Pre-termination counseling is currently voluntary; however, there has been political debate regarding the introduction of mandatory pre-termination counseling and who should be providing abortion counseling services.
Researchers conducted this study to quantify the proportion of women who use pre-termination counseling services and to evaluate their experience.
Researchers provided an anonymous self-administered questionnaire of women requesting an abortion at Chalmers Sexual Health Centre and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh NHS Lothian.
Only eighteen of the two hundred and one women surveyed reported using pre-termination counseling. The majority of women did not feel counseling was necessary because they were already sure of their decision. Nearly a quarter of women claimed not to know counseling was available. Women who did use counseling were satisfied with the services they received.,The National Health Service provided most counseling services, and only one woman used a ‘pro-life’ charity. Women stated that they would prefer face-to-face counseling rather than telephone or Internet-based counseling.
The study concluded that most women do not seem to want or need pre-termination counseling; therefore, mandatory counseling policies would be contrary to women’s wishes. Counseling should be targeted at women with risk factors for psychological complications post-termination.