Unintended Pregnancy

Am I pregnant? If I am pregnant, what will I do? Dealing with an unintended pregnancy can be stressful but you are not alone and you have options.

If you think you may be pregnant, it is a good idea to have a pregnancy test, whether or not you wish to continue the pregnancy. The Calgary Sexual Health Centre provides free pregnancy tests – just walk-in during our office hours to pick up a take-home pregnancy test or call to make an appointment to speak with a counselor while you do the test. It is important to get a pregnancy test soon and to start thinking about your options.

For Men

As a man, it’s important to know that your sexual partner has the right to choose whether to end the pregnancy or to continue with it. If she chooses to continue, you can participate in the decision making process for whether to parent or make an adoption plan. In rare circumstances such as when there is abuse by the birthfather, the birthmother may not be required to inform him of the adoption plan.

Three Options

When you are pregnant you have three options:

PARENTING: You can continue the pregnancy and choose to parent.

ADOPTION: You can continue the pregnancy and make an adoption plan.

ABORTION: You can end the pregnancy by accessing an abortion.

Deciding which option is best for you may be difficult and stressful. If you need support or if you would like to talk about your options, we can help. Calgary Sexual Health Centre has counsellors who will listen, answer your questions and discuss your options with you without any judgment or pressure. To speak with a counsellor, call 403-283-5580 or email generalmail@calgarysexualhealth.ca

My boyfriend and I just started having sex and I missed my period, is that normal?

If you are not using protection, there is a risk of pregnancy but there are other factors that can cause a person to miss a period. Some questions to ask yourself are: Is my period normally regular? Could it be late? Am I feeling stressed out about life, school or even the possibility of being pregnant (sometimes stress can cause a delay in menstruation)? If you are worried about an unplanned pregnancy, it is wise to get a pregnancy test. They are available at any pharmacy or free at the Calgary Sexual Health Centre.






What do you do in a situation where you get a girl pregnant and she wants to keep it but you don’t?

By law this is the woman’s choice as it is her body. In this situation, it can be very helpful to talk with each other and try to understand one another’s worries and points of view. A counsellor can be really helpful in this situation. There is free counselling at the Calgary Sexual Health Centre. It is important for the woman to be aware of the facts about all three choices so she can make a decision that feels right to her.






Does giving a baby up for adoption mean a person will never see her or his child again?

Not necessarily. In the situation of an “open adoption”, the birth parent(s) get to choose the adoptive family and negotiate how much contact, if any, they are all comfortable with. For example, some birth parents see their child on a regular basis and others choose just to receive regular updates and photos from the adoptive family.






Is abortion legal in Canada?

Yes – abortion is legal in Canada but this has not always been the case. In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law, ruling it unconstitutional because it infringed on a woman’s rights to “life, liberty and security of person”. Although abortion is legal, there are people who oppose abortion and try to enact new legislation to make it illegal (Bill C-43 for example). The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada is a nation-wide pro-choice group that works to ensure access to quality reproductive health care and abortion in Canada.






Is abortion in Alberta free?

Yes. In Alberta, abortions are covered by Alberta Health Care. If you do not have an Alberta Health Card there will be a charge.






With Alberta Health Care covering abortions is it possible for parents or other family members to find out?

Hospitals, clinics, and health insurance plans are obligated to keep confidential the names of all clients (including youth) who have abortions. Your parents can access their children’s medical records however it is a long process and hard to do. If you are concerned about confidentiality you can request a “suppression of claim” and it will be stricken from your health record.






How far along in a pregnancy can a woman have an abortion?

The vast majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester (up to 12 weeks) of pregnancy. In Calgary you can access abortion at The Kensington Clinic and The Women’s Health Clinic in the Peter Lougheed Hospital up to 20 weeks from the date of her last period. After 20 weeks there are options to have an abortion, but it requires you to travel to Ontario or less frequently, outside of the country. If you are thinking about an abortion, please contact the abortion clinics in Calgary or the Calgary Sexual Health Centre for the most up-to-date information about dates and timelines.






How old do you have to be to have an abortion?

In Alberta, abortions are free with provincial health care coverage, and they are available without parental consent for anyone who requires this service. 12 years old and over (youth are given the option of speaking with a counselor or social worker). If someone is not in her home province, then it can cost around $200. All women have the freedom to choose abortion, adoption or to parent, depending on what works for them and what they want. That is a decision we all have the right to make for themselves without outside influence.






What are the risks of having multiple abortions?

There is no medically or legally maximum number of abortions that someone can have. This is a decision that is up to you and your doctor. Abortion is considered a minor surgical procedure and carries similar risks to any procedure involving local anesthetic. Having one or more abortions carries no known risk of future pregnancy complications such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or birth defects for future pregnancies.






Is abortion morally wrong?

We believe in respecting everyone’s right to have their own values. Some people believe abortion is wrong and would not consider having one. Other people believe it is morally wrong to take away the abortion choice from a woman. As a pro-choice agency we believe in everyone’s right to choice when it comes to their own body, and this includes choosing which pregnancy option works best with their life. Because of this value we support people in getting the facts on all their pregnancy options, including abortion. Whatever choice a person makes – whether it is adoption, abortion or parenting we will help her access the services available in Calgary.