Weez over at mgk has done a great post on unethical counselling practices when it comes to government funded pregnancy couselling as highlighted by the GetUp! action for Australia group.
On 1 June 2006, Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja, an Australian Democrat, posted this media release:
“Govt defends funding for anti-choice counselling.
The Government today continued to defend its anti-choice pregnancy counselling service, Pregnancy Help Australia, in the face of evidence that the organisation does not “advise, provide or refer, directly or indirectly, for abortion or abortifacients”. Pregnancy Help Australia is the only dedicated pregnancy counselling service which receives Federal Government funding.
“This quote, from Pregnancy Help Australia’s constitution, is clear evidence that the organisation is anti-choice,” Democrats’ Spokesperson for the Status of Women Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.
Senator Stott Despoja also questioned the Government about Pregnancy Help Australia’s recent submission to a Senate inquiry where it outlined its opposition to RU486, and its links to Heartbeat International – an anti-choice umbrella group for ‘crisis pregnancy services’, whose affiliates must not “advise, provide or refer for abortion of abortifacients”.
“Despite all of this documented evidence about Pregnancy Help Australia’s anti-abortion stance, officials today said they were confident the organisation was meeting the terms of its funding agreement with the Department, that its affiliates provide non-directive counselling, and that it is satisfied with the organisation’s performance,” Senator Stott Despoja said.
A compilation of biased and misleading information given out to women and their families by organisations affiliated with Pregnancy Help Australia is available on request.
Senator Stott Despoja has introduced legislation to regulate pregnancy counselling in Australia, which is currently being examined by a Senate committee. The committee is accepting submissions until June 16 and will hold public hearings in the week beginning July 17. It is due to report on August 17.”
Formal, professional qualifications, ethical practice, worker neutrality, trust, honesty and the right of a client to self-determine are the cornerstones of a reputable counselling service. Moreover, no peak body, not the AASW nor the APS would describe Pregnancy Help Australia or Pregnancy Counselling Australia, as outlined in their mission statements as coming close to best practice, let alone reputable.
The exploitation of vulnerable people by a right-to-life agenda masquerading as legitimate counselling is unethical. Any organisation not declaring or clearly articulating its agenda to its clients is unconscionable and should not be funded by Australian taxpayers, who in every survey conducted support choice for women facing an unwanted pregnancy.
Image from here