I wish to share my concerns about a BPAS abortion clinic.
Following my experiences at a BPAS abortion clinic I wish to share my concerns and the trauma I have experienced. I found their services to be wanting and it could be said there are safeguarding issues for the vulnerable women visiting their service. I rang their appointments line to ask for a discussion re: my pregnancy choices and they promptly booked me in at their local clinic. When I got there there was no discussion. The Nurse quickly completed a form and helped me come up with a list of reasons saying why I wanted an abortion and told me that they never refuse anyone the pills. I asked if I would get over this and she said of course I would and she'd done it. I then saw a doctor who again offered no counselling yet again and 'helped' come up with more reasons on the form. He then faxed it for a second signature. I was expecting a second consultation and thought this second doctor may offer the counselling I thought I was going to get. They wanted to give me the pills then but I said I'd come back in two days. However they had already planted this easy option in my head and already feeling under pressure to abort I felt I was now on a treadmill I couldn't get off. I became more depressed and traumatised not wanting the abortion but returned for the pills. I failed to take them due to my distress and was booked in the following week. I did call this helpline however the support was not what I needed sadly - proper counselling was what I needed as I was not well. I spent the week from hell and could take no more and returned for my timetabled appointment. I cried again but this time they gave them and said I had to put this behind me now. My reaction was awful and I have grieved terribly for the loss of my pregnancy. The medical abortion was also incomplete and I ended up having to have surgery. Again I received conflicting and somewhat perhaps careless support from the BPAS helpline and decided to self refer to the NHS. From then on I felt safe and the surgery was done by the NHS. I would complain to BPAS but lack the strength presently and still want to keep this ordeal private. I am very sad it happened and believe abortion clinic staff whilst only doing their job need to look for warning signs in vulnerable clients; ensuring they are properly assessed, understanding the magnitude of what they are doing, and booking a proper appointment with a qualified counsellor taking as many sessions as needed to make an informed choice. I was not able to search services as I was too traumatised by my situation. I had no support and was not aware as I am now of all the places I could have gone to for help. I needed explicit signposting. Counselling should really be mandatory pre abortion as it is certainly not offered presently and the impact on our lives, making this decision in a vulnerable state, is huge.
It sounds as though you were very ambivalent about your decision, and I totally agree that in your situation you should have had time with a trained practitioner to help you think through your options and the consequences. There has been a strong move to make it mandatory for counselling to be offered to every woman before an abortion, but at present it is only recommended as best practice so independent providers do not have to comply. If you feel you are able to write to BPAS sometime in the future, with a copy to your MP, it may help to bring this ruling in. At present you are clearly struggling to come to terms with what has happened to you, and felt that the treadmill rendered you powerless to look at your other options. If you feel able, I think that getting some post abortion help would start to restore your strength and confidence. If you would like to pursue this it is available and you could start by logging into Online advisor which is a confidential counselling service, for post abortion support.