Guest Author - Joyce Orzak
Many women who read this column come here looking for information on the abortion process and personal stories of women who have experienced it themselves. This is a list of the most common problems with abortion, from patients themselves. Please keep in mind, these are not medical complications, but common complaints about the abortion process, from counseling to bedside manner to recovery issues.
Support Staff is Not Supportive
It has been noted by many women that the so-called pre-abortion counselors they are required to see are none other than abortion salespeople. It's not uncommon for them to give a patient information covering medical aspects and medical risks associated with abortion and then sit back and do nothing to assist the patient in her decision. They are there simply because of informed-consent laws, and for no other reason. Many women have told me they practically begged for practical advice on their situation, something crisis pregnancy centers readily provide, and their "counselors" refer them back to their literature.
The Nurses Are The Friendly Ones
While it's not a bad thing that the nurses are usually friendly, it is disappointing that, for the most part, they are the most friendly people on the staff. In a situation where women are so vulnerable, it's no comfort to hear reports of silent, gruff doctors and impatient anesthesiologists. "He looked at me like I was dirt," is a common refrain.
They Tell You It's Too Late
There comes a point - or several points, for many - in nearly every woman's abortion procedure where she wants to change her mind and turn back... and then she is told it is too late. This usually happens behind closed doors after the medical process begins but before abortion takes place. For example, it happens after an IV catheter is inserted into the arm, but before drugs are administered or once the woman is on the table awaiting sedation or anesthesia or for the doctor to begin. It's not uncommon for a women to feel emotionally pressured to stay, but I have been given examples of nurses placing their hand over the woman's arm to hold her in place before the process began.
There is Very Little Privacy
Most women have similar experiences with this particular problem. In addition to the traditional waiting room, women are ushered through the process in groups, assembly-line style. The groups usually number between two to five women, and these same women accompany and wait for each other through each stage of the abortion process. They get in-processed in quick succession, they wait in the hall while each woman goes into the room to have the abortion - the only part of the process that is actually private - and then they go into a recovery room and get their after-abortion care instructions and antibiotics together. If there are complications at any point in the process, your group will be aware of it.