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ETHICAL ISSUES IN

ABORTION
COUNSELING
12/14/14

Jennifer Linville
Professional and Ethical Issues in Counseling

Introduction

The ACA Code of Ethics declares six values


from which all ethics codes and regulations
are built.
Autonomy,

nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice,


fidelity, veracity

When choosing a topic for this project, I knew


immediately that I wanted to search abortion.
Not

to establish my own personal morals, but


because I know that I want to work with women
who have had or are walking through the decision
whether or not to terminate their pregnancies.

Introduction Continued

30% of women suffer from psychological


distress post pregnancy termination.
With over 42 million terminations each year,
there are at least 12,600,000 women that are
in need of counseling services.
Women will vary in age, and will include
minors.
What we will do when a client who is a minor
comes into our care?

Media Review

Pittsburgh, 1999
Parents

of teen daughter sue schools guidance


counselor
Guidance counselor proactively led student to
make decision as well as helped channel funds.
Guidance counselor went against state laws.
What should he have done according to the ACA?

ACA Values in context to issue

Autonomyfostering the right to control the


direction of ones life.
Clients

have the right to choose what outcome


they want. Counselors do not place their own
morals onto clients
A.4.b.

Nonmaleficenceavoiding actions that cause


harm.
Counselors

do harm to clients; clients need


support in this situation. Counselors provide a
safe place for client to work out this decision
A.4.a., A.6.b.

ACA Codes in context to issue


cont.

Beneficenceworking for the good of the


individual and society by promoting mental health
and well-being.

Counselors advocate for rights of and perform mental


health services for these women. Counselors do not
have to be pro-choice advocates, but must advocate
for this population (enough if this includes selfadvocacy)

A.7.a.

Justicetreating individuals equitably and


fostering fairness and equality.

Counselors never judge; instead they see clients as


developing and growing and help clients foster that
growth.

ACA Codes in context to issue


cont.

Fidelityhonoring commitments and keeping


promises
Clients

trust counselors to keep confidentiality,


even when client is minor (with few expressed
exceptions)
A.1.b., A.2.a., A.2.d.,

Veracitydealing truthfully with individuals


with whom counselors come into professional
contact.
When

client wants information to be released to


medical doctor, client can trust to the accuracy
and honesty of the counselors released
information.

Case Study
A client (age 14) comes to you for services, and
discloses that she is pregnant and has not told any
family member, friends, or the male involved. She is
contemplating abortion. The client goes through with
the abortion, but does not disclose this information to
her parents. She continues services, but her parents
are upset that she should need for your services to
continue. What do you do?
I would not disclose the reasoning for her continued
need for services, but would perhaps revisit with the
client the importance of a support system, evaluating
with client if disclosing her secret to her parents is
important and beneficial.

References

American Counseling Association (2014). ACA Code of Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author
Bradshaw Z, Slade P. The Effects of Induced Abortion on Emotional Experiences and
Relationships: A Critical Review of the Literature. Clinical Psychology Review. 2003;23(7):929
958.
Brown, J. (1999, August 17). Parents sue guidance counselor for advising girl to get secret
abortion. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, p. B8.
Curley, M., & Johnston, C. (2013). The characteristics and severity of psychological distress after
abortion among university students. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research,
40(3), 279-93.
Ely, G. E., Flaherty, C., & Cuddeback, G. S. (2010). The relationship between depression and
other psychosocial problems in a sample of adolescent pregnancy termination patients. Child &
Adolescent Social Work Journal, 27(4), 269-282.
Joffe, C., PhD. (2013). The politicization of abortion and the evolution of abortion counseling.
American Journal of Public Health, 103(1), 57-65. Retrieved from
Ney, Philip G, MD,F.R.C.P.(C.), M.A., Sheils, C. K., R.N., & Gajowy, M., M.A. (2010). Postabortion survivor syndrome: Signs and symptoms. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology &
Health, 25(2), 107-129.
Millner, V. S., & Hanks, R. B. (2002). Induced abortion: An ethical conundrum for counselors.
Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, 80(1), 57-63.
Pazon, K., Creanga, A., Burley, K., Jamieson, D, (2011). Abortion surveillance, United States,
2011. Cetner for Disease Control, MMWR Surveillance Studies. Retrieved December 11, 2014
from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6311a1.htm?s_cid=ss6311a1_w
Stone, C. (2002). Negligence in academic advising and abortion counseling: Courts rulings and
implications. Professional School Counseling, 6(1), 28.