Pregnancy Support Services (CA-PS) 5: Pregnancy Options Counseling/Birth Options Counselling
Individuals receive nondirective counselling and information services that help them make decisions about the pregnancy.
Organizations that offer counselling on all possible options for the pregnancy (i.e. parenting, adoption or other transfer of custody, and termination) will be considered to provide Pregnancy Options Counselling. Organizations that offer counselling only on parenting and adoption or other transfer of custody (i.e. not on termination) will be considered to provide Birth Options Counselling, and will be rated according to slightly different criteria for standards CA-PS 5.01, CA-PS 5.02, and CA-PS 5.07. See those standards for further guidance.
NAThe organization does not provide counselling services designed to help individuals make decisions about their pregnancies.
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be prepared to demonstrate that it carefully considered its mission, capacity, resources, influence on the individual’s decision making, and community’s needs when it decided not to provide counselling on all alternatives for pregnancy resolution.
When this is the case practice could include providing individuals with a comprehensive list of other community providers that offer pregnancy counselling, support, and education services.
Counselling is nondirective and nonjudgemental, and helps individuals make the best decisions for their particular circumstances.
Although organizations that offer only Birth Options Counselling will not provide counselling on termination, they should still provide nondirective and nonjudgemental counselling regarding parenting and adoption or other transfer of custody.
When family members or significant others, including the birth father, are involved in counselling services:
all parties have opportunities to explore their individual feelings and needs; and
confidentiality is protected at all times, if parties are counselled separately.
When the birth father or family requests counselling and the pregnant woman is opposed, the organization should make a referral or create a separate case. When a separate case is created, confidentiality must be protected at all times.
Examples: When an organization provides joint counselling, it may be appropriate to offer both joint and individual counselling in order to ensure that counselling parties together does not inhibit a full exploration of individuals’ feelings.
Individuals have the opportunity to receive information and counselling regarding the implications of parenting that addresses:
responsibilities associated with parenting;
costs associated with raising a child;
how parenting will impact the expectant parents’ goals and plans for the future;
whether family members or friends will be willing to help the expectant parents;
the role that the birth father will play; and
single parenting or the possibility of marriage.
Individuals have the opportunity to receive information and counselling regarding the implications of adoption or other transfer of custody that addresses:
types of available adoption and guardianship services, and the range of openness in adoption;
parents’ legal rights and the rights termination process;
financial assistance that may be available;
separation from the child, and grief and loss;
long-term implications of the decision; and
making plans for the immediate future.
Individuals have the opportunity to receive information and counselling regarding the implications of termination that addresses:
attitudes toward pregnancy termination, including personal religious beliefs;
emotional issues related to grief and loss, and the finality of the decision;
types of procedures available;
costs of the procedure; and
legal issues for minors (such as parental notification, parental consent, and judicial bypass), if applicable.
NAThe organization provides only Birth Options Counselling.
Individuals are helped to carry out their decisions about the pregnancy and obtain any other needed services, directly or by referral.
Individuals may need prenatal care, parent education, adoption services, or termination services to carry out their decisions about the pregnancy. Organizations that offer only Birth Options Counselling, and thus do not provide linkages to termination services, should disclose this fact to service recipients, as referenced in CA-PS 5.01.
Examples: Other needed services can include, but are not limited to, health, educational, vocational, and housing services.
To help individuals stay healthy and prevent subsequent unintended pregnancies, the organization:
provides information and education about the prevention and treatment of diseases, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases;
provides information and education about pregnancy prevention, pregnancy planning, and the spacing of children; and
links individuals to family planning services.
When an organization does not provide linkages to family planning services because doing so is counter to its mission or beliefs, the organization should disclose this fact to service recipients and provide individuals with a list of other community providers that offer pregnancy support and education services.