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Confidential Access to Abortion Advice Essential for Safety

23 May 2011

Confidential Access to Abortion Advice Essential for Young People’s Safety

Young people would be put at risk if parents had to be told their children were accessing advice about abortion, says the president of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

Jonathan Loan said young people will make their own decisions about where they get advice about significant issues and, frequently, they will choose not to talk with their parents for a variety of reasons.

“Unfortunately, that’s a reality,” Mr Loan said. “In those cases young people need a secure, trusted and sensible source of advice which, in many cases, is provided by school counsellors.

“But if you remove the right to confidentiality, those young people will not talk with school counsellors either, or any other adult.

“Without the benefit of mature, adult advice, young people might then choose unsafe solutions such as backyard or self-induced abortions and that will jeopardize their safety.

“I would rather my children talked with a trained professional than try and deal with things by themselves or by talking with peers.”

Mr Loan urged parents to trust the professionalism and integrity of school counsellors.

He said that in by far the majority of cases, counsellors work to ensure parents are aware of what their children are facing.

“Take away confidentiality and parents are potentially less likely to know about their child’s abortion or other issues.”

Mr Loan said counsellors deal with some cases where parents are forcing their child to have an abortion against their wishes.

These young people also have a right to choose, and school counsellors not only assist the young person, but frequently they also help parents with their reactions to their child’s situation.

He stressed the importance of school counsellors, saying they deal with a range of issues on a daily basis and in all instances they encourage the young person to access all support systems available to them.

“Apart from rare cases the most important source of support for young people is parents and family who are often grateful for a counsellor’s help.”


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