Evidence-based counselling

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.


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18 Responses to “Evidence-based counselling”

  1. weezil Says:

    There better not be any qualified Social Workers employed by these anti-choice noise factories. There’s no way a Social Worker’s career would survive an ethics complaint via AASW if any were found doling out anti-choice disinformation under the guise of counselling.

  2. Suki Says:

    The whole point here weezil is that taxpayers are funding a system that sends real clients to fake counsellors.

  3. weezil Says:

    Suki, then the correct thing to do is to send some fake clients (with a real digital recorder armed & ready) to the fake counsellors.

    Anyone feeling a little bit unhappily pregnant these days?

  4. kartar Says:

    I’d offer but I think they’d be a bit suss. It’s the beard you know. 🙂

  5. marcel white Says:

    “Any organisation not declaring or clearly articulating its agenda to its clients is unconscionable should not be funded by Australian taxpayers”…..

    From the Pregnancy Counselling Australia website:

    “Our funding comes entirely from private donations…”

    “The caller’s decision is her own and is not our business. We do not refer for abortion.”

    From the Phone Book:

    (Clearly written under the add) “Alternatives to abortion”

    NOT government or taxpayer funded; NOT deceitful.

    Just who is it that is undertaking a deceitful scare campaign?

  6. weezil Says:

    marcel dribbled: “Just who is it that is undertaking a deceitful scare campaign?

    You can start with the liars who refer to embryos and zygotes as ‘babies’ and defame women who exercise free reproductive choice as ‘murderers.’

  7. Suki Says:

    gee marcel, what’s this then from the Yellowpages. Don’t see your alleged disclaimer anywhere!

    And just when I thought you couldn’t be any more offensive you are lazy as well!

  8. kartar Says:

    Marcel, marcel, marcel. If you’re going to tell fibs then at least make them ones that people can’t immediately refute – like your rape victim friend whose resisted the demon abortion and has never regretted it…

  9. marcel white Says:

    There is nothing deceptive about that Internet ad (not phonebook ad i was referring to btw) either. I guess your silence on the whole government funded furphy regarding PCA is a concession too.

    I cannot understand what frightens so called ‘pro-choicers’ so much with regards to different counsellors providing services. One in every three women is having an abortion. To have an abortion you simply need to look up ‘Pregnancy Termination’ in a phone book or on the Internet. You do not need a referral from a doctor.

    I find the phrase ‘pregnancy termination’ deceptive. It is like calling a service that offers to kill your wife a ‘Marriage Termination’ service. Linclon’s assassination: simply a ‘termination of employment’. kill the plumber, tell the judge you were just ‘terminating the contract’. pregnancy is a relationship between two people, to terminate the relationship is to terminate the little baby. if you want to root out deception start with the following terms:

    * Family planning (means ‘family reduction’)
    * Products of conception (means ‘human being’)

    the ‘feminists’ want to close down non-profit, shoe string budgeted counsellors who just want to help women. I think it is malicious.

    kartar, i take exception to your imputation that i don’t take the Lord’s 8th commandment seriously. i can assure you of the veracity of my anecdote. for Christians lies have consequences, and i try to be always cognisant of this fact 🙂

  10. Suki Says:


    Be warned – I run SHAO. I run it with the view that an evidence-based discussion occurs. If you can provide me with evidence that feminists are interfering with a woman’s right to choice, then put it up- AND make sure it stands up to scrutiny.

    If you are going to pray and lie your way through this discussion then your work here is done. UNDERSTOOD?

  11. weezil Says:

    Yes indeed, Marcel’s work here is well and truly finished.

    However, he’s been seen preying in front of the condom display down at his local chemist… “Won’t someone think of the little spermies! All those poor babies cut in half in purgatory!”

    Oh, wait… the cathlicks deregulated purgatory a few years back.

    Ah, faerie tales. You can change the story whenever you like!

  12. weezil Says:

    Bad public policy requires deception to get it past the people. Anti-choice Christian crusaders who wish to be appointed to be the Australian Religious Police are pulling out the stops to manipulate public opinion.

