Abortion Doula | Aims, Tasks, and Professional Risks

Published: Apr 20, 2024 | Revised: Jun 15, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Doula giving support to young woman

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An Abortion Doula provides informational, practical, physical, mental, emotional, gender-affirming, and trauma-informed support to women (or to those who own a uterus) during their abortion process, which extends to the period before, during, and after an abortion.

Depending on the case and situation of the person involved, the work may also include financial help for which the Doula aims at obtaining the necessary resources.

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Usually, Abortion Doulas are allowed to remain with the person who goes through the actual procedure. It’s important to note here that an abortion may be a procedure to end a pregnancy (either through pills or surgically), but it may also be necessary after an incomplete miscarriage.

Mind that the support provided is an additional level of care outside of the technical and surgical medical care that surrounds the concrete abortion. It specifically asks for a non-judgmental, sensitive, and open-minded approach of the Doula involved.

The support that the Abortion Doula offers may also include the family and/or friends of the patient involved and the patient’s community, if applicable.

The tasks may involve answering questions about the abortion process, addressing misinformation about abortion, logistical support, information about behavioral health, patient advocacy, helping the patient and their families to arrange childcare, plan meals, and offering the person involved comfort, calming touch, massage, breathing exercises, guided meditation, and visual relaxation to help diminish pains, stress, anxiety, and/or discomfort.

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An important issue abortion doulas need to deal with is that of harassment online and in person, and threats from anti-abortion people. Hence, there are real safety and practical issues and risks a Doula needs to be aware of and take into account before starting with Abortion Doula work.

Abortion Doulas should also assess whether they can actually do their work legally because some states, provinces, regions, or countries may target anyone who helps terminate a pregnancy.

As for training, there are some organizations that offer Abortion Doula training, but in general the field isn’t licensed or regulated. Some Doulas are volunteers who work with certain clinics or hospitals, and others may be independent professionals who offer paid services.

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