Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's such a simple a painless operation that a doula is necessary

So now it sounds like some doulas are getting into the abortion business.

Wait a minute-- a fifteen-minute operation, that's supposed to be so simple and relatively painless...needs a doula?

I'm going to get my wisdom teeth pulled...can I have a doula, too?

Not only are many providers not well equipped to provide adequate support, but the procedure itself can also be a painful one, during which many women are fully or at least partially conscious. Raquel Valentin, Practice Manager for the Family Planning Division at Beth Israel Hospital explained, "Many first trimester abortions are being done with local and moderate sedation. This means that the women are still awake and emotional." The decision to use moderate sedation is based on both the women's choices and the higher risks associated with full anesthesia but can result in an experience that can be both frightening and, at times, painful.

Abortion is painful. You don't say.

The Birth Sisters, an existing doula program at Boston Medical Center (BMC), is in the process of adding abortion to their already comprehensive list of support services offered. The program, fully funded by the hospital, provides women with support from the early stages of their pregnancy through the postpartum period, often from doulas who can provide culturally competent services to the burgeoning Latino immigrant population served by the Medical Center.

There might be a silver lining to this: they may finally admit post-abortion syndrome exists.

Latinas, huh? Why not white people?

You know, they're called Birth Sisters, but they're stopping birth. Maybe they should be renamed the Abortion Sisters.

In addition, they also plan on providing support to women having medication abortions, who usually go home and pass the pregnancy on their own.

How do you "pass" a pregnancy? Pregnancy is a state, not a thing.

Oh-- pass the fetus. Wouldn't want to mention the nasty fetus about abortion, now, would you...

"I would also have welcomed their support in confirming that my body would, in the future, be ready and able to make a baby and that I would be a good mother when the time was right," Erin says.

But you're poor-choice. Don't tell me you could have possibly doubted that interfering with your uterus could have any effect on your fertility, right?

Instead of implying that women who have abortions need a lot of support, this is simply another opportunity to help women within the broader context of doula care. To her it's important that women do not feel that abortion is being stigmatized and that women are not being sent the message that they need support during their abortion. "For some women," Susan reminded me, "all they feel after their abortion is relief."

But apparently, there's enough demand for support that they need programs. That doesn't sound like relief to me.

At the Birth Sisters program, a large majority of the women they serve are immigrants from Latin America, many of who are terminating pregnancies that they acquired while crossing the US-Mexico border. These pregnancies can be a result of rapes that are not an uncommon occurrence for immigrants who come into the United States without documents.

How many of these women are raped, and how many actually get pregnant? This sounds like the incremental justification-- a few women need it, so all need it.

But other women make the decision alone, or without the support of a partner or families. It's these women who will benefit the most from having a doula at her side-someone who has no investment in her pregnancy, and simply wants to hold her hand, distract her, make her laugh or explain the procedure to her.

But I don't need "emotional support" for going to the dentist. What is the big fuss about abortion? Is it or is it not a procedure that produces negative feelings in women?

"I had a hard first labor," Erin recounted. "I wonder if I had trouble connecting to my birthing body as a result of the abortion experience. think?