If you have decided to terminate a pregnancy, you have some tough decisions to make. In fact, they can be some of the most heartbreaking and difficult choices any woman will face during her lifetime. One of the most important decisions is where to go to get the help you need to make the procedure as safe as possible while maintaining your dignity as well as your privacy. Here are some things to look for to ensure you are selecting the best possible abortion clinic to meet those needs.
- Make sure the clinic is accredited: The best accreditation to look for is one from the JCAHO (The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations). This group is independent and not-for-profit, so you can be sure that its endorsement is impartial and reliable. Although this accreditation is no guarantee of having a positive experience, it’s a great place to start your search. You want to be sure that your health and well-being are in good hands.
- The choice should always be yours: It’s your body and your pregnancy, and you have the right to determine (within certain health constraints) your preferred method of termination. A good clinic will offer surgical abortions up to 24 weeks as well as medical (abortion pill) procedures up to seven weeks. The one you select will depend on how far along you are as well as your personal preferences: but you should always have a choice.
- It should provide a warm and caring environment: The decision to have an abortion is tough enough; you shouldn’t also have to deal with the additional pain of being treated like just another number. Visit several abortion clinics in your area and pay attention to how you “feel” when you are there. Is the staff kind? Do they treat you with respect? Do they take the time to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to make an educated decision that’s right for you? Do they take every measure to protect your privacy and help you feel comfortable?
- Your physical health and emotional well-being should be their topmost concerns: The facility should not only be squeaky clean and use the very latest in technologies for your procedure; it should also be a people-centered place with counseling services to help you cope with your decision on an emotional level. Total-wellness support is what it’s all about.
The abortion clinic you select will be a partner in helping you get through this difficult time and come out on the other side healthy and ready to face the rest of your life. Choose carefully.
Dmitry Bronfman, MD, is a board-certified gynecologist who specializes in all aspects of contemporary women’s health, preventive medicine, pelvic pain, minimally invasive and robotic surgery, and general, adolescent, and menopausal gynecology.