Why You Need an Ultrasound Before Abortion in Washington, DC

An unplanned pregnancy can send anyone into a panic. We know how overwhelming it can be, but don’t let fear make any decisions for you! Make sure you get all the facts on abortion in Washington, DC, so you can make an informed and empowered decision!

In this article, we’re exploring the Washington, DC abortion law and the importance of ultrasounds in your unplanned pregnancy journey!

What are the Abortion Laws in Washington, DC? Is Abortion Legal in Washington, DC?

Currently, abortion is legal all throughout pregnancy in Washington, DC[1]. Although ultrasounds aren’t required prior to abortion in Washington, DC, we strongly recommend it! Keep reading to find out why!

Why Do I Need an Ultrasound?

You may be wondering why you’d want an ultrasound, especially if you’re thinking about terminating the pregnancy. The answer is that ultrasounds provide the insight needed to make an informed and empowered decision for an unplanned pregnancy! They determine two key things about your pregnancy: pregnancy viability and gestational age.

What is Pregnancy Viability?
How far along am I? Your ultrasound can answer that question! It’s important to know how far along you are (also known as your gestational age), as you can’t take the abortion pill past 10 weeks of pregnancy[2]. If you are uncomfortable with other forms of abortion, you may want to take time to explore your other pregnancy options.

What is Gestational Age?
A viable pregnancy means that the pregnancy is progressing properly. For example, at about six weeks, the embryo should have a heartbeat[3]. The goal is to rule out a nonviable pregnancy, such as a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy—in either case, abortion isn’t needed and you can move forward with the appropriate medical care.

Where Can I Get an Ultrasound Without a Referral?

Most healthcare providers require a referral in order to receive an ultrasound. However, that can seem daunting, especially if you don’t have insurance or a primary care provider.

The good news is that If you receive a positive pregnancy test at The Northwest Center, we’ll provide an ultrasound referral for free, so you can get the care you deserve!


  1. Questions and Answers on Abortion Care and Freedom of Expression in the District of Columbia. Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. (2023, January 13). Retrieved from https://oag.dc.gov/release/consumer-alert-questions-and-answers-abortion-care 

  1. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2021, December 16). Mifeprex (Mifepristone). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/mifeprex-mifepristone-information 
  2. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, September 3). Slide Show: Fetal Ultrasound. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/multimedia/fetal-ultrasound/sls-20076294?s=3# 
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