Facing an unwanted pregnancy can be devastating. Making the decision to have an abortion can be extremely heartbreaking and very overwhelming for most women. Finding a good physician to perform the procedure can add even more anxiety to an already stressful situation.
It can be very difficult for the average person to know how to judge the competency of doctors or the degree of care they will provide. The most effective way to locate a reputable physician is to obtain as much knowledge and information as possible about the doctors and the facilities that they serve.
The majority of abortion clinics are clean, safe and provide good care. Most are owned by or staffed with competent physicians. However, clinics may significantly differ with regard to cost, anesthesia, gestational limitations, type of abortion procedures provided, what is included in their fees, and the training and experience of their physicians. The degree of physician competency can vary greatly among providers, from adhering only to the minimum state requirements for operating a facility to those who go above and beyond. Choosing an abortion clinic is much like choosing any other health care service provider and should be done with just as much consideration.
One of the best methods for beginning your search is to ask a trusted friend or family member. If someone you know has had a favorable experience with a particular provider this can be a good place to start. If you are unable to get a favorable recommendation or you do not feel comfortable talking about having an abortion with anyone, there are a number of steps you can take to help insure that you are making the best choice.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Do not rely on the phone book or the internet. Large, elaborate or attractive ads do not necessarily mean the clinic is a good one.
Do not choose a clinic based solely on the cost. Your health and safety are too important. Beware of fees that seem too good to be true. There may be hidden charges you are not informed about when making your initial call. Some clinics may tell you a lower fee when you first call but you could end up paying more for services that were not included in the original quote given on the phone.
Do not be influenced by vague or superficial descriptions about the services. If you're only getting hasty or flowery comments that sound only warm and fuzzy, but are missing in clear, concise information, call another provider.
Do not make assumptions. Do not assume that the care you will receive will be provided by skilled, experienced doctors and medical personnel. Listen to your intuition. Your health and safety should be the most important consideration. If anything you are told makes you feel uncomfortable or your instincts tell you something does not seem appropriate or does not seem right, it probably is not.
WHAT TO DO TO ENSURE A GOOD CHOICE
Knowledge is power. You can not obtain too much information or ask too many questions.
Call a clinic on the phone. Good providers know that the telephone is usually the first form of contact a potential patient will make and they will only employ phone counsel who will answer in a patient, kind, courteous, professional manner. They should be willing to give you as much time as you need to answer all of your questions. Good clinics will offer potential patients an opportunity to first visit the facility or speak with a counselor at no charge.
Ask about their services. What do they offer? Do they provide both the Surgical and Medical Abortion? What takes place with each of all the different abortion procedures? How many visits may be required? What types of anesthesia and sedation do they provide? How far along in pregnancy are they able to provide a termination? Do they offer Emergency Contraception, Family Planning services and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections? Do they have qualified staff available for after-hours questions or emergencies? A good provider will want you to be well informed and to have all the information necessary for you to make your decision.
Ask about their fees. What is included in the cost of the abortion procedure? Are things like a sonogram, lab tests, medications, birth control and follow up visits included? Do they accept insurance? Do they offer any funding or discounts for those who may qualify? What methods of payment do they accept?
Ask about the doctors. What are their qualifications? Ask about their experience and specialized training that qualifies them to provide abortion procedures. How many abortions have they performed? Are they able to perform both Surgical and Medical Abortion by Pill? Are they experienced with providing Advanced IV Sedation? How long have they performed abortions? Are they available for consultation? Can they be contacted at any time through a phone number or email?
Do not be afraid to ask questions. A good provider knows and understands that you will have them. A good provider will have a facility and staff that are open, honest and forthcoming. They will want you to be a well informed patient and they will want to make your health, safety and well being their first priority.