If you find yourself facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may wish to discuss your feelings and situation with somebody who will be supportive and unbiased. Though the decision is ultimately up to YOU, you do not have to make this decision yourself. If your feel comfortable, you wish to discuss it with your partner, a friend, or a relative.
Who to Talk To:Deciding whether to continue with a pregnancy, place a baby for adoption, or seek an abortion is a personal choice that only you can decide. There is no “right” choice, so try to base this decision on what works best for you.
Some women have found it helpful to find a neutral person as support during this confusing time. You can talk to a counselor or health educator at a family planning clinic. These clinics have specially trained staff who can objectively discuss your options with you.
When Choosing to Seek Outside Support:If you choose to speak with a counselor about your pregnancy options, be careful when selecting a family planning center. As a guideline, make sure that the clinic you decide to seek support from:
- Will not pressure you into any decisions
- Allows you to decide who can be a part of this decision-making process
- Permits you to bring your partner, friend, or family member(s) to be with you during your visit
Be Cautious of Crisis Pregnancy Centers:Many of these facilities try to attract pregnant women who are at risk for abortion. They often advertise and name themselves to give the impression that they are neutral healthcare providers. For example, they may use names like: Crisis Pregnancy Center, Pregnancy Counseling Center, Pregnancy Care Center, Pregnancy Aid, or Pregnancy Resource Center. Many of these facilities have an anti-abortion philosophy. Though some do provide an open and honest and offer neutral support and information to women facing unintended pregnancies, many of these clinics may be coercive and could potentially overwhelm women with their anti-abortion philosophy.
What Happens at Pregnancy Resource Centers:Though not the case at all crisis pregnancy centers, typically, women are usually lured into these centers under the false notion that they will receive balanced and unbiased information about pregnancy tests, sonograms, birth control, and pregnancy options, and abortion. They often try to attract women by offering free pregnancy testing. Other things to be aware of about some of these crisis pregnancy centers, are that they:
- May not provide complete information about all of your options
- May provide misleading information about the emotional and medical effects of abortion
- Often have no medical supervision
- May not discuss correct information about all of your possible pregnancy options
The Controversy About Crisis Pregnancy Centers:These centers will often rely on scare tactics, emotional manipulation and intimidation to convince women not to seek abortions. Many women have reported:
- Being shown scary movies that depict dismembered fetuses
- Being given photos of stillborn babies (portrayed as being aborted fetuses)
- Being told false information about the effects of abortion
What You Should Know:Most crisis pregnancy centers provide free pregnancy tests, but they use the same commercially-available tests that you can buy in any drug store. Their services are limited since, legally, they can only provide these types of pregnancy test. Most centers do not have a license to practice medicine. Though many offer free ultrasound sonograms, their staff are not properly trained in using this device. Finally, their counselors (often volunteers) are often not properly licensed to be provide counseling or intervention.
How To Protect Yourself:
- Ask Questions: Avoid centers that don’t give you clear, straightforward answers. This is the most effective way to determine the nature of the pregnancy center. Call and ask if they refer to abortion clinics or discuss and/or provide contraception. Ask if they are a licensed medical facility.
- Free Services: These clinics often promise free services and support. Many have been sued due to deceptive advertising or for failing to provide advertised services.
- Be Wary of Names: Most will intentionally use neutral names that don't imply a pro-life agenda.
- Yellow Pages or Internet Listings: These clinics tend to falsely promise a full range of reproductive health services, and list themselves in telephone books and internet search engines under any or all of the following headings: Abortion, Abortion Clinics, Abortion Alternatives, Birth Control Information Centers, Clinics, Medical, Family Planning Information Centers, Social Service Organizations, and Women's Organizations.
Finding Professional Pregnancy Counseling Centers:When visiting a crisis pregnancy center, be aware that that is likely that you will not be provided with all your pregnancy options or accurate medical facts. Also, the clinic may try to make you feel scared or guilty about considering an abortion.
Legitimate pregnancy centers have clearly established reputations. You can ask your doctor or an OB/GYN for a referral or call a reputable women's health facility such as Planned Parenthood. Credible clinics provide accurate information in a non-pressured setting. Most clinics that provide abortions also offer free pregnancy tests, state-mandated counseling, and adoption resources.
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