The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has been made aware of the report on crisis pregnancy centres published by Brook today, which highlights that some centres are providing inaccurate and misleading information about the potential adverse effects of abortion during counselling.
According to the RCOG’s clinical guideline The care of women requesting induced abortion, abortion services should provide up-to-date information about the common physical symptoms and possible complications of an abortion. Such information should be evidence-based and objective.
Women who are certain of their decision to have an abortion should not be subjected to compulsory counselling, although it is recognised that a minority of women (such as those with complex social circumstances and/or a history of mental health problems) may need additional support. Similarly, all women having an abortion should be able to choose to return for routine follow-up and post-abortion counselling.
The findings of the latest Brook report show that there is wide variation across the country over the quality of information provided at some counselling centres with instances of inaccurate and biased information given to women.
The RCOG believes that Clinical Commissioning Groups have a duty to ensure that pregnancy counselling services contracted follow national guidelines. It is important to ensure that impartial, non-judgemental advice is provided to women at this difficult time.