abortion services are not free of charge entirely we will do everything we can to help you get the financial assistance you need. Please let one of our staff members know if you are facing financial hardship and in need of help with your payment.

If I have no money can you help me get a free abortion?

If you have current Illinois Medicaid coverage or are eligible for Illinois Medicaid and willing to apply for coverage, we are able to provide abortion care for you at no cost.

Starting January 1, 2018 Illinois Medicaid began covering abortion care, for all women receiving their health benefits, making the abortion procedure free for you. This includes free medication abortion up to 10.0 weeks and free in-office abortion care with sedation up to 23.3 weeks.

For women who live out of state or are not eligible for Illinois Medicaid- at FPA we work very hard to make sure that all patients can afford our services regardless of insurance coverage. We offer discounted fees when a patient is uninsured or facing financial hardship. Many of our patients receive financial assistance from The National Abortion Federation and other abortion funds when possible. We will work with you to help you get the financial assistance you need.

Can I use my parent’s insurance?

Yes, if you are listed as a dependent on their insurance plan you can use your parent(s) insurance. Please note that not all insurance policies cover our services, we will need to check your benefits before your appointment. Once we have this information we will let you know about your benefit details before you come in for your visit. This information will allow you to financially prepare for your visit.

With most insurance carriers, an explanation of benefits or ‘EOB’ is sent to the ‘primary’ person on the policy, your parent, by mail or electronically. While we will never notify your parent(s) about your medical care without your permission, it is possible that your parent(s) may have access to the billing information we provide to your insurance company. If this is a concern for you, we recommend that you contact your insurance company to discuss their policy on confidential services.

Will my parents find out?

With most insurance carriers, an explanation of benefits or ‘EOB’ is sent to the ‘primary’ person on the policy by mail or electronically. While we will never notify your parent(s) about your medical care without your permission, it is possible that your parent(s) may have access to the billing information we provide to your insurance company. If this is a concern for you, we recommend that you contact your insurance company to discuss their policy on confidential services.

If you have a unique concern or special request that would help us protect your privacy, please inform our staff.

Does my boyfriend’s insurance cover my services?

Insurance companies will only cover services for patients who are listed on the insurance policy. Since your partner will not be receiving medical treatment from our facility we cannot bill their insurance company for the service unless you are also listed on the plan as a spouse or a domestic partner.

Does my partner need to know?

We will never notify your partner about your medical care with our your permission. However, if you are using health insurance that has your partner listed as the ‘primary’ on the policy (for example if the insurance is through their job), it is possible that your partner may have access to the billing information we provide to your insurance company. If this is a concern for you, we recommend that you contact your insurance company to discuss their policy on confidential services.

How much does it cost to have an abortion?

Our fees are based on the length of pregnancy and your out of pocket cost will depend on your insurance coverage. Often insurance can help to reduce your out of pocket expenses.

Since January 1, 2018 Illinois Medicaid includes coverage for abortion care. If you have current Illinois coverage or are eligible and willing to apply for coverage we can provide free abortion services for you. It takes about 15-20 minutes to complete the application and it can be done online.

Once you have been approved for Illinois Medicaid coverage we will be able to provide you with a free medication abortion up to 10.0 weeks, free in-office abortion procedure with sedation (asleep) or awake (local anesthesia) up to 13.6 weeks, or free second trimester abortion care including cervical preparation and sedation.

If you would like to know if you are eligible for Illinois Medicaid coverage click here to visit the ABE website for more detailed information.

If you live outside of Illinois or are not eligible for Illinois Medicaid, please know that Family Planning Associates does offer affordable abortion, gynecological care, and family planning services. While abortion services are not free of charge entirely we will do everything we can to help you get the financial assistance you need. Please let one of our staff members know if you are facing financial hardship and need help with your payment.

Please call us for more information. We will work with you and help you obtain financial assistance so that you can come in as soon as possible for the care that you need.

What should I do if my insurance information changes?

If there are changes to your insurance just let us know as soon as possible. When you arrive at our facility the receptionist will ask to see your insurance card and your photo identification. Please be prepared with these items or contact us before your appointment to make alternative arrangements.

What if my insurance requires a referral?

If your insurance plan requires a referral, it is your responsibility to contact your primary care physician or insurance company before your visit with Family Planning Associates. If you do not have an authorized referral on the day of your appointment, we will not be able to bill your insurance for your services.

We strongly recommend that you have your referral sent to our office before your appointment. It can be sent to us via fax at (312) 707-9223 or email at info@fpachicago.com. Sometimes the referrals we receive have errors. If your physician’s office is closed or unable to respond to same day requests, we may not be able to get a corrected copy of the referral on the same day.

