• Support each patient’s decision-making process by eliciting and being responsive to their unique needs and preferences.
  • Be aware of assumptions you make about a patient’s personal situation, communities, and feelings.
  • Explore how bias may show up in our work and review strategies for self-reflection.
  • Be mindful of tone, terminology, and body language (for example, sit at a patient’s eye level to communicate an equal power dynamic when culturally appropriate).
  • Ask each patient for their name and pronouns, and if appropriate, their preferred anatomical terminology; ensure staff is aware of preferences and that they are reflected in patient records.
  • Use open-ended questions and nonjudgmental listening. Allow time for a patient to think, talk further, and ask additional questions.
  • Know when to seek help from more experienced providers or staff in a challenging counseling situation.


  • Attend to each patient’s need for adequate anesthesia, avoiding assumptions about patients’ pain tolerance.
  • Screen for coercion, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking. Provide patients with local resources.


  • Support patients to choose pregnancy options consistent with their needs, values, and preferences. Like other medical decision-making, this is within the scope of primary care providers. Know when and how to refer for services beyond what you can provide.
  • Determine that the patient’s decision about the pregnancy was made freely and without coercion.
  • Provide an opportunity to see the patient alone, as well as to involve a support person when feasible and requested by the patient.
  • Maintain patient privacy and confidentiality.
  • Direct your attention to the patient and include them in any conversations while in the procedure room.


EARLY ABORTION TRAINING CURRICULUM Copyright © 2020 by UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. All Rights Reserved.