The Knoxville Abortion Doula Collective formed in the summer of 2016 to address the logistical, practical, and emotional support needs of abortion patients in the ways that local clinics are not able to do. Although abortion is one of the safest and most common procedures in the United States, abortion stigma in our society and restrictive abortion laws mean patients may face huge emotional and practical burdens to access their healthcare. According to the Sea Change Program, “People seeking abortions are bullied, shamed, marginalized, and sometimes even prevented by law or intimidation from seeking safe health care services. Stigma leads to the social, medical, and legal marginalization of abortion care around the world and is a barrier to access to high quality, safe abortion care.”
We officially launched our support line in April 2017. The support line is open to people who:
- need to talk through their decision making process, concerns, or questions
- need assistance finding funding, childcare, lodging, or transportation for their abortion
- just want to talk to someone openly and without judgment about their abortion
- want advice on how to support a loved one before or after an abortion
- want hands-on emotional support (like having a chat over a cup of coffee, or a trusted support person to accompany them to a clinic) before, during, and after an abortion appointment
What is an abortion doula? Different organizations define “abortion doula” in different ways. The doulas of the Knoxville Abortion Doula Collective are non-medical support people trained in offering short-term emotional support practices, information about abortion procedures, and local resources. In assisting people who are seeking an abortion and people who have had an abortion, our doulas fill the roles of counselors, social workers, and sometimes travel agents. In some cases, a doula can accompany you to the abortion provider to provide personal support.
What is a “support line” and how does it work? A support line is a phone number you call for a confidential and judgment-free conversation. You call us at 865-320-9085. You will always reach a voicemail. Leave a call-back number, information about what your needs are, and (if your number is a shared line) the best time to call you back. A doula will return your call within 24 hours. Our doulas will never violate your confidentiality. If you are concerned about your privacy, please let us know.
Where can I share my abortion story? The Tennessee Stories Project is a website of Tennesseans’ abortion stories. Too frequently, the people talking about abortion are people who have never had an abortion. Too frequently, our narratives are taken from us and we’re told how we should feel about abortion. Too frequently, we feel like we have to keep our abortions a secret. The Tennessee Stories Project aims to change that. If you would like to share your abortion story by writing it up or sitting down with an interviewer, email email@example.com. Your abortion story can be whatever you want it to be (2 sentences, 20 pages, a poem, a video, anything!).