Frequently Asked Questions

Abortion Questions

1. Is abortion safe?
Yes. Abortion is very safe. In fact, abortion is one of the safest and most common surgical procedures in the United States. One in three American women will have an abortion by the time she is 45 years old ( and 60% of these women are already mothers at the time of their abortion. And, although every procedure carries some risk, abortion is actually safer than carrying a pregnancy to term and delivering vaginally. Less than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication ( Northland Family Planning provides the very best medical and abortion care. Abortion care is our area of expertise and all our physicians are specially trained in this procedure. Our staff is warm and caring, and will make sure you are comfortable both physically and emotionally.

2. Does an abortion hurt? Is abortion painful? What can I use to manage pain?

Most women ask us if the procedure will hurt or cause discomfort. We describe the discomfort as being similar to menstrual cramps or having your period. But, each person experiences and tolerates pain in different ways. So, for some women, it will be more uncomfortable than others. That is why here at Northland, we have created a calm and relaxing environment to make you as comfortable as possible. We offer several options to help you manage pain. One of our services allows for you to have a friend or companion with you throughout much of your visit. Many patients like this because it helps them relax. Please discuss your pain concerns with us and we will help you choose the best option for you. A note about anesthesia: Many women wish to explore other pain options including pain medications. It is important to understand all of your options because there is a lot of misleading information out there, especially regarding abortion anesthesia. Oral valium or injections of light pain medication that you may hear about at other clinics are not really an Anesthesia Program. Some abortion providers may tell you they are using General or Twilight Anesthesia when, in fact, they are using lesser sedation medications.

3. What is the abortion pill? How does the abortion pill work?

The Abortion Pill (RU-486 or medication abortion) is a safe way to end a pregnancy in the earliest stages without procedure. Many women choose this method because it feels more natural and they like the comfort of being at home, having a friend or family member with them. This method does not require procedure or anesthesia and some women feel they have more control over the process, because they can plan the process around their demanding schedule.While the Abortion Pill method is a private experience, it is not one to go through alone. Having a good support system is essential. Understanding what is supposed to happen is important. Please be sure to explore our section on the abortion pill. If there are more questions that we can answer for you, please call us! 

4. Which is better the abortion pill or the surgical abortion method?

Both the abortion pill method and the surgical abortion method are fine, safe options. What may be best for some women may not be best for others. That is why we encourage you to review the information about both types and decide for yourself which is best for YOU. Some patients prefer the convenience of the surgical abortion because everything is done in 1-day and when they leave our office, they know their abortion process is complete. Some women prefer completing the abortion process in the comfort of their own home and setting the timing of their abortion around their work schedule or their childcare schedule. Whichever option you decide is better for you, will be the right decision. 

5. How long will the procedure take and how long will I be at the clinic?

Surgical abortion usually takes a few minutes, but if you are being cared for in a health center that provides high quality care, you can expect to be at the clinic for several hours. We strongly believe that abortion care cannot be done on a lunch hour (believe it or not, people have asked!). There is a big difference between cheap abortion providers and high quality abortion providers, who take the time to provide you with pre-procedure counseling, take a full medical history and complete all necessary lab work. Following procedure, we allow our patients ample recovery time in a quiet, restful/relaxing recovery area with medical and counseling staff available. We also provide our patients with comprehensive Recovery At Home information and a 24-hour emergency contact number.

6. What is the earliest I can get an abortion? Can I have an abortion at 6 weeks pregnant?

Northland Family Planning Centers offer abortion care beginning at 4 weeks into the pregnancy. With early pregnancy tests, it is possible to find out that you are pregnant within a few days of conception, giving you time to think about your options, have conversations with yourself and with the people who are important to you, and then make the decision that is best for you.

Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, you have several options:

If you are early in your pregnancy (10 weeks pregnant or less), you can choose to have a Medication Abortion (the abortion pill). If you require a first trimester abortion you can have an early surgical abortion or abortion using Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA).

Abortion procedure is considered one of the safest out-patient surgical procedures when performed by trained physicians. Our team of male and female licensed OB/GYNS come to us with the most exceptional skills and standards. All abortion procedures are performed in our clean, private surgical rooms and each patient is attended to by one of our caring health professionals.

If you are beyond 14 weeks of pregnancy, and into your second trimester of pregnancy, you will need to schedule a surgical second trimester abortion called a D&E. This procedure consists of dilating your cervix & removing the pregnancy. During your time with us, you will get to know our whole, caring team. From speaking privately with a reproductive health counselor to seeing our gentle doctors, we are here for you every step of the way.

