Traditionally, a doula is a female birth attendant, who provides non-medical support to a woman during and after labour. Now, Queensland abortion business, Children by Choice, is launching an abortion doula training program, modelled on similar services offered in the US.
The service is aimed at Queensland's country areas, but Children by Choice hope eventually to cater for other parts of Australia. Daile Keleher, manager of Children by Choice, describes the service as providing "physical, emotional and informational support to people experiencing an unplanned pregnancy who need to access a termination". In other words, an abortion doula accompanies a woman as her child is being killed by abortion. The doulas will work in conjunction with abortion counsellors to guide women through the abortion process and presumedly, away from life-giving options.
Children by Choice launched their project in September 2018, after the passing of the Termination of Pregnancy Act, which decriminalised abortion to full term in that state. The abortion doula service is part of their Regional, Rural and Remote Abortion Access Project, an ambitious programme funded by the legacy of a prominent philanthropist couple, Lionel & Yvonne Spencer. Ironically, the Spencers were also responsible for granting one of the largest ever bequests to the Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital Foundation.
Abortion doulas in the US
Abortion doulas have been around for some time in the US, where various organisations provide training for both abortion and birth doulas. 'Full Spectrum' services are becoming more common, as the philosphy of 'choice' breaks down traditional demarcation lines between pregnancies ending in birth and those ending in intentional death for the baby. As one abortion doula claims, 'Abortion and birth are inextricably linked—two stops on the same spectrum.'
The Doula Project provides internships for this kind of full spectrum service, working with several Planned Parenthood abortionists and hospitals in the New York city area. As stated on their website, trainee abortion doulas are expected to be able to cope with medical procedures - as would a birth doula - but also second trimester abortion procedures. The website states, "... remember, they’re much different than first trimester procedures!"
The Doula Project also works with Spence-Chapin, a 'pro-choice adoption agency'. The agency provides services for pregnant women, ranging from pregnancy support to referrals for abortion as well as various adoption models. A quick glance at the photographs of waiting families reveals a statistically-high number of same-sex couples and single women.
Abortion doula, Bonnie McIntosh, of the Colorado Doula Project, reveals some telling fears confided to her by women about to undergo an abortion. Women have asked,
"Am I ever going to be able to get pregnant again if I want? Is my God going to forgive me? Am I a bad person?"
'Even pro-life Republicans have abortions'
Abortion doula, Vicki Bloom, claims to have supported more than 2000 women through their abortions. She states that many women want to talk about their born children, while they are having their pre-born child killed:
"Making sure they can take the best care of the kids they have factors into a lot of people's choice to have an abortion, so their kids may be on their mind. I also feel like some people may want to talk about how they take care of their kids to get reassurance that they are a good parent and a good person."
Surprisingly, Bloom has even supported pro-life Republican women through their abortions, noting that 'people's politics don't always match up with their personal lives.'