My recent interview with reproductive anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd appears in the current issue of SQUAT Birth Journal, and in it Robbie addresses the intersections of abortion, midwifery and doula work.
For pro-choice doulas and doulas doing abortion support work, hearing these words of encouragement from such a prominent figure in the birth world is validating in a way that is so needed.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
One of the features of the radical midwifery and doula movements is a tendency toward supporting the full spectrum of women’s choices in pregnancy, including abortion. Do you think there’s a possibility that midwifery care will ever be able to encompass this full spectrum of choice?
The full spectrum of choice that I believe midwives should support ranges from home birth, to birth centers, to humanistic/holistic hospital birth, even to assisting at cesareans to provide continuity of care for the mother. And I believe that abortion is a woman’s right. It would probably be better for women if midwives were their abortion providers, but I have no information about whether or not midwives are willing to take on that task.
What are your thoughts on the growing segment of the doula community that is applying the doula model of care to the abortion experience? Do you think the skill set of the doula can naturally transfer over to the abortion context in a useful way?
I think it’s marvelous! Every woman should have a doula at her birth, and at her abortion if that’s what she chooses. Abortions can be very traumatic for women—they would benefit tremendously by having a supportive doula at their sides. They need both physical support—touch, caring, massage—and emotional support, which doulas are well-trained to provide.