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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 the U.S. until the end of the second trimester (or up to six months). Certain states, though, have restrictions regarding when abortions can be performed and how. You can find out more about the laws in your 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, and someone who wants an abortion may have to travel farther to find a provider.

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 one percent 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.

If you have more questions about abortion, be sure to check out our list of resources.

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