Pro-choice groups didn’t want to hear reality of abortion’s aftermath

By Sarah Terzo

Two abortion doulas who provided comfort for women having abortions, claimed that people in the mainstream pro-choice didn’t want to acknowledge that abortion was often painful to women, not “empowering.”

In their book about being abortion doulas, the authors say:

There were more traditional pro-choice groups and activists who would express concern about our acknowledgement of the emotion that accompanies an abortion. We had been fed narratives through our activist work that many people felt “empowered” by their abortions. But our very presence in the procedure room undermined that message by hinting that abortion might be physically painful or people might have complicated feelings about it. Mostly, what we saw from people having abortions was a nuanced mix of mourning and relief. We would rarely hear that our clients regretted their procedures, nor would be hear them speak of it in empowering terms. But when we talked about all of this, it often wasn’t received by the pro-choice community the way we expected it to be.

Mary Mahoney and Lauren Mitchell, The Doulas: Radical Care for Pregnant People (New York: Feminist Press, 2016), p. 18.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Clinic Quotes and is reposted with permission.