This week we sat down with a patient advocate at Hartford GYN Center. Patient Advocates meet with patients coming in to Hartford GYN Center to provide them with realistic and medically-accurate information about abortion, adoption and parenthood. The counseling is designed to give resources and support needed to the patient so she can make a pregnancy decision that is best for her and her family.
Q: What services are offered at Hartford GYN Center?
A: We offer medication abortion (abortion by pill), surgical abortion procedures, and GYN Services including annual GYN exams, pelvic exams, breast exams, Pap smears, STI/HIV testing, STI treatment, pregnancy testing, low cost emergency contraception, birth control, and more.
Q: Can you walk us through options counseling?
A: Every patient that has an appointment receives pre-procedure counseling on the day of their appointment. We review with patients the certainty of their choice, if anyone is forcing them to make the decision, and how much support they feel they have or don't have. Sometimes the counseling is more focused on emotion, especially if the patient has addressed that they are still unsure about their decision. We always make sure the patient understands the process and is safe and sure of her decision.
Q: Sometimeswe have heard anti-choice myths about the “abortion business” and counselors who pressure women into choosing abortion so that they can profit. How do you respond to that?
A: I think that myth comes from the stigma around abortion, and people tend to feed into the idea that anyone that works as an abortion counselor is mainly only counseling them and “pressuring” or “guiding” women into believing their only and best choice is abortion, which is not the case. Speaking for myself and my fellow advocates here in the clinic we do not pressure women into choosing abortion. It is our job to make sure that any woman that comes into our clinic is ready and sure about their decision. If we sense that they are unsure, being pressured by another person, or have not reviewed any other possible option besides abortion, we advise them to go home and think it through. We do not send any patient to an operating room without being sure that an abortion is something they are confident about.
Q: What else would you like people to know about your experiences with counseling, or about the work of Hartford GYN?
A: Having the opportunity to work here and being able to provide women with options, safety, and a place where they are not being judged is amazing and one of the best experiences I have had in my life. Harford GYN Center has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people that believe in the same thing I do. I have been able to develop a more of an open mind to different situations that our patients may face and it has blessed me with the chance to make a positive change in someone’s life.
Authors: Lena and Erin, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut Grassroots Advocacy & Policy Interns