Ask a Social Worker is a monthly column featuring questions from the community and answers from members of NHF’s Social Work Working Group. If you have questions for our social workers, send them to [email protected].
NOTE: If you have a blood or bleeding disorder and seek an abortion, it’s important to talk to your medical team first about any potential complications. NHF also asked several physicians from across the country to weigh in on this topic; you can find their guidance here.
Dear Amy and Lucy,
I am pregnant and not ready for a child. I plan to seek an abortion, but I have a bleeding disorder. Can I have an abortion with a bleeding disorder? Are there precautions I should take? What should I tell my provider?
It can be stressful to find out that you are pregnant when you didn’t plan on it, or don’t want to be. Decisions related to your pregnancy are personal—only you know the right decision for yourself and your family.
Obtaining appropriate counseling from the medical professionals who are most familiar with the procedure and your personal condition is key to a safe procedure and recovery. Additionally, these professionals can help you with any documentation you may need to provide to an employer or school if it is necessary. This medical counseling should take place in a safe, supportive environment that allows you to plan for the best possible health outcome for you.
If you have not already identified a source of care for the pregnancy termination, it is important that you receive a referral for care from a trusted medical provider, such as the staff at your hemophilia treatment center (HTC). This provider should be willing to coordinate with your HTC to ensure that you receive the necessary care for your bleeding disorder before and after the procedure.
Each person’s situation is special, but a wide range of emotions, feelings and concerns can accompany an abortion. It is normal to feel these emotions now, or in the future. There are several support resources available when or if you feel you would benefit from accessing them. Your HTC social worker can help identify these resources.
Lastly, as with any procedure, it’s important to consider taking time away from other responsibilities (school, employment, other family or caregiving duties, etc.) and to have a plan for support during recovery, as needed. That could include physical support, emotional support, financial support and so forth.
Ultimately, you know what is right for you, your family and your body, and we encourage you to continue to be a vocal advocate for yourself and your health.
— Amy Wilson, MSW, LICSW, ACM
Wilson is a social worker at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders in Minneapolis and the chair of the Social Work Working Group.
— Lucy Ramirez, MSW, LCSW
Ramirez is a social worker at Rush Hemophilia and Thrombophilia Center in Chicago and a member of the Social Work Working Group.