• Use language and tone that demonstrate respect, is not stigmatizing, and supports their process of decision making.
  • Ask patients about their ­name and pronouns; ensure staff is aware of preferences.
  • 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 experienced providers or staff in a challenging counseling situation.
  • Be aware of assumptions you make about patients’ feelings.




  • Attend to patients’ need for more anesthesia, or management options that suggest another more optimal setting for their abortion.




  • Options counseling for unintended pregnancy and abortion are similar to that necessary for other medical decisions, and is within the scope of primary care providers.  Know when and how to refer for services beyond what you can provide.
  • Provide patient-centered decision making to support preferences in health decisions.
  • Maintain patient privacy and confidentiality.
  • Direct your attention to the patient and include them in any conversations while in the procedure room.
  • Provide opportunity to see a patient alone, as well as to involve the patients’ partners in the counseling and as a support person if feasible and requested by the patient.


Early Abortion Training Workbook Copyright © 2016 by UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. All Rights Reserved.