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Offering support for medication abortions

-By Kelly, BADP blog co-manager

On Wednesday BADP’s doulas had our quarterly meeting, the topic of which was how to support folks who are choosing a medication abortion. Medication abortion is the ending of a pregnancy with medications taken in pill form rather than a surgical procedure, and represents just under 20% of nonhospital abortions performed in the United States according to the Guttmacher Institute. While support for a person having a medication abortion looks different from in-clinic support, it can look very similar to the at-home support provided by some birth doulas. 

Wednesday’s meeting started with a doula who recently supported someone through a medication abortion talking about her experience, then clinical information about the process was presented. Much of the meeting was spent discussing potential physical, emotional, and spiritual support that could be offered by doulas. Physical support during medication abortion is centered around support through cramping, including massage, heating pads, position changes, getting in the shower, focused breathing, and offering distractions. Encouraging food and fluid intake as well as addressing potential nausea with teas and aromatheraphy were also suggestions discussed. Emotional and spiritual support focuses on above all, holding space and active listening. Working with the person experiencing the medication abortion to create a safe and comfortable space can include lighting candles, watching movies, talking, or staying silent and reflective. Suggesting some sort of ritual can also be important. Self-care for ourselves and suggestions for someone having a medication abortion was also something discussed at the meeting. A list of helpful books and organizations can be found in the “Resources” section of our website, and a recent post on our blog discussed self-care for doulas. 

All in all, Wednesday’s meeting on medication abortion support was extremely informative and inspiring. Thanks to all who shared their personal experiences and helpful information. BADP is developing a program to provide doula support for folks choosing a medication abortion which we hope to have up and running in the next couple of months. Check in for updates about these future services!

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Serious question, how many times have you seen anatomy photos with Black women and Black babies in the womb? At the doctors office, medical books, anywhere?

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This is one reason that keeping abortion legal is not enough. It's already extremely difficult for many people -- even in CA -- to arrange funding, travel, childcare, etc. It's also why we do what we do. When things are already that hard, it's vital to have a support system.

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