“As statutory restrictions are modified or repealed, abortion must enter the mainstream of medical care,” wrote Dr. Joseph J. Rovinsky of New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the nation’s most important obstetrical journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“Patients seeking abortion are entitled to the same medical safeguards, scientific benefits, protection of privacy, and preservation of personal self-esteem as are any other patients. In some important respects, the needs of these women for counseling, social guidance, health education, and compassion and understanding may be even greater. Our preliminary experience with a permissive abortion statute documents this well. ”
Dr. Gerald Grossman, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Moshe Hachamowitz, a gynecologist, of the privately operated Pelham Medical Group, agree. In fact, they believe that their clinic’s group counseling tech- nique has contributed a new approach. In Psychiatric News, Dr. Grossman was quoted as saying that he was “favorably impressed by the way women from varied backgrounds are ready to examine their ideas, opinions, feelings, and attitudes in a group of six or seven. They do so more freely in a group than in the one-to-one of individual counseling.
Three-quarters of some 18,000 women who were seen in this private facility wanted to talk to a health professional after their abortions, however. These are mostly young women, whose average age is 24, who are single or recently divorced, college-educated, and career-oriented. They are a group for whom effective preventive psychological care can be provided easily, Dr. Grossman stated.
Counseling has become an integral part of the abortion clinic operation, since this service is implicit in the New York State abortion law. This, in itself, has helped ease many of the doubts and fears a woman may have about her abortion. It is primarily a means of preventing repeat abortions. As such, each reputable abortion service sees itself as a force in education for family planning.
“Abortion is an unsatisfactory means of birth control,” Dr. Grossman stated. And, as do other experts in the field, he believes that contraception is the ideal solution to unwanted pregnancies. When a woman needs an abortion, it suggests a failure in contraception or family planning. The best and most successful abortion program is actually one that through educating its patients eventually makes its services unnecessary.