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How to tell people about your abortion

Even if you feel confident in your choice, telling people you are planning on having, or have had, an abortion can be difficult. Read about how to tell the people you love about your abortion.

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Choosing to have an abortion is a personal decision, and we trust that you know best when it comes to making the decision regarding your pregnancy. Because there is a stigma surrounding abortion, some people choose to keep their abortions a secret. Studies from MSI Reproductive Choices found that only one in three people would tell their families about their abortions, and around 62% would tell their sexual partner. Whether or not you choose to tell your partner, family, and friends is entirely up to you.

Telling your partner about your abortion

Whether or not you tell your sexual partner about your abortion is entirely up to you and likely depends on the nature of your relationship. If you’re partner has historically been a supportive and empathetic partner, letting them know about your pregnancy and choice to have have an abortion could provide extra emotional, financial, and physical support. 

When you do tell your partner about your abortion, consider telling them when you’re face to face and alone. Give yourselves time to discuss and process the decision together. Let them know your concerns, fears, and needs during this time and advise them on how you’d like to be supported. Most partners want to support you but many simply don’t know how!  If you can, offer some practical ways that they can help, such as helping with the cost of abortion or spending the evening after the procedure with you.

 If there is any concern that your partner will react poorly, have a plan to take space away or stay with a friend. It’s normal for your partner to have some strong or complicated feelings about your pregnancy but if they’re unable to calmly discuss your choice, prioritize yourself and focus on your mental and physical safety. If you fear for your safety and need someone to talk to, The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available by phone, online chat, or text 24 hours a day.

Your choice is yours alone and no one is legally obligated to tell partners about their abortion. In 1976 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that any law requiring a “spouses consent” for an abortion is unconstitutional.

How to tell your family and friends about your abortion

When considering telling your friends or family about your abortion, ask yourself what you’re hoping to accomplish in doing so. If you’re hoping to find support, compassion, or shared experience, tell them just that. Sometimes interpersonal relationships can be tough to navigate especially during major life events, so being as clear as possible about your needs will help these conversations stay on track. 

When having an abortion conversation with your friends or family:
  • Understand what you’d like out of the conversation and make sure you’re prepared to express your needs.
  • Prepare a script for the conversation if you’re feeling especially nervous.
  • Remember that while you may want to share your thought-process behind choosing abortion, you should never feel obligated to justify your decision.
  • Accept that some family members just won’t accept your decision.

Unfortunately, you may find that some people will be unable to support you during this time, no matter how hard you work to make them understand. If sharing your choice with your friends or family begins to feel like talking to a brick wall, know when to walk away and find support elsewhere.

How to tell your workplace about your abortion

Separating work from your personal life can be challenging, especially when it comes to your health. Finding out you’re pregnant or having an abortion may require taking time off work or impact your normal productivity. If you need to communicate about your abortion experience with your workplace, be clear about your requests. Ask that a member of human resources attends any meetings and has copies of necessary documentation like a doctor’s note.

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What you tell your co-workers about your abortion is up to you and you’re under no obligation to share any personal details of your experience with your coworkers. However, if you feel comfortable sharing your experience with a close work friend, it may relieve some pressure and create an at-work support person to lean on if you need a break. 

How to handle unsupportive people

It’s likely that despite your best attempts to find support, there will be a few people in your life who are just unwilling to support your abortion experience. If you find that you’re struggling to get the compassion and support you need, there are resources available to you. Consult with a non-biased virtual therapist through Hope Clinic or Planned Parenthood or utilize talk and text line options found on our resources page

Other things you can do to support yourself include:

If you’ve had an abortion with Hey Jane and are looking for a little extra support, visit our resources page or send a message to  a medical professional line here.

Written by

Sally Rashid, RN BSN

Sally Rashid is a Registered Nurse and writer living in Detroit, Michigan. She has worked in reproductive care for a decade as a doula, nurse, and advocate for abortion access. Sally was a 2020 winner of Yes, And Laughter Lab's competitive incubation program for her work as writer and co-creator of Darling, a dark comedy about an abortion clinic at constant risk of closure. On top of writing for the beauty and healthcare industries, Sally is an all-around creative lady who loves music, making connections, and chilling with her two cats.

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