Part II: Ethical Standards for Serving Abortion-minded Women

The only way to ensure that your pregnancy help medical clinic’s good intentions actually are provided in a way that is consistent and ethical requires that we as Executives know what our ethical standards are and that those ethics are applied with every step of a client/patient interaction. Just because we believe in the good intentions of our volunteers and staff does not necessarily mean that they are interacting with our clients in an ethical manner. Being a Christian is not enough for ethically delivering services medical or otherwise to women facing unintended pregnancy.

Upholding Ethical Standards of Care

Sadly, you and I know that a woman’s decision about the outcome of her pregnancy is so often fraught with irrational fear, inadequate information, little to no counseling, sales tactics from financially vested interests, and coercive pressure from self-interested others that a woman does not feel like she has any other choice. In a 2004 study published in the Medical Science Monitor 84% of the American sample of women said that they did not receive adequate counseling before receiving an abortion. Additionally 64% felt pressured by others which would include boyfriends, parents, spouses, etc (Medical Science Monitor, 2004; 10 (10): SR5-16, Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women; Vincent M. Rue, Priscilla K. Coleman, James J. Rue, David C. Reardon).

Given these considerations and the importance of insulating women facing an unplanned pregnancy from intentional or unintentional negative influence, all organizations seeking to assist these women should employ 3 categories of ethical standards in their delivery of services: A) Supportive Decision-making, B) Informed Decision-making, and C) Transparency.

A.  Supportive Decision-making:

To respect and enhance a woman’s ability to make decisions regarding pregnancy outcomes, organizations should help by using these important pregnancy decision-making tasks:

Assessment of woman’s current social situation including relationship support structures (i.e. father of the baby, parental involvement, etc)

  1. Assessment of woman’s current social situation including relationship support structures (i.e. father of the baby, parental involvement, etc)
  2. Identification of circumstantial pressures (i.e. finances, education, unsupportive relationships, medical care, child care, age, long-term goals, etc)
  3. Careful exploration of the full range of available options including abortion, birth, and adoption.
  4. Careful consideration of potential short and long-term physical, social, and emotional outcomes of each available alternative.
  5. Maintain a safe environment that helps a woman firmly resist pressure from self-interested parties.

Update:  See Part III:  Ethical Standards for Serving Abortion Minded Women

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