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© 2019 by Pregnancy Options Wisconsin: Education, Resources, Support

A Full-Spectrum Pregnancy Options Network Serving Wisconsin

Pregnancy Release


By the term pregnancy release, we mean the experience of early pregnancy that ends in abortion or miscarriage. Pregnancy release is a common part of our reproductive and childbearing lives. Yet due to cultural stigmas and obstacles to care, it can be a silent and isolating experience. Fragmentation within our healthcare system around pregnancy release is extreme, and practitioners also can

experience fear and discrimination.

 


On this page, you will find comprehensive information about options and resources for abortion and miscarriage. The same or similar support techniques, medications, and procedures can apply to both of these pregnancy processes. You can also call us for this information! 

 

doula can be available to you as non-medical, individualized one-on-one support during your experience of pregnancy release. On the Abortion Resources page you can find economic, social, religious, and justice organizations that can help you access abortion counseling, healthcare, and assistance. Additional state and local health partners can be found on the Life Resources page.

 

aspiration & surgical abortion

including self-managed abortion

management & resources

 

In-Clinic Abortion 

 

General info about in-clinic abortion

 

To obtain an in-clinic abortion in Wisconsin, current law requires two separate clinic visits with a doctor 24 hours apart. Therefore, if you live in northern, western, or southern areas of Wisconsin, you may find that accessing an abortion in Minnesota or Illinois is easier or quicker. For example, in Minnesota (where a 24-hour waiting period is also in effect), your first visit can be conducted over the phone. In Illinois, there is no waiting period requirement.

 

In Wisconsin, the first step is to call one of three healthcare clinics in the state that offer in-clinic abortion and schedule your appointments. These clinics are Affiliated Medical Services in MilwaukeePlanned Parenthood-Madison, and Planned Parenthood-Milwaukee. Only Affiliated Medical Services offers abortion care after 20 weeks. Your mental and physical health are priorities, and the clinics do their best to schedule your two appointments as quickly as possible.

 

All people entering the clinic need to provide a photo ID. A drivers license, school ID, passport, or identification card from your country of origin will work. Immigration status does not have to be disclosed to enter the clinic and will remain confidential, along with all health information.  

 

If you are under 18, Wisconsin law requires that prior to an abortion, an adult relative (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling), legal guardian, custodian, or foster parent who is at least 25 years old must give consent and come with you to both appointments. Exceptions to this rule can be made if you have legal emancipation through a prior childbirth or court order, or if you obtain a judicial bypass. For a judicial bypass, contact your county public defender's office or any Planned Parenthood clinic and ask for assistance. The judicial bypass process is free and confidential but can take a few days. Let the clinic know your age when you make your first appointment and bring all emancipation or judicial bypass documents with you.

 

Paying for an in-clinic abortion

You will be asked to pay for each visit separately. The first visit costs $100 or $125, depending on the clinic you choose. The second visit costs $550 or $560 in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. After 13 weeks, the cost increases and depends on how far along your pregnancy is. Fees include all offered options for pain medication. 

If you cannot afford the full cost of an abortion, be sure to let the clinic staff know when you call to make your appointment. They are committed to working with you to find additional resources. If you are a resident of northwestern Wisconsin and cannot afford to pay for an abortion, contact the Options Fund for possible assistance with the cost. If you resident of north-central or northeastern Wisconsin, contact the Freedom Fund for possible assistance. These fund payments are made to clinics directly.

Some private insurance companies cover all or part of the cost for an abortion. Check with your insurance company before your first appointment. Wisconsin Medicaid (called BadgerCare) does not pay for most abortions, due to federal and state laws prohibiting public funds from paying for abortion healthcare and referral. If your pregnancy is a result of rape or incest AND it has been reported to police, BadgerCare may pay for your abortion. The clinics can help you determine your insurance coverage, as well as help you enroll in BadgerCare.

 

First visit

The first visit starts the 24-hour waiting period that is mandatory in Wisconsin. A support person may accompany you to this visit. Care is taken in reviewing pregnancy options and respecting your right to change your plans at any point during your two visits. You are asked to complete a health history, and have your blood tested for iron count and Rh type. A doctor will review a state-required ultrasound and

state-required paperwork with you, as mandated by Wisconsin law, and discuss any concerns or questions that you may have.

 

Second Visit

The second visit is when the in-clinic abortion takes place. A support person may be present throughout the procedure and during recovery with you. The abortion usually takes five to ten minutes. Your comfort is a priority, and nurses or clinic assistants are also present to support you.

