Honoring Legacies of Justice: 40 Years of Roe v. Wade

This is a guest post by Reverend Darcy Baxter who is a Unitarian Universalist Minister, currently serving as Director of Family and Youth Ministries at Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church in Hayward, CA. In addition to her congregationally-based work, she is a teacher, facilitator, and public speaker in the broader community on issues of reproductive justice, faith and religion, movement vitality, and the moral/theological legitimacy of progressive politics. Reproductive justice has been the soil of her theological work, starting from the human suffering that is revealed and addressed (or not addressed) through abortion provision. Prior to pursuing liberal religious ministry, she worked at the National Abortion Federation and Howard University. Rev. Baxter currently serves on the board of directors of the Abortion Conversation Project, is a member of the Center for American Progress’ Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute, and a member of the Reproductive Health Technologies’ Project Speaker Bureau on Abortion Access and Reproductive Equity.



Honoring Legacies of Justice: 40 Years of Roe v. Wade

By Darcy Baxter

In the past few months, I’ve had the good fortune of attending two Bay Area Doula Project events: the “Building a Doula Movement: A Roundtable & Holiday Party” in December and, last week, The Radical Doula Guide Release Party. At both events, I heard people say that they wanted a doula for everything in life—a break-up doula, a big-test doula, a get-in-shape doula.

What I heard these women expressing was a deep desire for more support in their life—and not
just any kind of support but doula kind of support.

From Miriam Zoira Perez’s

“I was attracted to abortion doula work from the beginning. Not only did it bring together two of my big interests–pro-choice and birth activism–it just seemed to make sense. Of course the skills of a doula would be transferable to other moments like abortion. There are those who believe the two roles are contradictory. To those people I say: my goal during each is the same. I’m there to support the person giving birth/having an abortion/miscarriage. I’m not focused on the outcome, or the reason they are there. I’m focused on providing the best support possible. There is no contradiction there.”

As Miriam Perez articulates, a doula is not attached on ‘outcome’, but rather focuses on
supporting the person in their process—wherever that process may lead. For Perez, doulas
are committed to process over outcome. And there are many women who feel that they do not
have the kind of support in their lives where they, as human beings, are attended to and valued,
not for what they do or create, but for being who and what they are—a person in process of

Now, what does this all have to do with the service I have co-created and will lead this Sunday,
January 20th?

The service was created using a doula mentality. The way I approached creating and making
the service happen, the process of creating the service, was as important and valued to me as
the event itself. I’ve been known to say that “the way we do is what we do.”

Practically, this meant holding open meetings, inviting all those interested in helping to create
the service participate. It meant doing regular check-ins with my co-organizers, spending time
listening and supporting one another in the things going on in our lives as we were organizing
the service. It meant cooking and serving the speaker/testifiers dinner on Monday and offering
all the support we could as they create their testimony.

The way we do is what we do.

What do they teach us in doula training? Stress and distrust of one’s body are the biggest ‘enemies’ of the birth process.

When I hear that people want a doula for everything in life, what I hear is a deep desire for
living a different kind of way. I hear a desire for community where relationship and process are
highly valued and attended to with respect. Where I am valued in my full, messy, imperfect
humanness, regardless of what utility I have to you, to an organization, to a movement.

Living this way means giving up that sense of anxious control where you “need” to make
something happen— in truth, you do not have nearly as much control over life as you might
want or think. What you need to do is breathe deeply, get your back rubbed, and trust that your
body-being (and your community) knows how to do this thing called life.

I hope to see you this Sunday, Jan 20th at Nile Hall in Preservation Park, Oakland at 6:30pm
for Honoring Legacies of Justice: 40 Years of Roe v Wade. For more details please visit:


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