Pregnancy Decision Making

Adapted from Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Factsheet

Planned Parenthood Regina (PPR) is a pro-choice organization. When you are pregnant, we believe that you have the right to access factual, caring and non-judgmental information and services on all 3 of your options: abortion, adoption and parenting.

If you need support with decision making, contact us to book an appointment (call 306-522-0902 ext zero from Monday to Friday, 9am-noon and 1-5pm).

Making a decision about a pregnancy can be confusing. You may have a range of emotions, from not feeling much at all, to feeling a lot of different things at once. Whatever you feel or don’t feel:

  • Your feelings are okay.
  • Your feelings can give you information to use in making a decision.
  • Lots of other people have felt the same way(s).
  • The decision about what to do and who to tell is 100% up to you. 

It can be overwhelming to know where to start and how to address all the different factors of a decision. This guide asks questions to give you some structure to sort through your feelings and thoughts. It can give you a place to start. These questions are often not the whole process though, and other support is available if you need it.

You can think over the questions privately, write or journal about your thoughts, and/or share the process with people close to you. If you have people in your life who will support you in your decision, consider reaching out to them and asking for the kind(s) of support you need. Do you need to be listened to? To imagine together what life would look like with each option? To have help booking or getting to appointments? The support you need matters. We’ve also listed some support options at the bottom of this page.

As you consider your options, it’s common to find that all of them have drawbacks. For lots of people making a decision isn’t about finding the perfect choice, but finding a choice that works better than the others or that they can live with. Some people feel pressure to make the “right” decision, but it’s really normal to not feel like no decision is ideal, or to have conflicting feelings about the option you choose.

Getting Reliable Information

It’s normal to have lots of questions about the options you’re considering and how to access them. Finding reliable, unbiased info can help make sure you’re making the best decision for you. The resources at the end of this factsheet are good places to get pro-choice, non-judgmental info and to ask questions.

Timelines

There can be a lot of pressure to make pregnancy decisions quickly, but some people need time to make a decision, or to work through and feel okay about the decision they’re making. Below are some timelines that may be helpful, listed by gestational age (GA), which is the time since the first day of your last menstrual period.

  • Abortion: In Regina, medical abortion is available until 9 weeks GA, and surgical abortion is available until 14 weeks GA, but it may be possible to get a 2-day surgical procedure from 15-18 weeks GA.
  • Continuing a pregnancy: You can start prenatal care if you feel comfortable with it even if you are not sure you will continue the pregnancy. If continuing, it’s ideal to start prenatal care as soon as is reasonable for you. 

Questions to Consider

What are your thoughts and feelings about abortion? About adoption? About parenting?

You may have strong beliefs that you want to use to guide your actions. You may also find that being in a situation feels different from how you might have imagined it would feel before it happened. When making a decision about a pregnancy many people find that they need to consider or do things they never pictured themselves doing. Many also find themselves examining beliefs they might not have had reason to think through in depth before, like religious beliefs about abortion or judgments about who ends up in situations where they feel undecided about a pregnancy.

Where do your thoughts and feelings come from? What have you been taught or brought up to believe about the options? It can be useful to consider how thoughts, feelings, and beliefs line up or don’t line up with reliable information about each option, and with your current values and how you want to make decisions in your life now.

If you’ve made pregnancy decisions before, thinking through those experiences can also be helpful. How did they go? What’s similar or different about your situation or feelings now?

What would change or stay the same in your life if you had an abortion? If you continued the pregnancy and arranged an adoption? If you continued the pregnancy and parented?

Thinking about all the aspects of your life can be a lot. It may be helpful to think of a few (maybe 3) important things in your life and reflect on how they would or wouldn’t change. This can help focus on the impact of your decision on things that are important to you.

How would your goals and plans for the next 5-10 years change or stay the same if you had an abortion? If you continued the pregnancy and arranged an adoption? If you continued the pregnancy and became a parent?

For this and the previous question, how would you feel about those changes? Which ones would be positive for you? Negative? Neutral? How big of an impact would they have? Which ones could you manage or deal with, and which ones would be impossible or very difficult to deal with?

How does your financial situation affect your choice?

