For World Doula Week (March 22 to March 28), we’re highlighting doulas doing the work. For our second interview, we’re chatting with Heather and Sarah, the founders of The Abortion Project. As full-spectrum doulas, they share some of their thoughts on the field and what they’re trying to do within the birth world.
Meet Heather and Sarah of The Abortion Project (both use she/her).
The Abortion Project is a non-profit documentary photography project aiming to demystify and de-stigmatize medical abortions across the United States. Heather and Sarah, the founders of The Abortion Project, are both Full-Spectrum Doulas based in Florida passionate about reproductive advocacy.
1.) How would you define the term doula?
Doula has been defined up and down by so, so many. We just want to stress that we really wish more doulas supported the physical, emotional and educational needs of people experiencing the full spectrum of pregnancy outcomes. Because they are all equal and important in our eyes.
2.) How would you describe the kind of doula work you do?
We are doing important community work. Supporting people through their abortion is similar to supporting someone with any other type of pregnancy outcome by giving them emotional, physical and educational support. Not only are we supporting people in-person, before, during and after their abortion, but we are also giving them a care package full of items they might need during their abortion experience. As well as photographing the experience in order to create a book in the near future. The goal of our work is two-fold—to support people in their time of need and to also show that these types of abortions are safe and happening, what people can expect going into one for themselves and that there shouldn’t be any shame attached to the experience.
3.) What stigmas do you think need to be shattered within the doula/birth world (or outside of it)?
That we have no idea what medical abortions actually look like. There is such a misconception of abortion being this shameful and gruesome experience. And we know it to be different. We know it to be beautiful, empowering, affirming and many other things! By showing images of different people’s experiences we know that we’re altering the current abortion narrative.
4.) What are you currently working on within your practice as a doula?
We are currently photographing medical abortions, offering doula support and providing care packages for people needing abortions across the country. We are raising funds to make all of this possible by selling merchandise that speaks to the importance of supporting all pregnancy outcomes and experiences.
5.) Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for fellow doulas?
SUPPORT ALL PREGNANCY OUTCOMES AND EXPERIENCES!
Curious about becoming a doula?
We’re currently celebrating World Doula Week at DTI and you can tune into our Instagram stories at @doulatrainingsint to get daily takeovers and interviews from doulas doing the work. You can also learn more about the programs we offer and how to begin training with DTI here.