Robbie Davis-Floyd on Abortion Doulas

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.

5 responses to “Robbie Davis-Floyd on Abortion Doulas

  1. Maruev Finnegan

    What are/is doula? Please direct me to the resource.

  2. Maruev Finnegan

    Never mind. I find it hard to believe that you have a word for this function, and good, but do we have to label everything?

  3. man, it would be amazing if midwives were skilled in providing abortions…talk about well woman care! the idea that women could have another safe choice rather than planned parenthood (nothing against this org mind you), but it would be incredible. and likely, totally illegal. but incredible!

    • There are states where nurse midwives are allowed to provide abortions and it is totally legal. Mind you, there are many states where it is illegal. In some Planned Parenthoods there are midwives who are providing abortion or peri-abortion care as well as out in the field. There are people trying hard to increase a midwives’ scope of practice to include abortion care. Just FYI.

  4. I don’t know if I could possibly minimize that anguish, and don’t know if I would want to participate-I would be a part of that memory forever. I don’t know how that would process for the mother later on….and on and on and on.

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