Pregnancy Following Sexual Assault

Counseling Issues

  • The survivor decides what is best for her.
  • The survivor has numerous options to consider, listed below.
  • Recognize the sexual assault counselor’s role is to support the survivor, knowing she has explored her options.

Exploring Options

  • A survivor has three options: continue the pregnancy and raise the child, continue the pregnancy and place the child up for adoption, or have an abortion.
  • It is important for you to consider all of your options since continuing or ending a pregnancy is a decision that you will not be able to change.
  • Some people may be unsure of which option is best for them. Explore all options. Consider these questions:
    • “Do you want to continue this pregnancy?”
    • “Is there someone else you would like to talk to about this decision?”
    • “Did you feel this way about [having children or an abortion] before the assault?”

Emergency Contraception

  • Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that is available at the W&L Student Health Center (540-458-8401), or from a local pharmacy by signing for it as a controlled, over-the-counter medication. Plan B consists of a single dose of levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestin hormone that is used in birth control pills, that reduces the chance of pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It works like a birth control pill to prevent pregnancy by temporarily stopping the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary. It may also prevent fertilization, or prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Plan B will not do anything if you are already pregnant.
  • Plan B is most effective when taken as soon as possible, so don’t delay if you think you might need emergency contraception. If it is taken within 72 hours, it significantly reduces the risk of pregnancy—7 out of every 8 women who would have gotten pregnant will not become pregnant. Plan B works even better if taken within the first 24 hours. It may be effective when taken up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse.
  • More detailed information about Plan B is available by talking to the nurse at the Student Health Center, or the pharmacist at a local pharmacy.