Abortion – supporting your partner

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This information is for men who are supporting their partner’s decision to have an abortion.

In Victoria, abortion is legal.

At the Women’s we aim to fully inform women about the procedure at her medical consultation. This gives her the opportunity to ask questions or express any concerns she has and to be treated with respect and dignity. If she has specific fears or worries that persist and you do not feel able to help her with, you can encourage her to contact the Pregnancy Advisory Service for more support.

On this page:

Practical support

Your partner will appreciate any practical support you can give her at this time.

  • Offer to help with expenses including surgery fees, blood tests, hospital costs etc.
  • Read the medical information sheet given to her by staff about post-abortion care; keep it in a handy place.
  • Offer to drive her to the hospital and to pick her up following the procedure. This is especially important if she has had a general anaesthetic as she will not be able to drive for 24 hours following. The Women’s requires that women have a support person available who can be contacted and can pick them up following the procedure.
  • Depending on the type of procedure she is having, you may be able to stay with her while she has treatment.
  • She may feel sick or tired afterwards; help with childcare, cooking or other domestic tasks while she is recovering.
  • Ask her what she would like to do once she is home – sleep, relax, talk?

Emotional support

Emotional support will also be important to her before, during and after the abortion.

  • Let her know that you will support her throughout and after the abortion.
  • Provide reassurance and listen if she wants to talk about her decision.
  • She may be anxious about the medical procedure; your presence may help her feel more comfortable.
  • Take care of yourselves. Acknowledge what you’ve been through and take some time out.

How your partner might feel after an abortion

Accept that your partner may have mixed feelings and a range of emotions about the abortion – both positive and negative.

On the positive side, she may feel:

  • a re-enforced sense of control over her life
  • the experience has brought the two of you closer together
  • she has a better understanding of fertility and contraception
  • that she wants to have a child when it is the right time
  • more comfortable with making important decisions
  • relief that she has made the decision and can begin to move on.

On the other hand, she may feel:

  • sadness at ending the pregnancy. Feeling sad does not necessarily mean that she has made the wrong decision. It may simply be an acknowledgement of a difficult decision
  • worried about her health or the effect the decision has had on your relationship
  • guilt because her decision might be disapproved of by society or by someone in her community
  • anger towards you that she carried more of the responsibility for the decision or she may feel angry at herself for getting pregnant
  • disappointment, if she felt there was a lack of support from those around her.

Being able to express these feelings in a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment can help prevent these feelings becoming overwhelming. Research shows that where women are able to make their own decision and are given support to do this, they will most likely experience a sense of relief and feel a continued sense of confidence in their decision.

As well as talking to you, it may be helpful for her to talk about her feelings with supportive friends or family members. If she is finding these feelings unmanageable then it may be helpful to contact Social Work for post-abortion counselling or for referrals to other appropriate counsellors.

If your partner is undecided about her unplanned pregnancy, you may find it useful to read Unplanned pregnancy information for men.

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The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.