How do I become an abortion doula?

So, unlike being a birth doula, there isn’t a standard way to become an abortion doula.

I, and most of the abortion doulas I know, have started groups in our cities that then work on finding clinics to partner with as a team, offering to provide doula support to the clients the clinics serve.

The individual doula/client model that works for birth doesn’t really work in this context, especially since most folks wouldn’t think to reach out to a doula for an abortion or miscarriage. So instead we partner with clients directly, and set up volunteer shifts so that there is a doula for (ideally) every person they serve. To the people getting services at the clinic, we seem like clinic volunteers, even though really we’re an independent group partnering with the clinic or hospital practice.

Step one is to find a few other doulas in your community who are interested in this. Then, once you’ve established your group, you can work on reaching out to clinics like Planned Parenthood and others, to see if you can provide your doula services there. You’ll have to consider things like training on abortion doula support for your doulas, volunteer screening and other policies to comply with the clinic needs.

Don’t get discouraged if this takes a while! It can be a long process to build trust among the doulas, and trust with clinics. Some may at first not be interested in your services, but don’t get discouraged there either. Just keep trying until you find a provider who is interested. Others may come on board once they hear about the wonderful things your group is doing with other clinics.

Probably the best resource out there to help you with this is the Doula Project in NYC. They provide support, training and assistance to groups around the country trying to start similar projects in their cities.

More information is available here.

This was a question I received via email that I thought others might be curious about. Got other burning questions? Email me at radicaldoulaATgmailDOTcom.

3 thoughts on “How do I become an abortion doula?

  1. Bree Herndon August 2, 2011 / 1:00 pm

    Thank you for this information! I was just wondering about this myself as I try to establish myself as a radical doula. Of course, I live in Idaho, so this is an even more radical undertaking than it would have been in other less conservative areas I have lived in. I think my biggest hold up right now is reaching out to other doulas and doing so in such a way as to not break my ties with the doulas I am connected with here that I know would find this idea abhorrent. Any suggestions on that front?

    Thanks again!

  2. Amber Morrisey August 3, 2011 / 9:22 am

    Thank you for sharing. Such a wonderful gift. Ive ways had an interest in support women through abortions but I’m not there yet.

    Also, I do have to disagree about the standard to becoming a fouls. There are many ways too, so many paths. I don’t think there is a standard in birth doulas either!

  3. sarah August 3, 2011 / 1:15 pm

    Great idea. I used to work for Planned Parenthood, and the employees are trained to offer emotional support during procedures to patients, so there may be some overlap.

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