Options Support Service
Planned Parenthood Ottawa offers free, pro-choice, non-judgmental, confidential options support counseling for women experiencing an unintended pregnancy, as well as short-term support after an abortion for both women and men.
Our Options Support Service provides a safe space for clients to talk about their concerns and questions in a supportive environment in which they will not be judged. Our support service is called “Options” because we are open and informed to discuss any or all of the pregnancy options available to women: abortion, adoption, and parenting. We believe that women have the right to choose and we do not try to influence their decision.
We believe that clients have the right to receive evidence-based, comprehensive, unbiased information about all of their options in order to make a confident and well-informed decision. We will support whatever decision she chooses or is leaning towards.
Each Options appointment is approximately one hour long and it is tailored to meet the needs of the client. Some clients are unsure of which option they will choose, so we may facilitate decision-making by exploring their feelings and answering questions they may have about any of the options. Other clients make appointments knowing which option they will choose and they are seeking more practical information and/or support for that decision, which we can also provide.
With all clients, we offer free information packages on each of the options. These packages contain helpful information on each topic. We also offer free post-abortion information packages and free information packages for the support person in your life (i.e. partner in the pregnancy) that contains information on how they can best support a woman facing an unintended pregnancy.
Our Options Support team works from a strengths-based approach, understanding and respecting that all women are able to make the best decision for them regarding their pregnancy. Planned Parenthood Ottawa has been providing this service in the Ottawa community since 1996 and to date have helped hundreds of clients. Our Options Support team is fully trained and has experience working with individuals, couples, and families in different settings.
Booking an Appointment:
If you are interested in booking an Options appointment for yourself, you can call Planned Parenthood Ottawa at: 613-226-3234. You can drop by Planned Parenthood Ottawa during business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm) to make an appointment as well. Since we are regularly booking clients, same-day appointments might not be possible; however, we do our best to schedule clients for the earliest possible appointment.
Generally, appointments are for 6 pm on weekday evenings. If this time is not accessible for you, please notify the staff person you speak with at the office, and we will do our best to make other arrangements.
If you would like to book an appointment for someone else (i.e. a friend, family member, partner, or client), we encourage you to have that person contact us directly.
When someone contacts Planned Parenthood Ottawa to book an appointment, the Planned Parenthood staff person or volunteer receiving the request will ask a few general questions to inform our Support team, including:
- Do you know how far along the pregnancy is?
- Have you had the pregnancy confirmed by a doctor/home test?
- Can we have your first name?
- Will you be bringing anyone to the appointment with you? If yes, who?
- Is there any other information you’d like our Options support team to know ahead of time?
It is okay if you can’t answer some or any of these questions.
You will also be asked for a phone number that we can reach you at so that we can confirm the appointment the day before or day of your appointment. If you do not want us contacting you in advance to remind you (i.e. if it is not safe to call you), then we do not require a phone number. If you do provide us with your phone number, we will likely also ask if it is okay for us to leave a message (in case we must reschedule, or to call to remind/confirm with you).
Once your appointment is booked, you will be informed of the name of the Options Support person(s) you will be meeting with. They will be in the office to greet you for your appointment.
Can I bring a friend, partner or family member to an appointment?
Yes. Planned Parenthood Ottawa encourages women to do what is best for them, so if you would like to bring someone with you that is perfectly welcome. When you make your appointment by calling our office, please let the staff person know that you are bringing someone with you. Having a positive support system in your life is important when making the difficult decision of deciding what to do with an unintended pregnancy.
Can my friend, partner or family member be in the appointment with me?
Yes, they can be in the session with you. Planned Parenthood Ottawa’s policy states that the Options Support Counselor first meets with you alone to discuss the background details of your situation and get your initial feelings. Then if you want, we would invite the support person into the counseling room.
If you change your mind during the initial private session and decide that you are not comfortable having your support person in the counseling room, we would continue for the length of the session, while your support person waits outside of the counseling room with the Options Buddy.
What if I don’t have anyone I can bring to the appointment with me?
That’s OK. Our Options program is set up so that there is always an Options Buddy scheduled to be with the Options Support Counselor. This is arranged to support both you and your counselor. Support systems are very important in people’s lives when they are making difficult decisions. Your Options Support Counselor can help you identify potential support people in your life.
How many appointments can I have?
The Options Support program is a very short-term counseling program. However, every client is welcome to return to the program after their first appointment if they would like to ask more questions and explore more feelings. The choice is yours whether you see the same Options Support Counselor or whether you choose to see a different one. Planned Parenthood Ottawa also offers a post-abortion counseling session for any woman who may be interested in debriefing after her abortion. PPO can also offer specific counseling referrals that meet your budget and your needs.
How much does this service cost?
The Options Support Service is free to use. This program is staff coordinated and volunteer-driven, and we can offer up to three appointments with any one client. It is our belief that cost should not be a barrier to access our programs, and we strive to continue to make the Options Support Program accessible to our clients who wish to use this service.
What if I need to cancel/reschedule my appointment?
There is no penalty to cancel or reschedule your appointment, however, Planned Parenthood Ottawa encourages clients to call ahead of time if you know in advance that you need to cancel or reschedule. This may enable us to meet with another client for that appointment time. Planned Parenthood Ottawa is happy to reschedule any canceled or missed Options appointment for another day and time.