The title is: What’s an Abortion Doula? They’re strangers who will hold your hand while you go under the knife.
To Marisa’s credit, there is a chance she had nothing to do with the title. I’ve written articles before where the title that was slapped on was one I had never seen.
But, that possibility aside, what a terrible title. The first part that pissed me off was “while you go under the knife.” What a sensationalist way to talk about abortion!!! Many of them don’t even involve “knives” or scalpels, as they are called by medical professionals. Most abortions are done using a manual vacuum aspirator, which uses a canula (long tube that suctions) not a knife. But the technicalities aside, it’s such a sensationalist way to talk about abortion. You’d think this might be an anti’s article about abortion doulas.
Then, she says this:
Even as a pro-choice feminist, when I heard about abortion doulas my first thought was: Are women really so fragile that they need to hire a complete stranger to hold their hand at the doctor’s?
Though I don’t share Doula Lori’s views, abortion doulas seemed a little unnecessary to me. Doulas don’t do anything during an abortion that a friend or clinic worker couldn’t do.
I can’t really understand how it can be feminist to say that women are FRAGILE if they need or want a support person during a medical procedure. Especially a medial procedure like an abortion or a birth. Let’s shame women for what they need! That’s totally feminist.
And if abortion doulas weren’t necessary (because a clinic worker or friend could play the role) then why are clinics in NYC banging down the doula project’s door? If these folks weren’t fulfilling a need they wouldn’t have a project. That’s the thing–the doctors and clinics like having the doulas there, and so do the women. That’s all that matters.
She ends the piece, thankfully, on a less dismissive note.
The success of the New York doula project has inspired women in other cities to mimic their efforts. There are groups in Asheville, N.C., Greensboro, N.C., and Seattle organizing abortion doulas, and the L.A. Doula Project will be opening in a clinic this spring. Pérez puts the whole thing into perspective for me with a story about her brother having emergency appendicitis. “I totally was his appendicitis doula,” she laughs. “My job is [to ask], ‘What can I do to make you feel better?’ ” What woman going through a fraught experience wouldn’t want that?
You can read the whole piece here. I’m glad that doulas who work across the spectrum of pregnancy are getting attention, but it’s frustrating not to be able to control the message.