Why are you asking me to pay my deductible or a coinsurance payment at my appointment time?

When we verify your eligibility and benefits, we ask your insurance company detailed questions about your coverage. If you have a deductible or co-insurance, payment due that means you have not met (paid in full) your deductible for the year or perhaps your insurance company only covers part of the cost associated with your services.

Any payment that you make to FPA will be reported to your insurance company, at your request. This means that your payment to us will help lower your out of pocket insurance costs for the rest of the year, in most cases.

Why are you asking for my health insurance information before I come in for my visit?

When you schedule an appointment for an abortion services or a gynecological service we will ask that you provide us with your insurance information. We do this as a courtesy for our patients. Once we have this information we can verify your insurance coverage and let you know about your benefit details before you come in for services. This information will allow you to financially prepare for your visit.

Why didn’t my insurance company pay for the procedure?

We are misquoted benefits on a rare occasion from an insurance carrier. Sometimes your coverage has ended or your particular policy does not cover elective procedures. In these cases, we may ask for a reduced balance, typically the uninsured rate.

If you have any additional questions, please call 312-707-8988 and ask to speak with the insurance department.

How long has FPA been in business?

Family Planning Associates has been providing professional, compassionate, and confidential women’s health care, including abortion care, in the the Chicagoland area since 1988.

Thousands of women have utilized our services in the past thirty years and FPA is widely recognized for the high level of care we provide for our patients. We are a referral source for many hospitals, medical groups and independent physicians throughout the Midwest.

Do you have any female physicians available?

At FPA we work with both male and female physicians. Our Associate Medical Director, Dr. Allison Cowett, is female and she is our primary physician. A female clinician will perform your pre-operative examination and female staff members will be with you during your procedure and in the recovery area.

If you strongly prefer to be seen by a female physician, please let our staff know and we will make every effort to accommodate your request.

Do you offer free pregnancy testing?

Yes, we offer a free urine pregnancy test. This test can detect and early pregnancy, in most cases as early as 10 days after conception.

You can walk-in for free urine pregnancy testing during our regular business hours.

If a blood test is needed to confirm pregnancy for medical reasons, there may be a small fee for this test because it is sent to an outside lab.

We can also provide free ultrasounds when needed to assist you in scheduling for the best procedure for you. We do not provide prenatal care. Please keep in mind that our ultrasounds are used for dating purposes only.

Is everything confidential?

All of our services are completely confidential. Please read our privacy policy for more information.

If you have a unique concern or special request to help protect your privacy, please inform our staff.

Do I have to give you my real name?

Yes. We will take a copy of your photo ID when you arrive for your visit. All of your medical records are completely confidential and if you ever request a copy or transfer of your records, we will require picture identification and your signature as part of your authorization for release.

It is always important to give accurate and current information to any physician that you see for medical care. Your correct name, address, phone number and medical history are important for many reasons, particularly in case of an emergency or an abnormal lab result requiring follow-up care.

Will my parents find out?

We recommend that you talk to a parent or adult in your life, but we do not disclose any of your medical information without your permission.

In the state of Illinois, if you are under the age of 18, you must obtain a judicial bypass or notify an ‘adult family member’ before you have an abortion procedure. The adult family member does not have to agree with your decision or give you permission to have an abortion.

An ‘adult family member’ can be your mother, father, a grandparent, a step-parent who lives in the home or a legal guardian. You get to choose who is notified and how they are notified. If the adult family member cannot come with you to your visit they can give you a letter to bring with you (which you can print or copy from our website) or we can notify them by telephone (this must be done at least 48 hours before your visit).

If you cannot inform an adult family member about your decision to have an abortion, it is possible for you to obtain a judicial bypass. A judicial bypass is an order, given by a judge, that allows a minor to have an abortion procedure without notifying an adult family member. The Illinois Judicial Bypass Coordination Project can help you find a lawyer who will help you obtain a judicial bypass at no cost. You can call or text them at: (312) 560-6607 or email them at judicialbypass@aclu-il.org.

If you have questions or concerns please let our staff know, we are happy to help you explore your options. Your privacy is important to us and we want to help you find an option that makes you feel comfortable.

If a patient is a minor, do they need to have parental consent to have an abortion?

While we do not have a parental consent law in Illinois, we do have an ‘Adult Family Member Notification’ law in effect. This means that an adult family member must be informed that you are going to have an abortion procedure–they do not have to agree with your decision or give you permission to have an abortion.

