Independent counselling for women want a termination of pregnancy?

So a further twist in the termination debate. As reported in the Sunday Telegraph today, there is a move the separate termination services into two roles: counselling and the physical termination service itself. The implication is that as the termination service providers are “making money” from the provision of these services then they have a conflict of interest – the more terminations the better. This separation of such services may be reasonable, however one of the main providers of termination services in the UK is Marie Stopes International – which is a not for profit organisation. So the argument does not stack up.

It would seem the aim of the exercise is to create a further hurdle that needs to be climbed over if a women wants to seek a termination of pregnancy. This may be a good thing – and so why not say so – or do politicians think the public is unable to understand the debate? Furthermore in this age of evidence based medicine, where are the peer reviewed data to demonstrate the impact of councelling on the behaviour of women seeking termination? As with all access to healthcare ,well educated women will persuade providers to do anything they want. Women most at risk and arguably least able to cope with an unwanted pregnancy may well be the most likely to be put off seeking professional advice.

It is for parliament and society to decide whether termination of a pregnancy should be legal. If it is legal then women who chose to undergo a termination should be able to do so in as supportive and professional environment as possible. Making a decision to terminate a pregnancy is almost always an incredibly difficult thing for a women to do. High quality counselling may well be a useful part of the care of women in these circumstances, but splitting this off from the core service may not have the impact desired by those promoting this change.

Professor Tom Bourne

Professor Tom Bourne is Adjunct Professor at Imperial College London, and Consultant Gynaecologist at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital. He is also visiting Professor at KU Leuven, Belgium. He has extensive clinical and research experience in early pregnancy care as well as gynaecological ultrasound. He has published over 300 academic papers with an H-index of 63. He advises NICE, is trustee of the ectopic pregnancy trust, President of the UK association of early pregnancy units (AEPU) and on the board of ISUOG. He has a private practice at The Women's Ultrasound Centres at 86 Harley Street and Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon.

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About Professor Tom Bourne

Professor Tom Bourne is Adjunct Professor at Imperial College London, and Consultant Gynaecologist at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital. He is also visiting Professor at KU Leuven, Belgium. He has extensive clinical and research experience in early pregnancy care as well as gynaecological ultrasound. He has published over 300 academic papers with an H-index of 63. He advises NICE, is trustee of the ectopic pregnancy trust, President of the UK association of early pregnancy units (AEPU) and on the board of ISUOG. He has a private practice at The Women's Ultrasound Centres at 86 Harley Street and Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon.
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