On a pro-abortion blog, an abortion clinic worker describes how some clinics don’t offer any pre-abortion counseling to pregnant women:
I actually took the counseling portion of the program for granted until I learned that some very compassionate, professional clinics don’t offer counseling to their clients. It could be a trick to save time (clients always complain about how long the process takes) or minimize cost (we ARE in a recession), and it could simply be what has worked and continues to work for individual clinics.
The clinic worker doesn’t mention it, but another reason to save time is that if women are rushed through their abortions quickly, more women can be given abortions and the clinic can make more money.
Pro-choice author Carole Joffe, who interviewed abortion clinic staff for her book The Regulation of Sexuality: Experiences of Family-Planning Workers, addresses the financial issues involved:
… As the clinic director was fond of pointing out, counseling did not generate revenue for the clinic; being seen in the medical room did. Perhaps the greatest problem with slowdowns [counseling sessions that took longer than average] was the risk of annoying doctors.
And with the shortage of abortion providers, it’s dangerous to annoy doctors. If they quit, clinics often can’t find a replacement. Not very many doctors are willing to kill babies, and the shortage means that clinics must appease their doctors or risk losing them and possibly having to shut down.
It is the women that suffer. With no counseling, there is no screening process to make sure that a woman is having an abortion of her own free will. Many times, parents of teens pressure their daughters to have abortions. Other times, a woman’s partner is the one applying the pressure. Many abortions are coerced – up to 64%, according to one study.
Here is one woman’s story of an abortion at Planned Parenthood. No counseling was offered to her. She now deeply regrets her abortion:
My name is Toni, and I’m from North Carolina. I had an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in California. I do not recall any counseling at all about my pregnancy or that it was even a baby or alternatives. Immediately upon leaving, I had severe abdominal pains and bleeding. Within a month, emotional stress set in, depression in particular, which I still struggle with to this day.
A woman from New Jersey, who also went to Planned Parenthood, says:
I had an abortion that caused immense emotional repercussions. I was given no counseling beforehand, which is an abuse to young women. Planned Parenthood harms women and should be de-funded.
A Maryland woman said:
I had an abortion at the age of 18. I was in an emotional state of shock at the time I entered the clinic. I received NO COUNSELING or EVALUATION of my mental status. Nor was I informed of any alternatives. The “doctor” who performed the procedure did not speak a word to me.
Doreen, from Indiana, says that counseling may have made her change her mind about seeking an abortion:
I have had two abortions, one in a Planned Parenthood clinic, one in a hospital where I was referred by Planned Parenthood. Neither time did I receive any counseling. The second time, I had an ultrasound at Planned Parenthood and they were very careful to turn the monitor away from me so that I could not see my baby on the screen. I was told it was just a small mass of tissue at such an early stage of pregnancy. I would have made different decisions if I had been given complete information.
All of these testimonies come from the group Silent No More, a group that collects the testimonies of women who regret their abortions. There are many, many, many similar stories.
Of course, counseling before an abortion is only helpful if the clinic tells the truth, answers each woman’s questions thoroughly, and does not give her biased information intended to sway her toward having an abortion. Since abortion clinics make money only if the woman chooses abortion, and clinics are ultimately businesses run for profit, they have little incentive to give thorough, unbiased, and careful counseling.
While abortion clinics are not providing the information that women need, pro-lifers are attempting to fill the gap. Pregnancy resource centers give accurate information to women about abortion’s risks and about fetal development – information which is often not given at an abortion clinic. Pro-life websites are also a good resource for women considering abortion. A woman can find out a great deal of information online.
Spreading the facts about fetal development and abortion alternatives on social media, and being ready to help any friends or family members who have unplanned pregnancies, can make a huge difference in the lives of individual women.