An unwanted pregnancy can lead to a number of difficult choices: Do you keep it? If so, how will that affect your life? If not, what will you do? Will you get an abortion or give the baby up for adoption? The sheer number of considerations can be overwhelming, and many people will turn to their support system for advice—often, a close friend.
But what do you do if you're that friend? Most of us are not trained to handle a situation like this, and it can be difficult to provide the emotional support our friend needs.
Gillian Dean, M.D., senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Casey Swartz, a licensed mental health counselor and former director of counseling at Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh, offer their expert opinions on how to support a friend going through an abortion.
Don't assume or judge
"The most important thing to keep in mind when someone you know has an unintended pregnancy is not to make any assumptions," Dean said. "Your friend may lean on you to help them with their decision—or they might know exactly what they need to do. You can support them either way