In order to ensure that women considering an abortion get better quality care the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have issued new guidelines for women seeking induced abortion. These recommendations include the management of possible side-effects and complications, pre-abortion management, abortion procedures and follow-up care.
They recommend that women should have access to counselling. However, women who are certain of their decision should not be subjected to compulsory counselling. Women who are suffering from domestic abuse should be referred to appropriate support services in reasonable time. They should be given adequate information about the physical symptoms (pain, bleeding, gastrointestinal symptoms) and side-effects that may be experienced after abortion. Information regarding emotional changes during and following an abortion should be given. During pre-abortion assessment women should be offered screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). Provision should be made for notifying partners and for referral to sexual health services. All appropriate methods of contraception should be discussed with the woman during the initial assessment and a plan agreed for contraception following the abortion. A 24-hour telephone helpline should be available for women after an abortion if they have any concerns.
The new guidance drops the requirement for women to visit the doctor for a follow-up, if the procedure was confirmed as successful at the time. The guidance also said it is safe for women to take drugs at home in induce a 'medical' abortion. But this is not permitted under current laws.
Experts believe that these are sensible guidelines which will improve woman's experience of abortion services and care.