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A recent change in medical practice suggests that women seeking an abortion should undergo specially designed abortion counseling. In some countries, this is mandatory and is meant to address critical factors which may be impacting the woman and her decision to undergo the abortion procedure. Furthermore, it offers a support system that can evaluate the emotional and psychological state of the patient. The practice of abortion counseling is generally considered helpful, enticing to seek healthcare and information on contraception and psychological support post-abortion (Beja & Leal, 2010).
Abortion can have significant physical side-effects on a woman’s body. This can include cramps, vomiting, fever, and a disrupted menstrual cycle. Although rare, abortion can result in complications and even mortality. These factors are greatly exaggerated by the cultural stigma against abortion, causing women to become concerned with physical health prior to making any decisions (Gerdts, Dobkin, Foster & Schwarz, 2016). Social situations resulting in abortion may be a deciding factor. For example, rape or an unintended teenage pregnancy often leave women without input from their partners. Meanwhile, other stable couples have the male partner having an indirect influence on the woman (Frederico, Michielsen, Arnaldo & Decat, 2018).
Women that are considering or have undergone abortion have increased an increased mental health risk regarding the experience. This can include anxiety, substance abuse, depression, and suicide. The stressors and pressures of the experience can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder. Inadequate pre-abortion counseling increases the chance of potential psychological trauma (Coyle, Coleman & Rue, 2010). Psychological consequences lead to poor self-esteem, excessive guilt, and nightmares. It is common for women to worry about future gynecological health, including the ability to have healthy children when they are ready (Pourreza & Batebi, 2011).
Women faced with pregnancies have to evaluate long-term factors, even as basic the desire to become a parent. If so, are there means and opportunities, especially financial to carry out, give birth, and raise the child in a safe and healthy environment. If not, what possibilities do the women have with pregnancy (termination or adoption)? The pregnancy can potentially compromise education or career choices that a woman had planned. Therefore, the process of decision-making regarding abortion is highly dependent on long-term consequences (Frederico et al., 2018).
Specific factors may have overwhelming influence over women considering abortion. These are often based on institutional or cultural norms that instill determinants of sexual behavior in women, a violation of which may result in severe social consequences. For example, some cultures view premarital sex as taboo, forcing women with unintended pregnancies into desperate situations. Religion can be a social factor which creates challenges for abortion and healthy behavior (use of contraceptives) as these are considered immoral. Furthermore, even institutional and government policy can be enacted to regulate abortion practices in a way that discourages women (Vinh & Tuan, 2015).
When considering whether to have an abortion, many women had to evaluate the reality of their current situation and prospects for the future that would ensure safe and stable conditions for raising a child. While ideological aspects play a role, practicality had a tremendous impact on the decision-making process. One recurrence is a woman’s lack of autonomy which can directly pressure the decision to have an abortion. Demographics such age and socio-economic status which make the woman dependent on someone else decreases the level of autonomy. Other factors recorded are lack of information and poor availability of local abortion services (Frederico et al., 2018).
Women may be driven by a number of influences and ideological factors to have a certain level of doubt about performing the abortion procedure. The first contact with a patient requires addressing subjects of choice, coercion, moral or religious principle, and psychological pressure that may require more extensive counseling. A substantial commitment to abortion counseling is to ensure a woman’s comfort with the decision and emotional well-being in an unobtrusive way (Joffe, 2013).
Beja, V., & Leal, I. (2010). Abortion counselling according to healthcare providers: A qualitative study in the Lisbon metropolitan area, Portugal. The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care: The Official Journal of the European Society of Contraception, 15(5), 326–335. Web.
Coyle, C. T., Coleman, P. K., & Rue, V. M. (2010). Inadequate preabortion counseling and decision conflict as predictors of subsequent relationship difficulties and psychological stress in men and women. Traumatology, 16(1), 16–30. Web.
Frederico, M., Michielsen, K., Arnaldo, C., & Decat, P. (2018). Factors influencing abortion decision-making processes among young women. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(329), 1-13. Web.
Gerdts, C., Dobkin, L., Foster, D. G., & Schwarz, E. B. (2016). Side effects, physical health consequences, and mortality associated with abortion and birth after an unwanted pregnancy. Women’s Health Issues, 26(1), 55-59. Web.
Joffe, C. (2013). The politicization of abortion and the evolution of abortion counselling. American Journal of Public Health, 103(1), 57–65. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
Pourreza, A., & Batebi, A. (2011). Psychological consequences of abortion among the post abortion care seeking women in Tehran. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, 6(1), 31-36. Web.
Vinh, N. T., & Tuan, P. C. (2015). Factors influencing unintended pregnancy and abortion among unmarried youth in Vietnam: A literature review. Tap Chi Y Te Cong Cong, 3(2), 3–16. Web.