In Solidarity, Always.

by Michelle

March 14, 2020

While I was getting my master’s in social work, I requested to do my field placement in a reproductive health clinic. I ultimately spent 18 months providing pre-abortion counseling (a state requirement where I live) and procedure counseling.

The latter meant that I was often in the exam room providing support to women during their first- and early second trimester abortion procedures. I held their hands. I coached them through breathing, muscle relaxation, and visualization exercises. I watched and I listened. I gave tissues when tears came and held back their hair if they needed to throw up. When it was over, many patients asked for a hug. I always obliged. Some folks needed a lot of active support, others just needed the quiet presence of another human. In those cases I would hang back, assist the doctor, and witness.

This experience reinforced what I always knew intuitively…that every human with a uterus has a right to bodily integrity. That if we don’t have control over our own reproduction, we effectively lose control of our lives. People are inherently capable of making good choices for themselves, but those choices are meaningless without access. I think back on my time in that clinic as one of the most meaningful points in my career. I am honored to have played a small role in helping each patient maintain dignity at a vulnerable moment in their lives.

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