For many women, abortion is a complicated choice to make — and it comes with many complex feelings. Not only do some women struggle emotionally after having an abortion; many women also feel lonely, scared or confused as they’re exploring their unplanned pregnancy options.

Fortunately, help is available in both of these situations through pre- and post-abortion counseling.

What to Know About Pre-Abortion Counseling

There are many reasons why a woman might voluntarily seek out pre-abortion counseling. Some women facing an unplanned pregnancy may have reservations about the emotional effects of abortion and want to talk to a counselor to learn the truth about what to expect. Other women haven’t decided what they want to do about their unplanned pregnancy and simply want to talk to an unbiased professional for the information and support they need to explore their options.

However, even for those who feel confident in their decision, abortion counseling may be required before they can access abortion services.  In fact, 35 states require that women receive counseling before an abortion is performed. In addition, many of those states require women to wait a specified amount of time between the counseling and the abortion procedure.

Generally, this mandatory abortion counseling is provided by the clinic performing the abortion procedure. In some states, counseling may be provided via email or over the phone, but other states’ laws require the counseling to be done in person. Depending on the state-mandated waiting period, this may mean that a woman is required to make multiple trips to the abortion clinic to get the services she needs.

Whether you feel that you need emotional abortion support or not, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your state’s counseling and waiting period laws. You will need to keep these laws in mind when you schedule your abortion procedure and make the necessary travel arrangements to get to the clinic.

It’s also important to know that some state laws require abortion providers to include inaccurate or biased information in their pre-abortion counseling. So, if you need help making a decision about your unplanned pregnancy, an abortion provider may not be the best source for the information and support you need.

Instead, you can reach out to an independent options counselor for more reliable abortion help. The following abortion websites and resources can provide the information and support you need to make your decision:

  • Planned Parenthood – You can contact Planned Parenthood at any time by texting “PPNOW” to 774636 or using the chat function on their website. You can also call 1-800-230-PLAN to ask questions or book an appointment at your local clinic.
  • American Adoptions – While American Adoptions does specialize in offering adoption services, its confidential, toll-free hotline is available 24/7 to women who want to discuss all of their unplanned pregnancy options — not just adoption. You can reach a licensed professional any time at 1-800-ADOPTION (1-800-236-7846), confidentially and with no obligation to proceed with the adoption process.

Where to Find Post-Abortion Counseling and Support

While many women feel relieved after having an abortion, some women do experience difficult feelings of sadness, anger and grief — and finding nonjudgmental help after abortion can be difficult. With abortion being such a political topic, it isn’t always easy to tell when a counselor has your best interest at heart.

Every woman deserves respectful and compassionate abortion support. The following abortion support groups, hotlines and websites can connect you with the positive and encouraging counseling services you need:

  • All-OptionsAll-Options is a toll-free, pro-choice abortion hotline offering pre- and post-abortion support at 1-888-493-0092.
  • Faith AloudA program of All-Options, Faith Aloud offers free religious and spiritual support for abortion and unplanned pregnancy at 1-888-717-5010.
  • Exhale – Women, their partners and family members can contact Exhale’s after-abortion helpline by dialing 1-866-439-4253.
  • Connect & Breathe – Connect & Breathe offers unbiased after-abortion support through its confidential, toll-free abortion hotline at 1-866-647-1764.

In addition to contacting a professional counselor or a 24-hour abortion hotline, some women find it helpful to connect with others who have experienced abortion through an abortion support group, either in-person or online. However, keep in mind that information found on the internet is not always accurate, and online abortion support groups and forums may not be the safest or most positive space for healing.

If you are struggling with your feelings after abortion, contact one of the abortion hotlines above or reach out to your abortion clinic. They may be able to provide you with additional resources, including a list of local, positive and nonjudgmental abortion support groups in your area.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel about your abortion. Whether you are considering your unplanned pregnancy options or struggling with your feelings after an abortion, support is available to you — you do not have to face this alone.