An ‘adult family member’ can be your mother, father, a grandparent, a step-parent who lives in the home or a legal guardian. You get to choose who is notified and how they are notified. If the adult family member cannot come with you to your visit they can give you a letter to bring with you (which you can print or copy from our website) or we can notify them by telephone (this must be done at least 48 hours before your visit).

If you cannot inform an adult family member about your decision to have an abortion, it is possible for you to obtain a judicial bypass. A judicial bypass is an order, given by a judge, that allows a minor to have an abortion procedure without notifying an adult family member. The Illinois Judicial Bypass Coordination Project can help you find a lawyer who will help you obtain a judicial bypass at no cost. You can call or text them at: (312) 560-6607 or email them at judicialbypass@aclu-il.org.

If you have questions or concerns please let our staff know, we are happy to help you explore your options. Your privacy is important to us and we want to help you find an option that makes you feel comfortable.

Does my partner need to know?

No. Your partner does not need to know about your medical care if you do not feel comfortable discussing it with them. Your services with our facility are completely confidential.

Are there any protesters at the office?

There may be protesters at our facility on the day of your visit. In our experience the protesters who come to our offices are not violent. According to a 2009 ordinance in Chicago, within 50 feet of the clinic entrance, protesters must stay 8 feet or more away from you, unless they have your permission to approach you at a closer distance.

You do not have to speak with the protesters if you do not want to or take anything from them. Protesters cannot stop you to speak with them or prevent you from entering the facility, including the parking lot.

We often have clinic escorts at our office. Clinic escorts are available to help patients enter our facility safely. Our clinic escorts wear bright pink vests that say ‘Clinic Escort’, please let them know if you need assistance.

Do I have to make an appointment for an abortion?

Yes. We recommend scheduling an appointment because our facilities offer different kinds of appointments on different days. Most often some instructions are needed in order for you to prepare for your visit as well.

We will make every effort to accommodate same day appointment requests.

How soon can I get an appointment?

Appointments are available for the same day or the following day, depending on our schedule. We are very flexible with our schedule and will make every effort to accommodate your request.

Do I need to see my doctor for a pregnancy test or ultrasound before my appointment?

No. A pregnancy test and ultrasound will be performed in our office when you arrive for your appointment.

Up to how many weeks do you terminate a pregnancy?

FPA provides abortion procedures to 23.3 weeks of pregnancy.

How early can I terminate a pregnancy?

In most cases an abortion can be performed once a urine pregnancy test shows a positive result. The pregnancy must be visible on ultrasound, which usually happens around 5 to 6 weeks, in order for an abortion procedure to be performed. This is true both for the surgical abortion and the abortion pill procedure.

Do you provide the “Morning After Pill”?

FPA does not sell the Morning After Pill. Because this medication is now available over the counter at your local pharmacy, for women age 15 and older, we do not keep it in our office. However we do offer the Paragard copper IUD which is also an effective form of emergency contraction. Then it can be used as birth control for up to up to 12 years!

The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception. This means you can take these pills to help prevent pregnancy, after having unprotected sex.

You may need to ask for this medication at the pharmacy window where you go to pick up medications. Sometimes emergency contraception is on the store shelf and sometimes it kept behind the pharmacy counter, like stronger cold medicines.

If you are younger than 15, you will need a prescription for this medication. It is safe for you to take this medication. Just call our office and we will be happy to help you.

What is the difference between the surgical abortion and the abortion pill?

A first trimester in-office abortion, or D&C (Dilation and Curettage), is a 5-7 minute surgical procedure. First, the doctor stretches the cervix (the opening of the uterus) open a small amount. After the doctor can reach the pregnancy they will use a sterile plastic tube and a gentle suction to empty the uterus.

The abortion pill uses two medicines to cause a miscarriage and end a pregnancy. One medication ends the pregnancy and the other causes the pregnancy to pass. After you take this medication, it is normal to have heavy cramping and bleeding.

We will give you prescription pain medication to help lessen the pain of with abortion pill. Even after taking the pain medications we provide, you may still feel painful cramps until the pregnancy passes.

With the in-office procedure sedation is available. This means we can give you medicine to make you feel sleepy so you will not feel any pain, which many patients prefer.

The in-office abortion is safe and works almost all of the time.

The abortion pill works 91-98 out of 100 times it is taken, it depends how far along you are in the pregnancy. The medication abortion is a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy, up to 77 days, in the privacy of your home.

The surgical procedure takes one day. The whole visit is normally 3-5 hours.