 

Your doctor begins with a pelvic exam, which is an exam where the doctor places two fingers in your vagina and a hand on top of your belly to feel the size, shape, and direction of your uterus. Some people say this feels like gentle pressure. The doctor then places a speculum into your vagina, a simple plastic or metal tool that allows visualization of your cervix (the opening to your uterus). The doctor applies numbing and relaxing medication to your cervix. After your cervix is relaxed, the doctor uses a series of thin, round-tipped rods to open your cervix. This may feel like pressure, or cramps that come and go. After your cervix is open, the doctor inserts a thin, plastic tube with suction to remove pregnancy tissue. If your pregnancy is more advanced, usually past 14 weeks, the physician may need to use forceps or other tools to ensure that all the tissue is removed. Some physicians may use ultrasound to assist them. The screen is visible to the physician - you will not see it unless you ask to. You may experience pressure, cramping, or gentle tugging, all normal sensations. You might feel a stronger cramp at the end, as your uterus returns to its pre-pregnant size.

 

 

The doctor removes the speculum, and the nurse or clinic assistant helps you dress and go to the recovery room, where your support person can join you. While you rest, a nurse will check your heart rate, blood pressure, and bleeding.

Medications

Antibiotic - you will be asked to take an antibiotic pill by mouth, before an in-clinic abortion.

 

Procedure medications - if your pregnancy is advanced, your cervix might need more help to open. In this case, your doctor will discuss common medications that are used. One medication is Misoprostol, commonly used to help the miscarriage process. Other medications are Dilapan or Laminaria, which are placed in the opening of your cervix to help it dilate. These medications would be administered in the clinic.

Comfort medications - ask about specific clinic protocols and your options when you make your first appointment. Some people who feel a little nervous or tense may choose an anti-anxiety medication pill, such as Valium, while people who are very nervous, fearful of pain, or further along in pregnancy may request stronger medication. Stronger medication is given through an IV and is called moderate sedation. It can make you feel relaxed and sleepy, though you will remain awake and aware. Moderate sedation may reduce your ability to remember the procedure later. Full sedation is not available at clinics in Wisconsin. 

If you plan to request pain medications, a support person must accompany you when you leave the clinic after your abortion, even if you take a taxi. Be sure to share any questions, requests, or concerns you have around support measures or medications with clinic staff.

Is in-clinic abortion right for you?

 
How far along is your pregnancy?
An in-clinic abortion is available in Wisconsin up to 22 weeks of pregnancy from the first day of your last period. Pill abortion is available up to 11 weeks from your last period. Most people ovulate about 2 weeks after their period, so the conception-based limit of abortion is 20 weeks. If you know the first day of your last period, you can calculate your weeks using this pregnancy calculator
 
You do not have to know how far along your pregnancy is before scheduling an abortion or a clinic
appointment to discuss options. An accurate ultrasound at your first clinic appointment can confirm your pregnancy date.
Where do you want to be and who do you want to have with you?
Some people choose in-clinic abortion because they feel most comfortable and safe in a clinical setting. They may want doctors and nurses to be present throughout the experience. ​Pill abortion typically takes place in a person's home.
Time and space.
Some people choose in-clinic abortion because they need to know that their abortion will be  completed before they leave the clinic. Pill abortion is a process that can take a day or two to complete. Some people prefer a "medical procedure" to a more body-led process.
 
What about health and safety?
An in-clinic abortion is safe, common, effective, and a very low-risk medical procedure. One (or more than one) in-clinic abortion will not affect your ability to become pregnant again later or carry a future pregnancy to term. Some people have individual health histories or concerns that may make one type of abortion preferable over or safer than the other. Be sure to let clinic staff know about any concerns you have.

 

Pill Abortion 

 

General info about pill abortion

In Wisconsin, the first step is to call one of the four healthcare clinics in the state that offer pill abortion and schedule your appointments. These clinics are Affiliated Medical Services in MilwaukeePlanned Parenthood-Madison, Planned Parenthood-Milwaukee, Planned Parenthood-Sheboygan. For pill abortion, Wisconsin law requires that the same doctor who saw you at your first visit must give you the pills at your second visit. This can make scheduling tricky at some locations. Your mental and physical health are priorities, and the clinics do their best to schedule your two appointments as quickly as possible. Wisconsin law also advises a 2-week follow-up visit.

 

All people entering the clinic need to provide a photo ID. A drivers license, school ID, passport, or identification card from your country of origin will work. You do not have to disclose your immigration status to enter the clinic, and your status will remain confidential, along with all health information.  

