LET’S NOT LIMIT ACCESS TO THE CHOICES

Sound like the words of the largest abortion provider in our country? Does this echo the sentiments of the pro-choice movement?   I urge you to read this entire post with an open mind and heart; then you decide.

I have worked with women receiving counseling and services at crisis pregnancy centers now, for over two years. The last eight months have been for BirthChoice Pregnancy Centers for Women, in Dallas. As a peer counselor and a nurse sonographer, during an intake and assessment a question asked all clients is whether they have had previous abortions and if yes, would they make that choice again. A small percentage have had previous abortions and say it wasn’t a problem but they would never consider it again. They feel desperate because they have been convinced they are not strong enough or have enough resources to manage a child or be a good parent. Some women had abortions under duress, believing it would solve their problem and life would go back to normal and found that far from true. Some women report a previous abortion and still see it as their only choice with this pregnancy because of external pressures ie: from parents or friends, embarrassment, financial stressors, boyfriend threatening to leave. Many women when relating their abortion experiences tell of treatment ranging from insensitive to gruesome to possibly illegal. But the main themes I keep hearing are “I didn’t think I had any other options,” “I felt trapped in my situation,” “I didn’t have insurance and didn’t know there was help for me,” and many similar stories with the same theme – “I didn’t know all the choices I had.”

Why  these other choices were not presented would be a good topic for another post.

Instead of abortion, what positive choices do we provide at BirthChoice? After we complete an intake and assessment to evaluate the woman’s situation and needs, the following are possible.

  • Sonograms for women considering abortion. Many women truly believe “the products of conception” they are told an abortion removes is a blob of tissue and are shocked to see the heartbeat of a 6 week baby and how active a 10 week or older baby is, kicking, punching, sucking it’s thumb. They will comment that because they don’t feel it yet they didn’t expect it to be moving. A baby’s movement is not usually felt until after 20 weeks. Abortion in Texas is legal until 24 weeks.
  • Sonograms for women not wanting abortion but are being pressured by boyfriends/parents/friends/spouses. We strongly encourage those significant others to view the sonogram.
  • Review of the booklet by the state “A Woman’s Right To Choose” which shows fetal development and factual information about the various types of abortion procedures and their possible risks and side effects – both short and long and short term,  and they are given a copy.
  • For the woman who still plans to seek an abortion, given a copy of questions for her to ask her abortionist. *Will the procedure hurt?  *In your practice, have you ever punctured a uterus?  *If there is a problem do you have emergency blood on hand? *If there is a problem which hospital will the ambulance take me to? *If I am admitted, who will pay my hospital bill? *Will I have problems getting pregnant when I want to? * Can you assure me this procedure is completely safe and that I will not have any problems now or later? * Can I change my mind at any time and have my money returned?
  • If undecided shown a video Honest Answers or Choices which present real women talking about the choices they made and how it worked out for them.
  • Given options for prenatal care if they don’t have health insurance. Lately we have seen more women who are pregnant and have recently lost their jobs or their husband or boyfriend has become unemployed and they have lost their health insurance and or income.  We don’t want a woman to be pressured to have an abortion with long term and possible detrimental consequences because of a temporary situation.
  • Given a referral list for various programs for financial support.
  • Given adoption information – we have an adoption specialist who can meet with the client and educate them about adoption and adoption agencies.
  • Information and referrals for emotional support or spiritual counseling including but not limited to: Rachel’s Vineyard for post abortive women suffering emotionally and spiritually from effects of their abortions, Project Gabriel and their GEMS program, Nurse Family Partnership Program, spiritual counseling at our center.
  • Connect to many other appropriate resources.

We do many other things at BirthChoice but the purpose of this article is to show how by providing education about all the choices a woman has in an unplanned pregnancy, she can make an informed choice, hopefully the one that will impact her life in a positive way.

More often than not when I introduce myself to a client, the expression she has is sad, flat, angry or scared.  She believes her choices are very limited or she has been lead to believe she doesn’t really have one. I want her to leave with hope for different possibilities. My greatest reward is a huge sigh of relief and a smile.

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2 responses to “LET’S NOT LIMIT ACCESS TO THE CHOICES

  1. Pingback: It’s a stretch | White Rock Navy

  2. You hit a major point and that is that too often women don’t feel adequately supported or are pressured to have an abortion by family, friends, and society. That is a horrible situation to be in and it breaks my heart. I think it’s great that there facilities like BirthChoice who provide a wealth of information and support, and I wish there were more of them.

    I am pro-choice, but I do agree that these options aren’t shared enough. I would prefer to see legislation support these mothers more and make the information readily available at every clinic instead of shutting the clinics down. I believe women deserve the right to choose, but I think that choice should be made after being shown all the options, resources, and support systems.

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