The decision to have an abortion is not the same for everyone. Whilst for some the decision-making process is straightforward and easy, for others it may be a lot more complicated and harder to decide, which is why abortion consultations are so important. Over and above a clinical assessment that forms part of the abortion consultation, it provides a person with the opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of what the applicable abortion procedure entails, and the knowledge required to make an informed decision.
As reported by OpenDemocracy.Net, many people seeking help end up being pushed into taking a specific decision due to having received ‘Directive Counselling’. This is contrary to South Africa’s Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (CTOP, 1996), which clearly states that abortion providers must use ‘Non-Directive’ counselling methods.
It is however often difficult to determine whether the counselling received is Directive or Non-Directive, especially when done by a trusted professional. It is therefore extremely important to know what the difference is.
Non-Directive Counselling is legally the only kind of consultation Abortion Providers are allowed to use. Non-Directive counselling allows the client to decide the course of action and is legally the only kind of consultation an abortion provider is allowed to use. Here, a client leads the conversation by asking questions, and can determine for themselves what they want as an outcome. If the client decides not to proceed with the abortion, the provider will respect their decision, irrespective of the information received from the client.
Directive Counselling, on the other hand, is when the provider or counsellor controls the session by asking specific questions that will guide the client into a specific decision. These questions, however, are not to be confused with regular medical questions-which an abortion provider will ask in order to determine which abortion procedure is safe for a client to use. Directive Counselling in other words, will push the client into making a particular decision.
Choosing to have an abortion is entirely your decision, and no accredited doctor or nurse providing the service is allowed to persuade you to have an abortion, or to continue with your pregnancy. If you seek counselling regarding your decision to have an abortion, visit Safe2Choose to be connected with a qualified counsellor or contact Marie Stopes on 0800 11 77 85 to make an appointment with an accredited provider to discuss the options available to you