When I decided to get an abortion I experienced a lot of different emotions. I knew it was the right choice for me at that time but I was scared of the procedure and my community wasnt supportive of abortion so I felt a lot guilt and shame. Many years have passed since my pregnancy release and my feelings on the experience have changed, along with my understanding of the procedure, and of course our nations laws. With all the misinformation that has seemingly always followed abortion it was easy for myself and others to be swept up in fear of the unknown.
Now that abortion is a large focal point of the US news cycle, legislation, community actions, and conversations many folks are experiencing similar misrtruths which may also lead to some very strong feelings. Instead of floundering in the unknown check out this list of myths from The Doula Project. Perhaps you will learn something you havent known before or perhaps you will feel more confident in having an informed opinion on the topic.
As a Full Spectrum Doula (FSD) I have a commitment to provide a full spectrum of support to all birthing persons and believe abortion is a form of healthcare that all bodies should have access to. I recently completed a course for holistic abortion doula support and feel honored to provide this valuable resource to my community. No one should have to be alone, afraid, and feeling unseen as they go through an abortion. I hope that by learning more about abortions you will feel more confident in supporting choices related to reproductive health and feel more confident in making choices related to reproductive health.
1. Abortion is dangerous.
Actually, having an abortion is far less dangerous than carrying a pregnancy to full term. It’s one
of the safest medical procedures out there. According the Center for Disease Control (CDC), not
even one quarter of 1% of people have major complications post-abortion, which (according to
the Guttmacher Institute) makes having a legal abortion safer than an injection of antibiotics.
2. Abortion is uncommon.
Nope. Approximately 3 in 10 people [who the Guttmacher Institute identified as women] in the
United States will have an abortion by age 45. People have abortions for many reasons,
including concerns about not being able to care for another individual, as well as financial,
health, and relationship issues.
3. Abortion causes infertility, breast cancer, depression, etc.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there is very low risk
of suffering long-term health problems as a result of having an abortion. Most healthcare
providers agree that having an abortion does not affect your ability to get pregnant. In fact,
you can get pregnant very soon after having an abortion! If you’re concerned about this
possibility, talk to your doctor about contraceptive options. And while each person responds
differently to having an abortion, according to the American Cancer Society, there is no link
between breast cancer and abortion. A study published in the PLOS One academic journal
found that the overwhelming majority (95%) of people who have an abortion feel that they
made the right decision. They also found that there is no difference in the rate of mental
health concerns between people who choose to have an abortion and people who, facing
similar circumstances, do not. We encourage you to love and trust yourself.
4. Insurance plans never cover abortion.
Actually, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company. It’s not always easy to find
out, so ask the clinic staff to assist you with this. Many insurance plans do cover abortion,
but if yours doesn’t, there may be other options available to you, like a sliding scale clinic or
an abortion fund. (Be aware that sliding scale clinics and abortion funds may have limited
resources, so they may only be able to help folks who are having trouble making ends meet.)
5. Some types of abortion are better than others.
Really, the best type of abortion is the type that’s right for you. Your options will be determined
by what’s medically appropriate, what you have access to, and your personal priorities. For
example, some people may choose medical abortion because it allows them to remain at home
during the abortion, while others may choose surgical abortion because there is typically less
blood/clotting that must be dealt with personally.
6. If you have a abortion you're going to hell.
Okay, we don’t have a direct line to God or anything. But we do hope that whatever your belief system is, it includes understanding & love – because you deserve that.
1. CDC. Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2011 63(SS11). & W Cates, D. Grimes & K Schulz. The Public Health Impact of Legal Abortion: 30 Years Later Guttmacher Institute; 2004. 2. Induced Abortion in the United States. New York: Guttmacher Institute; 2016. 3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2015 Frequently Asked Questions Special Report. 3. American Cancer Society (2014) Is Abortion Linked to Breast Cancer? & Rocca CH, Kimport K, Roberts SCM, Gould H, Neuhaus J, et al. (2015) & Decision Rightness and Emotional Responses to Abortion in the United States: A Longitudinal Study. PLoS ONE 10(7).
Sarah Foster is a Holistic Wellness Educator and Full Spectrum Doula in Altamonte Spring, FL that provides in person and virtual whole person wellness education along with a full spectrum of support for all birthing outcomes. If you are interested in learning how a FSD can support your pregnancy release contact me today.