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Abortion support: doulas, groups and emotional support

Getting support after an abortion is important. Learn how to find support and support the ones you love after experiencing an abortion. Read more now.

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Abortion is a uniquely personal experience and like other major life events may come with a range of different emotions. Grief, relief, and anger are all normal yet challenging feelings that may require some support to process. While many people are most comfortable going through their abortion experience alone, others may find that having the care and company of friends, family, or an abortion doula makes things easier to handle.

If you’re having an abortion, take inventory of your needs. Are you the type of person who benefits from support during big life transitions? Or are you the type of person who needs a little more space to deal? Once you understand your needs, you’ll be better able to seek out support. If you’re in the special position of supporting someone who is having an abortion, follow their lead. Give them space to ask for what they need and reassure them that you’re available to them.

How to find abortion support

Whether you’re considering, recovering from, or about to have an abortion, support is available to you. Internet forums and online abortion stories can help you feel less alone. Abortion doulas, or individuals specially trained to support people during their abortion experience, offer more personal and one on one support before, during, and after your abortion procedure. 

Abortion doulas

You may have heard of birthing doulas who assist people during pregnancy, labor, and birth. While birthing doulas tend to be the most common, many doulas consider their support “full-spectrum” and offer care to people during a variety of significant medical events. An abortion doula has specialized training in providing physical and emotional support during a surgical or medical abortion procedure. Doulas can also provide information and education or direct you to the nurse or doctor for medical advice.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a doula during your procedure, they’ll be there to support you in whatever manner is most helpful to you. In some abortion clinics, a doula will walk you to the procedure room, keep you company as you await the abortion provider, and explain the abortion process.

During your procedure, your doula might hold your hand, offer a heating pad for pain or cramping, or offer thoughtful conversation about your procedure. Some people prefer distraction during their abortion, and a doula is especially great at keeping things light. Some of the best doulas will ask you about what you're watching on Netflix, your favorite Door Dash order, or what you do to relax. 

Meet Hey Jane: modern, virtual abortion care

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Meet Hey Jane: modern, virtual abortion care

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Doulas aren’t medical professionals but they’ve got much to offer those looking for a little more support and connection during what can be a really overwhelming time! If you feel that having a doula would be helpful for you, find help at The Doula Project.

Abortion support groups

Abortion support groups are a great way to find support, comfort, and fellowship. These days, most support groups you’ll find are online. Unfortunately, searching for abortion support on Google can pull up a lot of misleading information and direct you to websites of organizations falsely posing as abortion support groups. Be wary of websites that pose as abortion support but actually attempt to persuade pregnant people from seeking abortion services or shame those who have had the procedure. Some safely pro-choice, supportive online forums include r/abortion on Reddit and Abortion Support for Heart Healing on Facebook. Additionally, all Hey Jane patients have access to The Lounge, our private peer-to-peer support forum. If Hey Jane is your provider, we welcome you to join at any time! Message us on Spruce for more info.

Abortion stories

Abortion is very normal and occurs in about half of unintended pregnancies. Despite being so common, many people are afraid to talk about their experience. This stigma creates an air of mystery around what is a very normal medical procedure. Reading stories written by others who’ve already gone through the procedure can help ease some of the anxiety you might be feeling. Sharing your own story can help too; sometimes just getting your experience written out helps to process and come to terms with a situation that may have felt difficult at the time! 

To read about others’ experiences or to share your own abortion story, visit:

How to support someone having an abortion

Since about 1 in 4 menstruating people have had an abortion, it’s very likely that you love someone who has had one! People who’ve had an abortion or are considering an abortion deserve love, compassion, and respect. If you’re reaching out to help someone in need of abortion support, let them tell you what they need. Ask them what would make them feel most supported and loved during this time. No one person recovers from any major life event in the same way, so be patient and adaptable with your support.

Some ways to emotionally support someone who is having an abortion include:

  • Giving them space to share their story. Some people might benefit from talking about their experience while others might want to simply let it go.
  • Provide healthy and fun distractions from overwhelming feelings. Watch movies, call friends, and sit with your friend as they recover.
  • Provide reassurance in their choices and remind them that you’re there for them before and after their abortion.

While providing emotional care during and after an abortion is important, some pregnant people will benefit from physical and practical help too. 

Some practical ways to support someone who is having an abortion include:

  • Covering or helping pay for the costs for care.
  • Offering transportation to and from appointments.
  • Preparing easy to heat meals or ordering take out so that they don’t need to cook if they aren’t feeling well.
  • Sit with them before, during, and after their abortion, if possible.
  • Help navigate the process by locating a clinic or online medication abortion service, filling out paperwork, or making phone calls.
  • Putting together a care package including things like a cozy blanket, fun snacks, and menstrual pads.

If you’re considering abortion or have had an abortion and need some support, help is available. You can find information, talk and text lines, and more on our resources page. 

Written by

Sally Rashid, RN BSN

Sally Rashid is a Registered Nurse and writer living in Detroit, Michigan. She has worked in reproductive care for a decade as a doula, nurse, and advocate for abortion access. Sally was a 2020 winner of Yes, And Laughter Lab's competitive incubation program for her work as writer and co-creator of Darling, a dark comedy about an abortion clinic at constant risk of closure. On top of writing for the beauty and healthcare industries, Sally is an all-around creative lady who loves music, making connections, and chilling with her two cats.

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