It’s New Year’s Eve. Time for resolutions, if you’re into that kind of thing. Last year, Servalbear did a wonderful post on her resolutions for the New Year. You can read them here.
Those are not the kind of resolutions I’m making. On the sidewalk, I’ll keep working on living up to the Points of Unity ~ that’s a worthy goal. But I’m doing the best I know how to do out there already. Not perfect, there’s always room for improvement, but generally good enough.
This year, I’m making resolutions about reproductive justice off the sidewalk.
1. I will work on ways to get a buffer zone/ bubble law passed. I know, I talked about this before and some people were ready to help, and then we let it fizzle. But I think we’re ready to take a real run at it now.
2. I will work on ensuring that people have access to non-judgemental therapeutic support post abortion.
I made that second resolution several days ago, and am just beginning to plan how to do it. So I was amazed on Saturday when a protester suggested I do exactly that.
It was the same man who wouldn’t quit talking to me last week ~ I think I called him Paul. He’s still talking at me, of course. This time, we are walking back away from the clinic.
I had told a client the same thing I often say: “When you come out, most of these people will be gone.” That infuriates the protesters ~ I don’t really know why. They’ll say, “You all will be gone too!!! You won’t be out here when they leave either!!” I guess they think we’re criticizing them for not staying to harass the clients after the abortion? I don’t know.
In any case, I always think, “Well, yes, we will be gone. Of course. We don’t need to be here if youall are gone.”
But this time, Paul added, “You’re laughing now, you’re out here laughing now, how come you won’t be out here to support them when they come out?”
And I thought, well, maybe he’s right, maybe I need to be.
Not literally, of course. But people do sometimes have feelings they need to explore and deal with. Typically, if someone asks about that, we refer them to Exhale, the After-abortion Talkline. Exhale offers support from a “pro-voice” perspective, meaning that they encourage each person to share their story, express their own feelings, thoughts and beliefs. It sounds like they do a wonderful job.
But some people may need more than that.
When I googled post abortion counseling in Louisville, most of the resources I found offer to help people “find forgiveness, peace and healing.” or “healing, joy, and forgiveness.” Some use a Christian therapy model to help deal with “guilt, grief, and shame.” They sound like anti-choice folks who start with the premise that abortion is wrong, and who may believe that having any feelings afterwards means they can convince you to seek forgiveness. In fact, they refer to the people seeking support as “Victims of Choice.” Those are not the models I’d want to refer someone to.
But I found a website for a book called Peace After Abortion. Written by Ava Torre-Bueno, who has counseled women for 25 years at Planned Parenthood and in her private practice, she describes the approach I would want to see offered. She says:
I believe passionately that I can be supportive of every woman’s right to make her own pregnancy decisions, and still recognize the fact that her decision may cause her significant suffering.
She goes on to talk about some factors that impact this process, and tells a couple of stories about women who sought therapy. I encourage you to visit her website and see the work she’s doing.
There may be therapists in private practice here who are already doing this work. If you’re one of them, or know someone who is, it would be great for us to connect so we could start building a private directory of resources. In any case, my resolution is to make sure there’s appropriate therapy available that is affordable for anyone who needs it. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
And I challenge you to make a resolution to do something this year to support reproductive justice. Here are some of the ways you can get involved if you’re in the Louisville area. Of course, political action is recommended. And I’m sure there are lots of other ways. Feel free to leave a comment sharing the things you do and let people know about other opportunities. Finally ~
Servalbear and I both wish you all a Happy New Year!!
REMINDER: Share your story.
January 22, 2013 is the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade. Forty years of legal, safe abortions. This invitation comes from our allies at Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice:
“KRCRC (is making plans for a January 20 event in Louisville, “The Roe Monologues,” to mark those 40 years (four decades, two generations!) since the Roe v Wade ruling, and we need your help.
We’re looking for your story. But also for your mother’s, your daughter’s, your sister’s, aunt’s, girlfriend’s, roommate’s, friend’s story. Fairly brief; 2 to 5 minutes, and starting with the year. (e.g. “It was 1983, and I was trying to finish up my nursing degree, when I found out I was pregnant.” “In 2008, my wife and I had been trying for several years to have a baby. Now she had finally gotten pregnant, but when we got the results of the amnio, …” “1957. I was living in Missouri, and abortion was illegal. When my roommate learned she was pregnant, …” etc)
On Jan. 20 at our event, we will love it if you will present it yourself. But if it’s bad timing, bad location, or you’d just rather not get up to present it yourself, we will be happy to have someone read it for you. Also, you can use your own name or a made-up name, your choice.
We need these stories! – and people need to hear them. Will you help us? Will you spread the word that we’re looking for these stories?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you’d like to participate, either in person or by providing a story for someone else to read.”
By stepping out and talking about our experience we reduce the stigma and shame that surrounds abortion. By sharing our stories, we support each other and continue building a world where reproductive justice is a reality.