After becoming pregnant how long is too long to wait before you have an abortion? Is it possible to get an abortion after the first trimester?

Abortion is a safe and legal option in Rhode Island until the end of the second trimester (or up to six months). In Rhode Island, if you are under 18 and want an abortion, one parent must give permission before you can get one. This is called “parental consent.” If that’s not possible, you are able to ask a judge for permission or get special permission if it’s an emergency. This is called “judicial bypass.”

There is no mandatory waiting period in Rhode Island before someone can get an abortion. So, once you have a parent’s or a judge’s permission, you do not have to wait before getting an abortion, like in other states. You can find out more about the laws in other state here.

It is really important to seek an abortion as early in the pregnancy as possible. Why? Because most providers only perform abortions early in the pregnancy—before 14 weeks. After that, abortion can be more complicated and expensive.

During the second trimester (after 14 weeks of pregnancy), a procedure that removes the contents of the uterus is used. This procedure requires the cervix to be opened wider than for a first-trimester abortion. Some people get general anesthesia, which basically means being put to sleep during the procedure. Others get local anesthesia, which numbs the cervical area.

Third-trimester abortions, which are performed during the last three months of pregnancy, are very rare. About 1% of abortions are performed during the third trimester. They’re usually done because of serious health problems in either the mother or the fetus.

Third-trimester abortions are controversial, even among people who support abortion rights. That’s because, at this point in a pregnancy, the fetus may be able to live outside the uterus on its own. While no one should feel rushed into making a decision about an unintended pregnancy, waiting until the third trimester—or even the later part of the second trimester—isn’t a good idea because the procedure becomes more complicated.


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