7. Can I get a free abortion?

The State of Michigan does not allow Medicaid to cover abortion, so having an abortion at no cost is not possible. We have financial assistance available for low income patients. Northland staff members are exceptional at helping women in need obtain funding and assistance. We are not set up to do payment plans, but we are dedicated funding advocates for women. Whether it’s by personally helping you brainstorm ways to raise money, or working overtime ourselves to call funding agencies on your behalf, we will do all we can to help you through this time. We can complete eligibility for some funding at the same time you call to make your appointment.

Our staff can also help you brainstorm other ways to raise money when you call us. For example, one way to help pay for this procedure, may be to ask friends or family to provide you with a loan or their credit card and you could pay them back.

Many women do not know that we accept most private insurance plans for abortions. Ask us about your particular insurance and we can check coverage when you call us. We also accept all major credit cards.

8. I’m looking for a cheap abortion. What is the best way to decide if a cheap abortion is the right choice?

Not all abortion providers are the same. This makes choosing an abortion clinic that will provide excellent, quality care confusing. Remember, this is your body and your health. Choose an abortion care provider as if your life depends on it… BECAUSE IT DOES!

Check your options carefully. Selecting a place where you will have an abortion should be about where you feel safe; where the doctors, nurses and support staff are willing to answer all of your questions. The clinic should be clean, well staffed and be willing to take time to make sure that you are well informed and comfortable with your decision. A good clinic will care about your total health- not just this pregnancy.

Northland Family Planning Centers are inspected and certified by the National Abortion Federation. We know that we are not the cheapest because we are choosing to provide top-notch women’s health care. We believe that a quality physician, staff and clinic is more important than being too cheap. Our fees are exactly what we say, with NO hidden costs. Be sure that other clinics are being honest about their price. Our clinics are safe and clean, and we are proud to have you see them. If you visit a different clinic that seems dingy and dirty, imagine what their surgical rooms may look like. In fact, we recommend you visit ahead of your appointment to see how you feel about the place you have chosen for your abortion care.

9. I’m having a hard time deciding if abortion is right for me. Do you have something to help me decide?

You are not alone. Choosing an abortion can be a tremendously difficult choice. We know that and we can help. Deciding on whether or not to become a mother at this time in your life, requires you taking time to identify and sort out your feelings about this pregnancy. You may feel as if your entire past, present and future are up for examination. As a result, feelings about abortion may also have a great deal to do with other issues in your life that have not been addressed, such as the relationship with the man involved, or whether or not you are able to afford another child.

The abortion decision section of our website has many tools that can help you decide. You are also welcome to come in and talk with one of our family planning specialists about your options. Pregnancy options counseling is a free service that we offer. We want to help you make the decision that is best for you and your family. When you come in we will offer you a FREE copy of the Pregnancy Options Workbook to assist you in sorting out your feelings. Pregnancy Options Workbook

10. If I am under 18 years of age can I get an abortion?

Yes. However, there are teenage abortion laws that must be followed. Michigan state law says that you must have the consent of at least one parent or guardian, or obtain a judicial bypass. We can help you with either. Most states have some sort of law regarding teens and abortion. Don’t be afraid or discouraged ……..ask and we can help you with this process. We have free attorneys and other resources available to assist you with this law. 

11. Is there a waiting period to have an abortion? What do I need to do?

Yes, there is a Michigan abortion wait time of 24-hours, as well as a couple of other requirements. Please call us and we will explain what you must do. If you get your information from the internet – the State of Michigan website – you must print the form at least 24 hours before you come in. We are not allowed, by Michigan law, to perform an abortion without this. See Michigan’s 24-Hour Waiting Period Law for further information.

Adoption FAQ

1. What is Open Adoption?

Open Adoption means that the woman choosing adoption and the adoptive family know who each other are.  It is everything from face-to-face visits between the woman and the family wanting to adopt, to the exchange of photos, letters and cards. In an Open Adoption the woman choosing adoption, with the help of her advocate, usually selects and interview a prospective adoptive family. Together, they create an adoption plan that feels right for everyone.

A Semi-Open Adoption involves sharing first names, medical histories and other very limited but pertinent information. This information share can be similar to an Open Adoption in that you are sharing cards, letters or photos; however with a Semi-Open Adoption, the sharing is limited to non-identifying information.

Several very important factors should be considered in making the choice for open adoption.  One particular factor that sometimes gets overlooked is what option best provides for the needs of the child.

2. Why does Choice Network only do Open and Semi-Open Adoptions?

Choice Network’s philosophy looks at adoption as a lifelong process, and not a singular act.  Open and Semi-Open Adoptions are the only processes that allow for true healing.  Grief Specialist Maria Trozzi once stated, “If it’s unmentionable, it’s unmanageable.”  That is why Choice Network will work with you and honor your feelings during your pregnancy, the birth and through the adoption process

3. Why is Open Adoption good for the woman choosing adoption, the child, and the family choosing adoption?  What are some benefits of open adoption?

