What is Involved in Abortion Counseling?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Abortion counseling provides women with information about abortion and assistance in either making appropriate choices about an unwanted pregnancy, or in some cases, helping a woman resolve her feelings about an abortion that she has had or will soon undergo. The types and content of abortion counseling vary according to the provider. Mental health professionals may offer abortion therapy, while abortion providers may provide a more decision-oriented approach. Some organizations that oppose abortion may offer counseling designed to present other options, such as parenting or adoption.

In many countries, including the United States, abortion is one alternative offered to women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. Pre-abortion counseling is often part of the services offered by clinics and medical centers that perform abortions. Abortion counseling may involve a presentation of a woman's options for dealing with her pregnancy, information about the health risks of both pregnancy and abortion, and an attempt on the part of the counselor to determine if the woman is being forced or coerced into having an abortion. Women who are coping with other stresses, such as domestic violence, health problems, or difficulty caring for their children may be offered support and referrals to agencies that can help them. Family planning clinics that do not actually perform abortions may also offer pre- and post-abortion counseling services.

Groups that oppose abortion may also offer abortion counseling services. These organizations typically offer counseling along with pregnancy tests and, in some cases, ultrasound exams. The nature of the abortion counseling offered by these organizations varies, but often includes a presentation of alternatives to abortion as well as information about supportive services. Some anti-abortion organizations offer post-abortion counseling as well, in which the counselor seeks to address negative or unexpected feelings about the abortion. Some of these pregnancy resource centers have a religious orientation that may or may not be a part of the counseling process.

Group counseling and support may be offered by organizations that both oppose and support abortion rights. In addition, both types of organizations may provide supportive services to women who choose to have abortions but who are concerned about becoming pregnant again. Family planning clinics may offer contraceptive education and counseling, while religiously-oriented crisis pregnancy centers may provide support for a woman who wishes to cease sexual activity until she marries or education in natural family planning to married clients.

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