Abortion Counseling – A Path to Safe Abortion

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Anyone seeking safe abortion counseling and information can access these services free of charge from safe2choose.

Each year, 40% of occurring pregnancies worldwide are unplanned. This means that every day people from all around the world face unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, which they either might not know how to manage or for various reasons, might decide to have an abortion. Everyone, regardless of race, class, religion, culture or country, deserves to know about their safe options. 

However, information on how to choose is not made readily available for everyone. In some contexts, the conversation about sexual and reproductive health in general might be restricted due to various institutional and societal barriers while people need to access safe information in order to make informed choices. Sometimes this information may not be readily available. The result of this is that they will seek that information from different sources, some of these sources might be safe while , others might be life threatening. 

Through the decision-making process, people should be provided with the needed support and assistance. In fact, abortion counseling aims to assist people in the choices they make about an unwanted or an unplanned pregnancy. It also provides them with the necessary guidance to carry out those decisions. 

For safe2choose abortion counseling, we always put a choice first, abortion counseling is a key component in the abortion process by providing women with reliable information in an empathetic, non-stigmatizing and friendly manner. 

For a person’s choice

Abortion counseling is a personalized process that puts people at the heart of their unplanned or unwanted pregnancy decisions. They are empowered with the information and resources to decide for themselves. On their own terms. In fact, “counseling needs to be supportive and nonjudgmental regardless of circumstances.”

[2]

Depending on the circumstances of their pregnancy, their country legislations, cultures, or socio-economic backgrounds, some women may know that abortion is what they want while others might not be sure. By equipping them with the right information about the options available to them, abortion counseling becomes a bridge for women to safely choose for themselves. 

 

Counselors are supporters in the decision-making process rather than advisors. This is the reason why while selecting abortion counselors are qualities described as personality traits. These include empathy, non-possessive warmth, and genuineness. Also, maturity and flexibility are needed in allowing the woman to make the decision, particularly in cases of ambivalence and uncertainty.”[3]

At safe2choose.org, abortion counseling services are available in several languages, including Hindi, Kiswahili, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Wolof, and English. Our users can also always have a one-on-one chat with a counselor through the live chat section of our Website, or send an e-mail via [email protected]

Abortion counseling opens up the abortion discussion by offering a safe space for women to reflect and to decide, it paves the way for people to make self-conscious decisions about their pregnancy. The process is also a barrier against stigma, either external or self-stigmatizing attitudes from people themselves. 

For access to safe abortion

Unsafe abortion refers to pregnancy termination practices performed by unqualified personnel who lack the necessary skills, in an environment that does not confine to minimum medical standards or with protocols that are not based on scientific research. 

Some of the consequences and complications of unsafe abortion methods may involve risks of hemorrhage, damage to internal organs or further surgery. 

According to Sharon Camp, president of the Guttmatcher Institute, “it is significant and tragic that while the overall rate of abortion is on the decline, unsafe abortion has not declined,”[4]. Most of the women who seek unsafe abortion methods are women who lack access to not only safe abortion services but also women who lack information. 

Abortion counseling is key in providing access to both. 

It is preventive while promoting the fight against those unsafe abortion practices. It is a bridge to actively participate in stopping the “7 million women and girls injured or disabled due to unsafe abortions every year, 22 000 women and girls deaths as a result of unsafe abortions every year and 97% of all unsafe abortions occuring in developing countries”. [5]

 

For access to reliable information 

Today, the challenge remains in the access to abortion counseling for everyone. In fact, if abortion counseling is also restricted and not made available, how will we empower people with the power of choice? Abortion counseling should be made readily available, in real-time for everyone. 

With digital sexual and reproductive health services and telemedicine, women, no matter where they are can safely access abortion counseling. safe2choose is an online counseling and informational platform that supports anyone who seeks abortion services and refers them to trusted, trained, and pro-choice health-care providers. At safe2choose.org, we aim to inform our users in the best possible way so they can make medically based and informed decisions about their abortions.  safe2choose.org integrates e-abortion counseling with on-the-ground counseling by referring women to local organizations or providers for more support as per the context of their countries.  safe2choose.org offers a personalized abortion counseling session with our counselors, they remain at your disposal to counsel, to listen, and to provide accessible and safe information about abortion services.  

We provide one-on-one chats through the live chat section of the website, or via e-mail at [email protected]

safe2choose also welcomes users to visit our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok pages to learn more about our work.

Sources

[1][6][7][8][9]“Unwanted pregnancy? We can support you”, safe2choose

[2] [3] “Abortion Counseling”, J.D. Asher, AMJ Public health, 1972

[4] “Unsafe abortions kill 70,000 per year, harm millions”, Kate Kelland

[5] “Unsafe abortion: A forgotten emergency”, Docters without borders, 2019

[10] “Counseling in Abortion Care”, Valerie French, MD, MAS, Alissa Perucci, Phd, MPH

Author Bio:

Michell Mor, eHealth Content Specialist at Women First Digital, an organization helping women about contraception and sexual health.