March 3, 2023
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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:
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:
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:
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.