Financial concerns are an influence in lots of people’s pregnancy decisions. If you would otherwise want to parent, money can be an especially big factor. Do you have an idea about what you’d want your financial situation to be if you were going to be a parent? How does that compare to your situation now? If it’s different, how does that make things feel for you?

Some information that may be helpful around financial/cost issues:

  • Abortion: With a Saskatchewan health card abortions are fully covered but some people have had to take time off of work for the required medical appointments and recovery. If you do not have a health card, please contact us as soon as possible for assistance. 
  • Adoption: In Saskatchewan there is no cost to the pregnant person for adoption but other parts of the process (like time off work during/after pregnancy) can still impact your finances.
  • Parenting: There are some government and other financial supports for parents through Social Services and other community organizations.

How would people and communities who matter in your life react if you had an abortion? If you continued the pregnancy and arranged an adoption? If you continued the pregnancy and became a parent? Would they be helpful or supportive? Would it change your relationships with them? Would you be able to talk to them about what was going on? If you couldn’t tell them or it would change your relationships, how would that feel for you?

Other Resources

When dealing with a pregnancy decision some people can’t go to the people in their life they would usually rely on, and some need more or different support than those people can give. If you want to talk to someone pro-choice and non-judgmental about your decision or get more info or support with next steps, check out these resources:

  • Appointments with PPR’s clinicians: information in-person or over the phone, support and active listening on pregnancy options & sexual health issues (Mon-Fri; 9am-noon & 1-5pm; 306-522-0902 ext zero).
  • Anyone who is pregnant can call the Women’s Health Centre at the General Hospital for abortion services (306-766-0586; Monday to Friday from 8am-4pm).
  • Action Canada’s Access Line (call 1-888-642-2725 or text 613-800-6757 from 9am-9pm EST): for questions about sexual health, pregnancy options, abortion, and safer sex.
  • All-Options (1-888-493-0092, toll-free): non-judgmental peer support for decisions/feelings/experiences around pregnancy.
  • Adoption Services are available through Social Services (Regina Service Centre at 2045 Broad St; 306-787-3700) and support services can also be offered through the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan (https://adoptionsask.org/; 306-665-7272)
  • Clinics that may be able to offer prenatal care if you do not have a family doctor or if your doctor is unable to provide care:
    • Meadows Primary Care Clinic (Mon-Fri; 9am-8pm; 306-766-6399)
    • 4 Directions Community Clinic (Mon-Fri; 9am-4:30pm; 306-766-7541)
    • YQR Women’s Clinic (Mon-Fri; 9am-12pm & 1-5pm; 306-522-2229)
  • Community programs for parents may help with education, employment, housing, or financial support: 
    • Al Ritchie Family Wellness Project (306-525-4989)
    • Catholic Family Services (306-525-0521 ext 231)
    • Kids First Regina (306-766-6340) 
    • Rainbow Youth Centre Young Parent Program (306-757-9743) 
    • Community Parent Education Program (306-766-6700) 
    • 4 Directions Community Health Centre (306-766-7540) 
    • Family Service Regina (306-757-6675)
    • Parent Mentoring Program (306-766-6795)
    • Triple P Parenting Courses 
    • YWCA Regina (306-525-2141)

Questions & Answers

No. You do not need parental consent to have an abortion in SK. Doctors often encourage teens to tell a parent or another important adult who can help them get to appointments and offer emotional support. Hospitals and clinics must keep the names of teenagers who have abortions private.

The earlier you have an abortion, the lower the chance of complications. Abortions that occur within the first 12 weeks (the first-trimester) are safe and simple medical procedures that can be performed quickly and routinely. The complication rate for abortions is low — even lower than childbirth.

According to the best medical evidence, abortion is extremely safe in terms of a person’s ability to get pregnant again in the future. In fact, fertility often returns quickly after an abortion. If a person wants to delay pregnancy, they should use a reliable method of birth control starting immediately after an abortion.

Legally, the choice about whether to get an abortion or not is entirely up to the pregnant person. Who they tell and how much they consider their opinion is up to them. Unfortunately, in some cases it is not safe for a person to disclose that they are pregnant or that they are considering abortion. Coercing someone into an abortion, adoption, or continuing a pregnancy is illegal. Please reach out for support if you need it.

Links to Online Resources