Doulas can play important roles in helping women through pregnancy, delivery and the first moments of their child’s life outside the womb. They support and encourage women during one of the most momentous occasions of their lives.
But now some abortion activists are claiming the role of doula to support women who abort their unborn babies.
Renee Bracey Sherman, an abortion doula and activist on the East Coast, recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about why she thinks it’s so important to support women when they get abortions.
Sherman wrote about her own abortion at age 19 and a nurse who supported her through it. As an abortion doula, she said she wants to show the same kindness that she experienced to other women as they abort their unborn babies.
She related the story of one of her clients:
Her body was covered with tattoos of birds and stars. She hugged me with a warm smile and introduced me to her boyfriend. He didn’t look at me. In fact, he didn’t look me in the eye for the five hours we sat together in the waiting room.
I assumed it was out of shame until I noticed the white supremacist tattoos on his shaved head, neck, forearms and knuckles. As a black woman, I was scared of him. Yet I felt a bond. They had driven several hours from Virginia to avoid the numerous restrictions on abortions there. He was returning from jail. She already had a child and wasn’t ready for another. I knew the feeling well.
She asked for an abortion doula because she wanted unconditional support, no matter what she decided. She wanted me, a total stranger, to reinforce her trust in herself. After she went to the procedure room, her boyfriend and I went outside, me to make a call, him to smoke. In the elevator down, he finally spoke: “Thank you.”
Sherman’s point was that women deserve support, not judgment or condemnation, as they make pregnancy and parenting decisions. But she and her fellow abortion activists do not extend any compassion or support to the unborn child who is killed when their mother chooses an abortion.
By the time an unborn baby is aborted, he or she most likely already has a heartbeat and their fingers and toes probably are formed. An unborn baby is a living, unique human being from the moment of conception, and they deserve the same compassion and support as their mothers and fathers. They are no less valuable just because they have not been born yet.
But abortion activists like Sherman encourage women to throw their unborn babies’ lives away, claiming that abortion is a quick and relatively painless solution without future repercussions. In her column, Sherman claimed that virtually no women regret their abortions or suffer from mental health problems as a result of it.
This, too, is false. Numerous studies and personal accounts indicate that abortions also hurt women. Many women suffer profound regret when the realize the truth that their abortion killed their unborn child. Some struggle with substance abuse, others depression and anxiety or even suicidal thoughts.
A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, for example, found an 81 percent increased risk of mental health problems among women who had abortions, compared to women who give birth. A 2009 study by New Zealand researchers at the University of Otago found similar results. They reviewed the medical histories of more than 500 women and concluded that having an abortion generally “leads to significant distress” in some women.
Abortions destroy unborn babies’ lives and hurt countless women’s. Despite what Sherman claims, abortion is one of the worst ways to “support” women. Women, their babies and the babies’ fathers deserve the best from society. They deserve to know that they are valuable and their best interests will be protected and supported, and their lives won’t be sacrificed for the convenience of others.