Advice for Partners

Supporting Someone Having an Abortion

If you are a partner, friend, relative or carer of someone thinking about their abortion options, your support can make all the difference to them.

The person you are supporting may have had to build up a lot of courage to tell you. They may want to involve you in the decision, or they may ask you to hold space for them as they come to their decision alone.

One in three women in the UK will have an abortion by the time they are 45. Even though it is very common, abortion care and abortion experiences aren’t talked about very much. This can make it difficult to know how to be supportive. We have suggested a few ways you can be a good support person for someone having an abortion.

5 Different Ways to Support:

Offer a Listening Ear

Having someone that you trust to talk to is so valuable. Being a supportive, non-judgemental person to explore options with can help someone you care about feel confident about the decision they feel is best for them.

It is important to give a person space to explore how they feel and what they want to do. Try to avoid giving advice or sharing what you would do in the same situation, unless you are asked. The final decision on whether to have an abortion or to continue the pregnancy will be for the person you are supporting to make. This might not be the same decision that you would make, and that’s ok. Pregnancy decisions can be tough. Your continued support will greatly help whatever their decision.

The person you are supporting may not want to talk through their options with you. They may prefer some alone time to think, or they might not feel comfortable sharing all the details. Respecting a person’s privacy is important. Simply offering a listening ear if they do ever want to talk is very supportive.

Learn What to Expect

Knowing what to expect when the person you are supporting is accessing abortion care can be a huge help to them. They may ask you to go through the information with them, so it feels less daunting. If they have questions along the way you could help to make notes so they can ask a clinician at their consultation.

We provide two types of abortion. Find out more about medical and surgical abortion care here.

You may have lots of questions about abortion care. Our useful Frequently Asked Questions page answers the questions we are asked the most often.

If you have any further questions you can talk to one of our team on our live webchat. Our advisors are available from 8am - 10pm, 7 days a week.

Offer to Come to Their Appointment

Many people find that having someone close with them while visiting a clinic feels very supportive. You can accompany them for some of their appointment, but we will need to see them alone at other times. This is so we can do medical, legal and wellbeing checks to make sure they are offered the treatment best suited to them. While they are having their procedure or treatment, you will be welcome to sit in our waiting room.

If the person you are supporting is under 16 years old, we ask that they are accompanied by a trusted adult. The young person does not need parental consent to have an abortion, but having a trusted adult with them can make them feel well supported. It is important for a young person to understand the procedure and what to expect in a pressure-free environment.

Offer Childcare for Their Appointment

More than half of all women who have abortions already have children. If the person you are supporting has children to care for, offering to look after the kids while they attend their appointment can be very helpful. Our clinics do not have facilities for children, and so we ask that our patients do not bring children to their appointments.

Offer to Stay with Them During Aftercare

We recommended that our medical abortion patients have a partner or adult companion that they trust with them at home during their medical abortion. This is to give them support at home.

If the person you are supporting is having a surgical abortion with conscious sedation or general anaesthetic, we ask that they have a trusted adult to take them home and stay with them for 24 hours. They will not be able to drive themselves home after conscious sedation or general anaesthetic. They may feel like their memory and concentration is affected for a day or two after general anaesthetic.

Support at home during and after a medical abortion or after a surgical abortion can include:

Making them warm drinks.

Making them food or bringing snacks.

Bringing pain relief tablets and helping them keep track of when they have taken them.

Preparing heat pads or warm hot water bottles for pain relief.

Looking after any children or pets.

Sitting with them to make them feel at ease.

Watching TV together on a comfy sofa.

Helping to monitor bleeding, pain or any side effects, and calling the NUPAS Aftercare line if you're worried.

Offer emotional support if they would like to talk about how they are feeling.

If you need to talk...

You may find this time and your support role stressful or difficult. It is important to look after yourself and your needs so you can continue to give support.

If you would like to talk about your thoughts on what you or the person you are supporting are experiencing, Abortion Talk run a confidential pro-choice Talkline. The Talkline is judgement-free and offers a space for you to be heard. It is for anyone with abortion experiences, and that includes those who have supported someone with their abortion decisions.

Find out more about Abortion Talk at

Get in touch with NUPAS

Give us a call:

United Kingdom:
0333 004 6666

Republic of Ireland:
(01) 874 0097

0044 161 4872660

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