Friday, April 30, 2010

The Rise of the Abortion Doula

Slate Magazine: What's an Abortion Doula?, by Marisa Meltzer:

They're strangers who will hold your hand while you go under the knife.

A recent Bust magazine article on the pregnancy assistants known as doulas contained this description of their duties: "Sometimes the doula will hold a woman's hand or rub her scalp to calm her; other times, she may crack corny jokes or trade dating stories." Except the article wasn't about a doula entertaining a woman in labor—it was about a doula helping a woman during her abortion.

Assisting a woman during her vacuum aspiration was not always part of a doula's job description. Most doulas serve pregnant women in the last few months before and during her delivery. (Doula comes from a Greek term meaning "woman of service" or "caregiver." Some translations say it comes from "female slave.") They've become more popular in the United States over the last few decades as interest in individualized birth plans has increased. They're not the same as midwives, who have medical training, or social workers, who have advanced degrees. Doulas are meant to be a reassuring presence during labor—an ally whose sole interest is in the happiness of the mom-to-be. They have evolved as jack-of-all trades, on call for hand-holding, massage, acupressure, breathing techniques, or pain management. Some postpartum doulas will even do housework and run errands. They can cost anywhere from $300 to a few thousand dollars. . . .

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/reproductive_rights/2010/04/the-rise-of-the-abortion-doula.html

Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink

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