an After abortion

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Awhile back, we had a few posts on whether pre-abortion counseling in abortion clinics is adequate, especially compared to the counseling men get for vasectomies. (Our answer: No.)

As if to confirm our point, the National Coalition of Abortion Providers through their Abortion Conversation Project has posted an essay by two abortion providers, Margaret Johnston and Claire Keyes. This essay, How Do You Want Your Abortion? describes the level of pre-abortion counseling currently offered at abortion clinics throughout the country. (Note: It's a PDF file.) They describe this as the economy model (the standard first-term abortion that costs about $350) and make it clear that no personal counseling comes with this abortion. What you get is about an hour in a small group where basic medical facts are discussed along with birth control otions and aftercare. According to these abortion providers, to get personal attention and counseling, you'd have to pay a lot more. For instance, the "full emotional support" package would cost $1,000.00. The "spiritual journey" would cost $5,000. To get your family members involved would cost $300 more than the basic $350.00.

People who are lobbying in their state legislatures for better regulation of abortion businesses and seeking to ensure that women receive genuine informed consent should print out How Do You Want Your Abortion? and use it as evidence of the current very low standards in abortion clinics.

In other counseling news, the National Abortion Federation (the trade group of abortion providers) is confused about something. In an article decrying what they think of as the myth of post-abortion syndrome, they write:

Rather than exploring the roots of a woman's psychological distress and providing unbiased therapy, anti-choice counselors tend to direct her anger towards the abortion provider by claiming that women are misinformed about the psychological trauma that abortion inflicts.
At some point, many women figure out that the pre-abortion counseling they got was minimal at best, and inaccurate at worst. Apart from that, this sentence doesn't explain how those angry women got in touch with "anti-choice counselors" in the first place. It's not as if "anti-choice counselors" randomly approach women and say, "Hey? Had an abortion? Were you informed?" No. What happens is that women who are experiencing profound emotional anguish after abortion at some point decide that they can't live with it anymore, and seek help. Once they decide to seek help, they look around until they find a post-abortion support group, where they can tell their story in a safe and non-judgmental environment, meet other women who have had abortions, and find ways to cope and heal. What the National Abortion Federal chooses not to understand is that there wouldn't be any "anti-choice counselors" out there helping women, if women weren't seeking these services. It's the fact that they need these services that is significant.

Other than that, it's quite misleading to say that "anti-choice counselors" direct the anger of women at the abortion provider. What post-abortion counselors do is encourage people who feel angry and betrayed (by themselves, those close to them, and sometimes by the abortion clinic workers) to seek to understand and forgive. At the same time, for many women, it's a simple reality that they were significantly underinformed at the abortion clinic. Once people understand the realities of abortion, they certainly don't need a "anti-choice counselor" to tell them that.

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