With the medication abortion you will have an office visit on the first day then spend 1-2 days at home. However, the office visit for this procedure is normally 1-2 hours.

Our staff can talk with you about your options, as we want you to feel comfortable with your decision.

When will I have my next period?

Normally, your regular menstrual cycle will resume 4 to 8 weeks after an abortion procedure. Please note that some birth control methods can significantly change your menstrual cycle.

If you do not have a period within 8 weeks, please call us and we will schedule a follow-up visit for you at your convenience.

What happens if I have a complication or problem after my abortion?

We work with a team of medical staff who have special training and years of experience providing abortion care.

Abortion care is very safe and complications are rare but there is some risk that comes with all of medical care.

We are ready to treat most common concerns in our office. If you have an issue after your procedure, you could need extra medication or a suction procedure. For more serious complications, you may need treatment, observation or surgery in a hospital.

We have medical staff available to speak with our patients 24 hours, every day, and this includes weekends and holidays. Call us immediately if you have a medical question or if you are having an emergency after your procedure. Our direct number is 312-707-8988, and our toll-free number is 800-541-0356. Our trained staff will speak with you any time of the day or night and may ask you to return to our clinic for an exam.

Is it safe to have an abortion procedure?

An abortion is an extremely safe surgical procedure. Less than 1% of patients experience any complications at all. Fewer risks exist with abortion than childbirth. Our physicians are highly skilled and specialize in this procedure.

For more information about safety and abortion care from unbiased, trusted outside organizations please see our ‘Helpful Links’ page.

Will somebody talk to me before the procedure?

Yes. Our admitting staff will review your options and medical history, pre- and post- operative instructions, method of payment and birth control information. Our clinician will perform a physical examination prior to the procedure and will answer any additional questions you may have. Lastly, you will meet the physician before your procedure and have the opportunity to ask them questions as well.

How will you know how far I am in my pregnancy?

At FPA, you will have an ultrasound to determine the size and gestation of the pregnancy.

What if I have a negative blood type (Rh negative)?

A blood test performed in our lab that will determine your Rh factor. If your blood is Rh negative, you will be given an injection of MICRhoGAM or RhoGAM, depending on your gestation, following the procedure. There is no additional fee for this injection at FPA.

How will I feel emotionally after the abortion?

It is normal to have a range of feelings after an abortion. Studies show that most patients feel relieved, but some patients feel sadness, anger, guilt or regret.  Choosing to have an abortion or not is a complex decision.

We are sensitive to your feelings before and after the procedure. We are grateful that we can offer patients a safe option to end an undesired or complicated pregnancy. For some patients, abortion is not the best option, and we have referrals for adoption and prenatal care available. Our staff is truly pro-choice and we want you to feel confident in your decision, whatever choice you make.

There is no right or wrong way to feel and that means your feelings are normal! If you are struggling with your decision, before or after the procedure help and support is just a phone call or text away. It can be very helpful to speak with someone outside of your everyday life, because they can listen and provide support without judgment or pressure.

Usually, you will feel like yourself very soon after the procedure, but if your mood keeps you from doing the things you normally do every day, please call us. There are several organizations that offer non-judgmental talk lines for patients. Their services are free of charge and offered over a toll-free telephone line. EXHALE— 617-749-2948 (text) / www.exhaleprovoice.org or ALL OPTIONS— 1-888-493-0092 (call) / www.all-options.org

What if I do not get my period soon after the abortion?

Usually you will have some bleeding after an abortion. This bleeding is not a period, but your first period will come 4-8 weeks after the abortion.

Call us if you don’t have a period within 8 weeks of your procedure.  If your period is late, please return to the office for an exam. You may pregnant again or your period could be delayed for a different reason.

You can become pregnant again right away after having an abortion. At your visit, we will talk with you about birth control. We will help you find a birth control that you can feel comfortable using. You should start taking birth control within 7 days of your procedure, but if you are using condoms start using them immediately.

If you start on birth control after your procedure your period may come sooner or later than expected as different kinds of birth control change your period in different ways.

 

Family Planning Associates Medical Group Chicago abortion clinic and family planning provider

downtown

312-707-8988

659 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago IL 60661
Fax (312) 707-9223

parking info:

Parking Info: Our Chicago Loop facility has City of Chicago metered parking available on the street as well as a private third-party parking lot available for a fee, directly across the street from our office. Many parking lots and meters only accept credit card payments, and cannot accept cash.

It is a good idea to come early for your visit because finding parking can take a little extra time. Please call for more information.

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