People having abortions deserve support. Our goal is to provide professional abortion doula support to every person having an abortion in Alabama.

 

The Alabama Abortion Doula Initiative is the founding project of our organization. We believe this work has the capacity to shift stigma around abortion, as many people come in for their procedures full of fear, shame, and guilt over their decision. Having the support of a compassionate, unbiased support person makes a huge difference.
 

The impact of abortion doula support for pregnant people cannot be overstated. Doulas are able to focus solely on the mental and emotional wellbeing of the person having an abortion. They can provide a calming presence, physical touch as reassurance (if desired), help with coping techniques for discomfort, and are a listening ear for people to express whatever they are feeling before, during, and after their abortion procedure. 

There are a myriad of barriers to accessing safe reproductive care in the state of Alabama. Abortion access is extremely limited, with only three clinics in the state. The social climate is hostile towards people seeking abortions, with patients often facing verbal harassment and threats as they enter and exit clinics. Patients face an overall social stigma towards abortion and may have no support for their decision.

Abortion is often a multifaceted experience for people, full of a myriad of emotions and physical sensations. Having a doula there to act as a guide through the experience can buffer from cultural stigma and shame, helping to support the process of emotionally integrating the physical and psychological shift from being pregnant to being not-pregnant.

Nationally most (if not all) in-clinic abortion doula support is volunteer which, presents many challenges such as quality of care, reliability of work force, and scalability. It also causes a discordance between the people who are able to provide doula services and the people who are receiving doula care since it prevents those who are not financially able to donate unpaid time from participation. This disproportionately affects people of color, parents, and low-income persons. Additionally, it perpetuates the trend of devaluing what has traditionally been considered "female" labor. 

ACC will be creating best practices, implementing countermeasures and collecting quality metric data so that the impact of sustainable paid doula support during abortion procedures can be fully understood and implemented at other locations 

Where We Serve
Our abortion doulas provide in person support at Alabama Women’s Center, the only abortion clinic in north Alabama. We are expanding to offer abortion doula support in another Alabama abortion clinic beginning in 2021.
Who We Serve
A key part of our work is centered around providing culturally competent and concordant abortion doula care, so it is vital to understand the demographics of people in Alabama who are having abortions. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health:
60.4% of abortion patients are Black
87.1% are unmarried
63.3% have children
47.3% have a high school education or less
Every year, we provide abortion doula support to 600-800 people having surgical abortions. These surgical procedures that we support range from 5 weeks gestation through 21 weeks and 6 days gestation.
Patient Experience Testimonials
Through anonymous patient surveys, we have collected feedback from people supported by our abortion doulas at Alabama Women's Center. These words are direct from abortion patients regarding their experience receiving doula care during their surgical procedure.
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"The doula support made me feel a lot better and safe. It made my experience a lot more calming and gave me the support I needed."