    Failing being able to force their religion on Australian women via public law, you can count on anti-choice deceivers to ‘astroturf,’ or create fake grass-roots support for their position.

    Reproductive Choice Australia has caught out anti-choice liars Nicholas Tonti-Filippini and Melinda Tankard Reist representing themselves as pro-choice, when absolutely nothing could be further from the truth.

    Have the anti-choice astroturfers come to the comments threads on mgk & SHAO? I have good cause to suspect so. However, the astute readers around here do give me a bit of hope that the religious right won’t be flashing their Religious Police badges anytime soon. Even John Howard has the good sense not to take on the political muscle of people who defend the innate human right to free reproductive choice.

  13. Graham Bell Says:

    One worrying thing about all the whole issue (especially in the U.S.) is that so little regard is given to women’s health, women’s rights and all the compassionate aspects of Christianity ….. and so much is focused on power and authority instead.

    What’s wrong with giving women clear, concise, impartial, accurate information – in language they cannot misunderstand – and letting the women themselves make their own real choices, whatever those choices are?

  14. weezil Says:

    Graham, the problem is the difference between evidence and belief. The anti-choice nutbag brigades have a set of irrational beliefs which they think everyone should be obligated to respect, despite the basis of those commandments in faerie tales.

    Medical evidence is a lot harder for the godsquads to refute, so they simply deceive their way into the conversation. Bit like showing up to buy a fridge and some joker tries to sell you a potato peeler.

  15. Graham Bell Says:

    I though one of the foundations of Christianity … and of Islam and some other religions too ….. was the individual choice, in old-fashioned terms, Free Will ((please excuse my very simplistic way of putting it)).

    So what the hell are these people doing imposing THEIR Wills, like a bunch of pagan and heathen, on others? Praying for their souls. Yes. Giving their opinion and advice. Maybe. Lying to them and deliberately witholding vital information. No way!!!

    And what happens if a woman finds herself pregnant, is given accurate and appropriate information on ALL the choices open to her, including termination, and then decides herself to continue with the pregnancy? I’ll bet the Holier-Than-Thou crowd would be confused by that situation …… or what would they do if they were forced to consider a woman’s situation in the light of the real compassion shown by Jesus himself ? These people are far more interested in raw power than they are in either religion or health.

  16. weezil Says:

    Graham, for a very long time, religion was the government. From an autocrat’s point of view, it’s not a bad way to manage a mob. Keep them uneducated and reinforce your will with threatening tales of vengeful paranormal beings who were (are) said to torment those poor sods who stray, even after death.

    Power is a very hard addiction to swear off and ignorance indeed is bliss. As long as authority is permitted to be absolute, it will be so. However, quite a number of us are no longer willing to suffer through that sort of arrangement. I answer to nobody’s mythical beings from outer space nor the texts they are supposed to have written- and I suspect you’ll find many more like me in these threads.

  17. Graham Bell Says:

    Thanks. What annoys me is that so-called religious people (who, in reality are no such thing) seek to dominate, not to ensure conformity (which often happens in large organizations) but to grab power for their own selfish personal purpose. The reality is that these poeple, when pressed, really don’t give a rat’s a**** about abortions or homosexuals or Moslems (if they are “Christians”) or Christians/Nazrins (if they are Moslems); all they are interested in is running YOUR life and to do so they very conveniently ignore what is written in their own holy book when it inconveniently contradicts what they are trying to force on others.

    There is indeed a body of theological and philosophical wisdom on human reproduction ……. but you won’t get any of that out of “religious” ratbags who seek only domination for its own sake.

  18. Graham Bell Says:

    Suki and Weezil:
    This evening, I watched the SBS Cutting Edge program “S*x, Needles and Roubles” on the spread of HIV in Russia. I might have misheard what was said but did American religious fundamentalists incite Russian conservative organizations into banning the widely-approved s*x education program in schools?

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