 

 

If you are under 18, Wisconsin law requires that prior to an abortion, an adult relative (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling), legal guardian, custodian, or foster parent who is at least 25 years old must come with you to your appointment and give consent. Exceptions to this rule can be made if you have legal emancipation through a prior childbirth or court order, or if you obtain a judicial bypass. For a judicial bypass, contact your county public defender's  office or any Planned Parenthood clinic and ask for assistance. The judicial bypass process is free and confidential but can take a few days. Let the clinic know your age when you make your first appointment and bring all emancipation or judicial bypass documents with you.

Paying for a pill abortion

You will be asked to pay for each visit separately. In Wisconsin, the first visit costs $100 or $125, and the second visit costs $475 or $550, depending on the clinic you choose. Pill abortion is available only up to 11 weeks of pregnancy.

If you cannot afford the full cost of an abortion, let the clinic staff know when you call to make your

appointment. They are committed to working with you to find additional resources. If you live in northwestern Wisconsin and cannot afford to pay for an abortion, contact the Options Fund for possible assistance with the cost. If you live in north-central or northeastern Wisconsin, contact the Freedom Fund for possible assistance. These fund payments are made to clinics directly.

Some private insurance companies cover all or part of the cost for an abortion. Check with your insurance company before your first appointment. Wisconsin Medicaid (called BadgerCare) does not pay for most abortions, due to federal and state laws prohibiting public funds from paying for abortion healthcare and referral. If your pregnancy is a result of rape or incest AND it has been reported to police, BadgerCare may pay for your abortion. The clinics can help you determine your insurance coverage, as well as help you enroll in BadgerCare.

First visit

The first visit starts the 24-hour waiting period that is mandatory in Wisconsin. A support person may accompany you to this visit. Care is taken in reviewing pregnancy options and respecting your right to change your plans at any point during your two visits. You are asked to complete a health history, and have your blood tested for a pregnancy hormone level, iron count, and Rh type. The doctor will review

a state-required ultrasound and state-required paperwork with you, as mandated by Wisconsin law, and discuss any concerns or questions that you may have.

Second visit

The second visit is when you receive the abortion pills. A support person may accompany you to this visit. The doctor will give you two different types of pills that work together to help your body release the pregnancy. The first abortion pill is called Mifepristone (Mifeprex). This pill begins blocking a pregnancy hormone and starts the abortion process. 200mg of this pill is taken by mouth and typically does not cause any noticeable symptoms. The second abortion pill is called Misoprostol. Four of these (800 mcg) are taken at the same time, either by letting them dissolve in your mouth along your gums and cheek, or by inserting them into your vagina. Depending on the clinic you go to, you will be asked to take the four Misoprostol pills some time within 48 hours after you took the first abortion pill. The clinic may give you four more Misoprostol pills to take again four hours later.

 

At home

After taking the dose(s) of Misoprostol, you can expect moderate to heavy cramping and bleeding, lasting 2-6 hours. Some people describe symptoms of nausea and shakes during the peak of cramping. This is when many people feel reassured by having a support person with them. Taking a bath, using a heating pad, and mindfulness and breathing relaxation techniques can be effective strategies. Pregnancy tissue usually passes within 12 hours but can take up to 24. After the tissue passes (usually in the toilet), bleeding and cramping decrease, and period-like bleeding can continue for up to two weeks. Clinic staff is available 24/7 to answer calls and provide advice and reassurance.

 

Medications

Ibuprofen is a very effective cramp reliever. The clinic will give you Ibuprofen pills to take home.

The clinic will also give you a medication called Promethazine to take home. This is a pill that can help lessen nausea and pain.

 

Be sure to share any questions, requests, or concerns you have around support needs or medications with clinic staff.

  

Is pill abortion right for you?

 
How far along is your pregnancy?
Pill abortion currently is offered in Wisconsin up to 11 weeks of pregnancy from the first day of your last period. An in-clinic abortion is available up to 22 weeks from your last period. If you know the first day of your last period, you can calculate your weeks using this pregnancy calculator
 
You do not have to know how far along your pregnancy is before scheduling an abortion or a clinic
appointment to discuss options. An accurate ultrasound at your first clinic appointment can confirm your pregnancy date.
 
Where do you want to be and who do you want to have with you?
Some people choose pill abortion because they feel most comfortable and safe in their home environment. They want familiar surroundings and people throughout their abortion process.
 
