New Zealand Survey: 2 Out of 3 Think Women Should Be Counseled on Abortion Risks, Alternatives

A survey of 1,000 respondents in New Zealand found that 64 percent of respondents supported a proposal to require a doctor other than an abortion provider to give women information about medical risks and alternatives before an abortion takes place.
Slightly more women than men (64 percent to 62 percent) supported the proposal. 62 percent of respondents aged 18-30 and more than 60 percent of respondents over the age of 46 supported the proposal. Support was lowest among people in the 30-45 age group, but more than half still supported it.

The poll asked “Would you support a law that would require a woman considering abortion to first see a doctor, who is not an abortion provider, to be informed of medical risks and alternatives to abortion?”

A survey of 187 women seeking services at a women’s health care clinic in the U.S., published in 2006, found that 95 percent of patients wished to be informed of all the risks of an elective procedure, including abortion, and 69 percent wanted to be informed of all alternative treatments, not just the alternatives preferred by their doctor.

Yet a survey of American and Russian women who had abortions, published in the Medical Science Monitor in 2004, found that 84 percent of American respondents said they weren’t adequately counseled before abortion and 79 percent said they were not given information on abortion alternatives. The survey further found that 64 said they were pressured to abort and more than half said they felt rushed or uncertain about the decision.

A bill recently signed into law in South Dakota requires a physician to meet with women at least 72 hours prior to abortion to screen for coercion and other risk factors for post-abortion psychological problems, and for women to receive counseling and information on alternatives at a center that does not perform or refer for abortions.

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