Counseling and Abortion Care
The shift from illegal to legal abortion in the United States represented a dramatic change for health care providers, the public, and individual women and their partners faced with unplanned pregnancy. Abortion, until then, bore the stigma of incompetent practitioners, and was equated with serious risks to women’s health and even life. When women first began to seek legal abortions, they brought with them the taboos and fearful expectations which are part of illegal abortion. These were quickly transferred to the new, legal abortion clinics, their physicians, and staff and accusations of profiteering and abuse were soon made. Abortion providers needed to prove their professionalism and concern for the women they served. Women needed to be educated about safe and legal abortion and needed to be reassured. It was a common notion that women could not make the abortion decision alone, that they needed professional help. The establishment of counseling as an integral part of the abortion service served these purposes. Providing information, support, and guidance by a professional counselor in conjunction with a medical service was and is an exemplary practice. Counseling has, after more than a decade of legal abortion, come to be perceived as beneficial to patients and providers.
KeywordsFamily Planning Unplanned Pregnancy Individual Counseling Birth Control Method Fertility Control
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