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The student guide to having an abortion

Everything you need to know about how to get abortion care as a college student—from finding privacy from your peers to planning around your class schedule.

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Where can I get an abortion?

Depending on how far along your pregnancy is, you can get an abortion at home using abortion pills or you can go to an in-person clinic, which have a few more options. 

Abortion on campus

Telehealth clinics like Hey Jane offer abortion pills by mail and can ship directly to your campus mail center, dorm, sorority house, or even an off-campus P.O. box. Treatment comes in discreet packaging to keep things confidential, and you’ll have access to our team of providers via a secure app on your phone and our 24/7 emergency hotline. To see if you’re eligible for treatment with Hey Jane, get started here.

Most student health centers don’t offer abortion services, but may be able to guide you to local clinics or resources. 

Abortion off campus

In-person clinics offer procedural abortions for pregnancies which may involve gentle suction or cervical dilation to remove the pregnancy. Procedural abortions are safe and effective, are performed in a medical clinic by a medical provider, and do not involve any cutting or scraping. Learn more about the types of abortion here.

What are abortion pills?

Abortion pills are actually two different medications: mifepristone (which stops the pregnancy from growing) and misoprostol (which helps empty your uterus). Abortion pills are incredibly safe and up to 98% effective at ending a pregnancy. These pills can be prescribed in-clinic or online so that you don’t have to leave campus and coordinate things like transportation. Abortion pills are typically less expensive than procedural abortions, too.

Abortion pills can be prescribed for pregnancies up to 10 weeks. After that, an abortion procedure can be performed at a clinic.

How much do abortion pills cost?

Medication abortion treatment typically costs less than going to an in-person clinic for a procedural abortion. At Hey Jane, we offer sliding-scale pricing that determines your treatment cost based on your personal financial circumstances to help ensure everyone has access to the care they need. We also accept select insurance plans and can help you get financial assistance through one of our abortion fund partners.

Will my parents know I had an abortion if I use their insurance?

Potentially. As part of regular health insurance communications, your insurance company sends some of your confidential health information—like the services you received and when—to the policyholder of your health plan. If

At Hey Jane, we won’t ever discuss your treatment with your partner, parent, or anyone else. If you use insurance, however, the policyholder of your health plan may receive information on the services you received from us. If you need financial support and want to maintain privacy, our abortion fund partners might be able to help.

Abortion pills shipped to your dorm, ASAP

Am I eligible?

Abortion pills shipped to your dorm, ASAP

Am I eligible?

How to prepare for an abortion in college

1. Decide when and where to take your pills

You can start treatment at any time, but it’s helpful to plan ahead so that you are able to rest and be comfortable during treatment. Many patients who are students opt to start treatment closer to the weekend when they don’t have classes, but everyone’s schedule is different. 

It can be helpful to plan your treatment backwards. First, decide when the best time to take your misoprostol pills, which is when you'll be out of commission and want to be at home where you can get plenty of rest. 24-48 hours before that time should be when you take the first medication, mifepristone. Most people have no symptoms when they take mifepristone so it is ok to plan to go about your day for the first pill!

We recommend wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and can wash later in case you bleed through your pads.

You should plan to be close to a bathroom as you may find it more comfortable to sit on the toilet as the pregnancy passes. While it’s not necessary to have access to your own, private bathroom, you might feel more comfortable in your own space with that added privacy.

2. Create a safety plan

Medication abortion is very safe, but it never hurts to have a plan prepared to ease your mind before starting treatment. We recommend you save the location of the closest ER to you, make a plan for transportation (like an Uber, Lyft, or ride from a friend), and decide if there’s a partner, friend, family member, or roommate you can call to help in case of an emergency. 

3. Pick up a few self-care items

Having some self-care items on hand will help ease your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable during treatment. We recommend you pick up the following:

  • Heavy flow menstrual pads (not tampons) 
  • A heating pad (though you can DIY one with sock and some rice!)
  • Over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen or tylenol (included with Hey Jane treatment)
  • Ginger ale or raspberry leaf tea to help with nausea
  • Crackers you can lightly snack on to prevent nausea
  • Any food or drinks you might want later so you don’t have to trek to the dining hall or off campus

Make sure you have plenty of water on hand to stay hydrated, and plan to have everything you need on hand so you can hunker down during treatment. 

4. Find support

Choosing to have an abortion is a personal choice, and it’s completely up to you whether or not to share your decision with the people around you. If you don’t want to share with others on campus, you might consider having a friend or family member who is out-of-town on Facetime in case you need support or a distraction.

At Hey Jane, our team of providers and patient care advocates provides medical and emotional support before, during, and after treatment. We also have an anonymous forum, The Lounge, where patients can post questions and seek support from others who have gone through the same process. We have a space dedicated to students in The Lounge where you can talk to others who are having an abortion in a similar environment.

Click here to read more tips on how to talk to others about your abortion, including how to handle unsupportive people.

Will I miss class, work, or exams because of my abortion?

Most likely, no. While in-clinic abortions mean you may have to miss a whole day of work or school, abortion pills through virtual clinics like Hey Jane interfere way less with your schedule. With a medication abortion, you have more flexibility to take the pills at a time that’s convenient for you so that you can focus on yourself and not have to rush through the process. We do recommend you plan to miss work or class once you start Step 2 of treatment (taking the misoprostol pills), as they cause the most discomfort—or you can plan around them.

Treatment feels physically and emotionally different for everyone, so you may decide to get studying or homework out of the way before taking the pills, but it’s completely up to you. 

Can I get a doctor’s note for my abortion?

If you do decide you need some extra time before returning to class or work, or before turning in an assignment, your provider can write a doctor’s note. Even if you need the letter emotionally, we can help with that. Our doctor's notes can have as much or as little information as you are comfortable with, our priority is your privacy, comfort and safety.

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Written by

Team Hey Jane

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