Time and space.
Some people choose pill abortion because they prefer to experience a body-led process. Some people feel more in charge of a process that takes place in their own time and on their own terms.
What about health and safety?
A pill abortion is a safe, common, and effective process. One (or more than one) pill abortion will not affect your ability to become pregnant again later or carry a future pregnancy to term. Some people have individual health histories or concerns that may make one type of abortion preferable over or safer than the other. Be sure to let clinic staff know about any concerns you have. 
 
 
There is a 1 to 2% chance of a pregnancy continuing after the usual pill dose. In this case, the clinic will make an assessment and advise either a repeated dose of Misoprostol, or an in-clinic procedure. Both follow-up options are safe and included in the original cost of your abortion.  

Self-managed abortion

Some people in Wisconsin opt to access abortion pills directlyThe same safe abortion pills that doctors give you in Wisconsin clinics are now available from online and other sources.

Wisconsin law does not state that taking pills on your own to cause an abortion is illegal. Wisconsin law does state that only doctors with special prescriptive privileges and following specific protocols can legally give you abortion pills. In some states, people who ended their own pregnancies have been arrested and charged with crimes. Some of those people were convicted and served time in jail, while some had their cases dismissed.

 

 

If you or someone you know needs a safe and confidential place to talk about self-managed abortion,

or needs safe and confidential healthcare after a self-managed abortion, you are welcome to call POWERS. We are not able to help you access abortion pills directly.

June 2019 Open Letter to the U.S. FDA and U.S. Policy Makers, signed by medical and reproductive justice leaders across America    *read the full letter here

 

If the laws and regulations that determine the terms of abortion access in the United States were
based on science – not politics – medication abortion would be widely available in the United States without medically unnecessary restrictions on distribution. Abortion with quality pills delivered by mail directly to one’s home with instructions for use in multiple languages and access to medical counseling and back-up, if needed, should be one of an array of abortion options available, ensuring 
everyone who needs to end a pregnancy has the freedom and control to do so in the way that best fits their lives….

 

Miscarriage

 

Many people do not know that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Serious early problems in the development of an embryo or fetus are the most common reasons that a pregnancy releases. If you experience a miscarriage, it was not caused by something you did, did not do, or thought. Miscarriage itself, or more than one miscarriage, does not endanger your future ability to become pregnant. Three or more miscarriages in a row may indicate an underlying hormonal imbalance or other indication for exploring fertility testing and/or support.  

 

Some people first suspect they are having a miscarriage when they notice that they no longer "feel pregnant". Some people notice an onset of menstrual-like cramping and dark or bright red blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet. Sometimes a person notices no symptoms at all and first learns of a miscarriage when a healthcare practitioner is unable to detect fetal heart tones or a fetal heartbeat. These experiences can take place whether you are planning to continue a pregnancy or planning an abortion.

Miscarriage can feel like an experience that is completely out of our control, but in fact, people may have options for managing their miscarriage. Options may include:1) wait for cramping and bleeding to become heavy and for pregnancy tissue to pass; 2) request medications called Mifepristone (Mifeprex) and/or Misoprostol to help the pregnancy tissue to pass; or 3) go to the clinic or urgent care for an in-clinic procedure. Some pregnant people begin with a wait-and-see approach and follow up with further options if needed. Recent research has shown that assisting miscarriage with medications (option 2) is more effective, and may be safer, than waiting for a miscarriage to take its own course. Your can ask your practitioner about miscarriage options.

 

 

Miscarriage is rarely an emergency, but if you are experiencing weakness and fainting due to heavy bleeding, you should go to Urgent Care or a hospital Emergency Room. If you are too lightheaded to walk, call 911, and an ambulance will help you get there. If you are not experiencing the above

symptoms, you do not have to go anywhere. Many people feel better with a support person at hand or nearby. Extreme abortion laws in some states can make some pregnant people who are having a miscarriage hesitate to ask for help. Please always feel free to call our 24/7 call line with questions and for support.  

Miscarriage Resources

Generations

 

Reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists assisting people who wish to become parents. Expertise in male and female infertility conditions, as well as women's endocrine conditions.

 

 

Grieve Out Loud

Helping Wisconsin families find their way back to life after pregnancy loss.

Hope After Loss Clinic

University of Wisconsin healthcare clinic for people affected by pregnancy loss.

National Women's Law Center

Advocates, experts, and lawyers fighting for gender justice and decriminalization of women's bodies, pregnancy,

miscarriage, and stillbirth.  

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