Sassy’s Guide to writing characters who’ve had/will have abortions
Important Disclaimer: I am not an expert on abortion nor do I have any experience with it. Please remember to always do your research. Also remember that every character will be affected differently.
Abortion is a medical procedure and should not be taken lightly as a character plot. There are two different types of abortion: through surgery and through a pill. I’m going to talk about the effects, cost, and procedure of both types.
First is the abortion pill. It’s clinical name is mifepristone. It’s a medicine that can be taken up to nine weeks after your last period. That’s about two months. If your character wants an abortion after that, they’ll have to go with surgery. The medication is 97% effective but you’re supposed to follow up with your doctor so in the event that it doesn’t work, the unborn baby can be aborted safely. It can cost anywhere from 300 to 800 dollars.
Here’s what happens: First they will give you the abortion pill. This dissolves the lining of the uterus, making the pregnancy impossible to continue. Up to three days after that, they will give you misoprostol in order to empty the uterus. This will cause cramping and bleeding a few hours after you take it and you might notice some blood clots. It’s supposed to be similar to an early miscarriage so women can feel dizzy, nauseous, and have a fever or chills.
Abortion by pill is mostly safe although some women may have side effects including being allergic to the pill, a half aborted pregnancy, and infection.
The next kind of abortion is in clinic abortion. This usually costs around 300 to 950 or more depending on how late you are into the pregnancy. It’s safe, effective, and available at most Planned Parenthood centers.
There are two different kinds of in clinic abortion. First there is the aspiration abortion. This is the type of abortion a woman will get when she’s too far along for the pill but earlier than 16 weeks. First a woman is given pain medication or lightly sedated. Then they will use dilators to dilate the vagina. A hand-held suction device or suction machine gently empties the uterus. The procedure takes about ten to fifteen minutes while the preparation takes longer.
When a woman is more than sixteen weeks along in their pregnancy, they will do what is called a dilation and evacuation, or D&E. A D&E is similar to an aspiration only sometimes they will have to stop the fetus’s heart first if the woman is too far along. Also medical instruments are used to help remove the fetus from the uterus. This takes about twenty minutes and the woman is sedated or given pain medication.
There will be bleeding for up to six weeks after and you cannot use tampons for that time. Again, it’s possible that there are complications like infection or blood clots but abortion is usually a safe procedure. There is not a big risk of harming the mother.
Now onto the character and how they may feel about the abortion. This depends entirely on their background and personality in the first place.
A person with emotional instability or emotional problems is more likely to have a hard time dealing with their abortion. If there are any mental disorders, those could play a factor as well. These types of characters can have long term emotional issues long after the abortion has already been completed.
Most of the time, women usually feel relieved after their abortions. Though as I mentioned before, abortion affects every person differently. Some women may be angry, and some may feel guilty. There are a wide range of people in this world.
One thing you have to think of when deciding how abortion will affect your character is what kind of support system they have. Do they come from a family that doesn’t support abortion and that is angry with them? Then they might feel guilty over it or even angry. Did their family push them into having an abortion? They will feel resentment. Do they have anyone to support them emotionally at all? A boyfriend? A friend? These things will matter in the long run.
Another thing that matters is the circumstances of the conception. Were they having a child with someone who is supportive and caring? They might be better off. Did their significant other leave them at any time for the pregnancy or the abortion? That could make them act differently around potential love interests. And finally, was the pregnancy due to forced sexual relations? This can determine how they feel about the abortion.
Why did they want to have an abortion? There are many reasons women have. Maybe the character was in high school or college and didn’t have the time to raise a child. Maybe they were starting a career and were too busy to think about raising a child or taking off work during the pregnancy. They could be of a lower class and not have the money to raise the child or pay for pregnancy costs. And finally, the unborn child could remind them of a significant other who may have been abusive, or a sexual abuse situation.
Really it all comes down to the circumstances of the abortion, and the character’s history. There is no one right way to play abortion in characters as long as you keep it tasteful and inoffensive. Just remember to always do your research and think before you type.