10 Ways You Can Support A Friend Thinking About Having An Abortion

10 January 2017, 16:07 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 15:20

BPAS Advice
Katie Louise-Smith

By Katie Louise-Smith

Remember that the more informed you are, the more helpful you can be to your friend.

For the majority of us, the topic of abortion is an untouched and undiscussed subject. It's been considered "taboo" for so long that it's never truly been discussed as openly and honestly as it should have been. 

So, what do you do if, one day, your best friend tells you in confidence that she is pregnant and that she is considering abortion - particularly if you don't know much about the subject yourself? Here's everything you need to know:


1) Rule 1: No judging.

Freeform / via giphy.com

If ever there was a time to leave your personal opinions at the damn door, it’s now. Your friend doesn’t want or need to be lectured. Above all, remember that this is THEIR decision and THEIR body, regardless of how you feel about the subject of abortion.


2) And don’t just assume anything either.

ABC / via giphy.com

Everyone is different. It might be an easy decision or it might be a difficult decision for your friend - don’t just assume it’s one or the other. Be patient.


3) Remind her that she is not alone. 

FOX / via giphy.com

Despite abortion often being considered a controversial subject, research shows that 1 in 3 women in the UK will have an abortion at some point in their lives. It’s an incredibly common experience; tens of thousands of unplanned pregnancies happen every year and they are absolutely nothing to be ashamed about.


4) Try to use non-shaming language.

HBO / via giphy.com

Some words and phrases surrounding the topic of abortion can sometimes sound a bit harsh. Pay attention to the words that your friend is using and follow her lead. There’s also no harm in asking her what kind of words she wants to use so that you both feel comfortable discussing the matter.


5) Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Big Machine Records / via giphy.com

Ask her how she is, how she is feeling and if she needs anything. But don’t expect an answer and don’t try to force one either. Asking questions just reminds her that you are genuinely interested in her wellbeing. When she’s ready to answer, she will.


6) And make sure you’re prepared to listen.

FOX / via giphy.com

There’s no point in asking questions if you’re not willing to listen. The most important thing you can do to help your friend is literally just to listen. Be a sounding board for her thoughts and feelings, and make sure she knows that you’re someone she can trust and speak to particularly if she is facing difficulty or pressure from her parents or other people in her life.


7) Respect her privacy

NBC / via giphy.com

The very last thing your friends needs right now is to have her business spread on social media, or passed around like gossip amongst your friendship group. Be the best secret keeper you can be. If it gets too much for you for to keep, don’t be afraid to contact a professional and ask for advice or support.


8) Help them find accurate information.

The CW / via giphy.com

As great as your Oscar-worthy advice and support is, it’s important that she knows exactly what to expect and where she can go for professional guidance and support. You can take the time to sit down with her and research these things together. There are many great services available for this type of situation, but it’s not always easy to find them or access them. If you’re in the UK, you can visit BPAS for information and advice or in the US, Planned Parenthood.


9) Don’t act differently around her. 

NBC / via giphy.com

Listen, the subject of abortion doesn’t mean you have to put an instant ban on fun and laughter. Continue to treat your friend as you normally would (within reason, of course!) Continue to invite her out, don’t exclude her from any of your usual weekend plans. Be understanding if she rejects your offer - when she’s ready to join you again, she will.


10) Literally just support her in any way you can.

ABC / via giphy.com

If your friend does decide to go through with the procedure, the BEST thing you can do is continue to support her. Be willing to do things she suggests - even if that means sitting down with her to binge-watch her favourite TV show, you know… the one you hate. (It’s time to take one for the team, ok?) Likewise, suggest something you know you both enjoy. Grab a takeaway Nando’s, throw Netflix on and binge watch every hilarious female centric comedy movie you can find.

Remember that the more informed you are, the more helpful you can be to your friend. For more information, visit BPAS.