A woman who chooses adoption may feel today that she doesn’t need to know about the child.  One wonderful  aspect of Open Adoption and Semi-Open Adoption is that if she decides she would like a more open relationship in the future, the pictures, letters and updates will be waiting and available for her through the agency.  Open and Semi-Open Adoption can simply mean she is able to leave the door open for future contact.

4. What is an Adoption Plan?

An adoption plan includes making all the decisions related to the process- choosing a family, deciding the level of openness, deciding the medical and financial care that is needed, determining the housing situation, discussing support during the pregnancy and creating a hospital/birth plan.

5. How can I get more information?

If you are interested in learning more about our adoption services, or simply would like more information, we invite you to come in for a private conversation with one of our counselors or talk with one of the adoption advocates at the Choice Network office.

This is just one step in your journey.

Plan B FAQ

Plan B is most effective when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Although Plan B can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex, effectiveness declines after the first 72 hours. 

1. What is Emergency Contraception?

Emergency Contraception (also known as EC, Plan B or the Morning After Pill), is an FDA-approved method that allows you a second chance at preventing pregnancy when you have had unprotected sex. It is a backup method of preventing pregnancy and is not meant to be used as a regular method of contraception or birth control.

This treatment is intended only for emergencies and is not as effective as other forms of birth control. Plan B does not protect against any STIs (including HIV/AIDS). EC is NOT effective in terminating an existing pregnancy.

2. How long after sex is EC effective?

Plan B 1-Step has been FDA approved for use within 72 hours after unprotected sex. However, recent studies have found that emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex.

The best possible success from EC happens when women start the treatment as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

Please note: Results show a higher rate of effectiveness when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Effectiveness declines the longer the woman waits to take it.

3. How does EC work?

The synthetic (artificial) hormones are the same hormones used in many birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. The hormone used in EC changes the body’s signals so that pregnancy is prevented by temporarily stopping the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary, or it may prevent fertilization. It may also prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

The Morning After Pill is not effective in terminating an existing pregnancy or an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

4. When will I get my period?

You may experience spotting a few days after taking the medication. Your first period following EC may be different than usual: later, earlier or heavier. Your periods should return to normal within two cycles. Repeat pregnancy testing or a pelvic exam is recommended if there is any doubt concerning the general health or pregnancy status of any woman after EC.

5. Do I need to return to the center after I take the Morning After Pill?

No, but we highly recommend you do. And, it’s FREE. Pharmacies do not offer this important follow-up care. However, here at Northland, we care about you and know you are worried. So, we do a repeat FREE pregnancy test in 3 weeks. There is no additional charge for this visit and you do not need to make an appointment. At this visit, you can also begin birth control with our QUICK! Start program.

6. Who cannot take EC?

Emergency Contraception should NOT be taken by women with a confirmed or suspected pregnancy, undiagnosed abnormal vaginal bleeding, an allergy to any component of the product or any of the following conditions: blood clotting disorder/heart attack/stroke, thrombophlebitis, impaired liver function, breast cancer or any cancer involving the reproductive organs. Women who are breast-feeding should stop for 24 hours after taking the medication.

Plan B will not protect from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

7. What should I be concerned about? Are there any side effects?

Side effects from EC are minimal when taken as directed. Some women may experience side effects similar to those of many birth control pills, including a heavier or lighter next period. There could be a little bit of nausea or fatigue, a slight headache or breast tenderness.

Women who experience any of the following symptoms while taking EC should call their doctor or Northland Family Planning Center immediately:

  • Severe abdominal pains
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Sharp headaches
  • Eye problems, such as blurred vision
  • Severe leg or arm pain or numbness

8. Could I take EC and still become pregnant?

Yes.  Emergency Contraception is not 100% effective and you could become pregnant.

9. How do I know if Plan B worked?

If you get your period, at the expected time or within a week of the expected time, then Plan B has worked. If you are more than 7 (seven) days late for your next period, you may be pregnant.

10. What next?

If you are interested, you can also get started on birth control at the SAME TIME you come in for the Morning After Pill.  You can do this through our QUICK! Start Program, with NO exam!! Please ask our staff about this- we are more than happy to help you get started on a regular birth control regimen while at our office.  Note: you can get the birth control at this visit however you will not start it until your next period.

Taking care of your reproductive health means more than just birth control. Good reproductive health care means screening for life-threatening cancers and screening for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) to help protect your health, your partner’s health and your ability to have children in the future.


Learn more about the Morning After Pill at