Free online course for separated parents
Forum - Ask questions. Get answers.
Free online course for separated parents | Family | Expecting | Troubleshooting | Ending the pregnancy- abortion/termination

Ending the pregnancy- abortion/termination



If your partner is considering a termination, you are likely to be facing one of the most difficult choices of your life. Although your partner has the final say, you have every right to be a part of the decision-making process


Under UK law, it is legal to terminate a pregnancy during the first 24 weeks and nearly 200,000 terminations take place each year. Whereas a miscarriage ends the pregnancy spontaneously, without medical intervention, abortions are carried out through medical procedures.

Why might my partner consider a termination?

A woman may consider an abortion because:

  • The baby has a serious medical condition.
  • Her own health is at risk.
  • She was raped.
  • She does not feel mature enough.
  • She does not feel her lifestyle is conducive to bringing up a baby.
  • She does not have the financial resources.
  • She can’t cope with another child.

What if I don’t agree?

You may oppose all abortions, or just this one. Alternatively, you may want a termination, but she doesn’t. You have a right to make your views known but not to prevent her going ahead – or to force her to have the baby.

What is the law?

The Abortion Act 1967 covers England, Scotland and Wales (not Northern Ireland). It requires terminations to be carried out in a hospital or licensed clinic within 24 weeks. The Act also permits a termination after 24 weeks if the mother’s life is at risk.

How is this applied?

  • 90 per cent of terminations are carried out within 13 weeks, and two thirds within ten weeks.
  • Some women go directly to a clinic. Most approach their GP, who refers them to the second doctor at the hospital or clinic.
  • Two doctors must agree that an abortion would cause less damage to your partner’s physical or mental health than continuing with the pregnancy. Your partner has to sign her consent.
  • Abortions are normally provided free of charge on the NHS. If your partner goes directly to a private clinic, she will cover all the costs.

How is it carried out?

Firstly, your partner will be checked over, given a blood test and tested for sexually transmitted diseases. An ultrasound scan, vaginal examination and cervical smear test are also sometimes performed.

  • Up to nine weeks: your partner will be given two drugs, 48 hours apart. The effect is similar to an early miscarriage. She may need a painkiller, and it may prompt nausea and diarrhoea.
  • Seven to 15 weeks: a small plastic suction tube, connected to a pump, is used to remove the foetus. It takes up to ten minutes and is carried out under local or general anaesthetic. Your partner may experience mild bleeding afterwards.
  • After 15 weeks: – surgical dilation and evacuation (D&E): Cervix is opened under general anaesthetic and foetus is removed with forceps and suction tube. Takes up to 20 minutes.
  • Late abortion (20 – 24 weeks) – takes place over two stages. Firstly, the foetus’ heart is stopped and the cervix softened. Alternatively, a drug may be injected into the womb, causing it to contract. The foetus and surrounding tissue is then removed the following day, using D&E. 

What are the risks?

Risks are generally very low with early terminations, becoming higher later on in the pregnancy.

  • Haemorrhaging – one in every 10,000 terminations.
  • Damage to the cervix – one in 100.
  • Damage to womb in 12-24 week terminations – less than one in 1000.
  • Damage to womb during surgical termination – four in 1000.

After the procedure, the main risk is infection caused by failure to remove all of the foetus. This is treated by antibiotics.

Related entries

Daddy’s got the Baby Blues

Daddy’s got the Baby Blues

After all those months of waiting to meet your new baby, emotions can run high and some fathers will become overwhelmed and develop post-natal depression. Postnatal depression is essentially another form of clinical depression, brought on by having a new baby and Dads...

Daddy’s got the Baby Blues

Bye Bye Baby Blues

Becoming a mother is probably the most life changing time for any woman. Creating another human being is bound to bring up a whole load of mixed emotions. Postnatal anxiety affects 85% of women. Whilst these overwhelming feelings are our body’s normal reactions to...

Daddy’s got the Baby Blues


Very sadly, in some circumstances a pregnancy will not survive. When a baby is lost before 24 weeks of pregnancy, this is called a miscarriage. They can occur for a variety of often unidentified reasons, and may affect you and your partner in different ways  ...

Latest entries

Kids’ gaming safety: what can parents do?

Kids’ gaming safety: what can parents do?

Keeping track of your child's online life can be challenging. Online video gaming poses difficulties for parents trying to monitor their child's activity. Gaming and gambling safety charity Ygam shared with us their tips for working with your kids to keep them safe:...

How to survive a holiday with a baby or toddler

How to survive a holiday with a baby or toddler

If the thought of a long trip with a wailing baby sends shivers down your spine, you're not the only one. But, before you baulk at the idea of travelling with a little one, check out our tips on surviving a holiday with a baby or toddler. The truth is that holidaying...

‘Father’: how one photographer captured real life as a dad

‘Father’: how one photographer captured real life as a dad

Photograph by Eoin Carey Being a dad certainly isn't all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, for many dads, an average day involves difficult moments, juggling many things at once, stress, mess and some measure of chaos. Photographer Eoin Carey sought to share snapshots...

Pin It on Pinterest