Category Archives: Abortion

What’s an Abortion Buddy?

What’s an Abortion Buddy?  It’s a friend or acquaintance who you can ALWAYS talk about abortion with. Someone who doesn’t get all jumpity when the subject comes up–and who actually, instead, is excited to dialogue.  Someone on the same page.  Someone who loves the-A-word, too.

I live in a conservative, dusty, desert town, and I don’t often get to have (real live) conversations with folks who’ve made a commitment to working toward abortion access in their daily lives.  So my Abortion Buddies are really effing important to me. Having reproductive justice allies in my life–whether in person or online–makes my work more effective, and my world better.

You know who you are.  And thanks.



Spectrum Doula Collective in Piedmont Triangle, NC is Recruiting Volunteer Abortion Doulas

Are you a North Carolinian who supports every woman’s right to reproductive freedom?  Consider joining forces with Spectrum Doula Collective.  These great folks provide compassionate doula care to any person experiencing any pregnancy outcome.  And they’re recruiting new volunteers!

We have come to a point where our collective needs to expand. We are looking for new people to join us in supporting the pregnant people of the Piedmont. With all of the abortion bills being passed in the last few weeks, now more than ever we need to focus on providing the compassionate care people deserve. If you’re looking for a meaningful way to be involved please fill out the following questionnaire and email us with your responses and we will be in touch with you.

We are currently working on a curriculum and will be offering a training for new volunteers sometime in October. Because of this we ask that new volunteers have their applications in by September 16th to allow time for last minute interviews before training. No prior experience in pregnancy/health care is necessary, but a commitment to reproductive justice is.

You can find more info about them and the volunteer application here.

New Directory of Full Spectrum Doula Groups

As the full spectrum doula movement continues to grow and evolve, more and more groups are sprouting up across the U.S.  I’ve added a new page to the CUNTastic Blog, which lists a description and contact information for all of the groups I’m aware of.

At the bottom of the page, there is also a list of groups that are currently forming.  Please feel free to contact them and get involved!

If you know of any other programs that offer doula support for the full spectrum of pregnancy options, let me know at

Two Years After the Murder of Dr. George Tiller, Doulas are Standing Up for Abortion

As I reflect on the fact that today marks two years since the murder of Dr. George Tiller, I’m proud of what we’ve done in that time.  In the two years since women lost access to the abortion care Tiller provided, we’ve gained something else entirely–something that I think Dr. Tiller would be proud of, too.

What we’ve gained is the role of the abortion doula, and the immense momentum surrounding this movement.

There have always been pro-choice doulas.  And there have always been pregnant women in need of compassionate support for their abortions.  Now, finally, there are abortion doulas, who extend their compassion and skills into the abortion experience.

As a doula, I’m committed to women’s choices in pregnancy–where and how they give birth, who attends their birth, AND whether or not they give birth at all.  Dr. George Tiller was a physician who acknowledged these inextricable links between birth and abortion.  He understood the importance of access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, and was one of the few brave folks in this country willing to risk his life to provide these critical services.

So today, while I’ve watched hundreds of pro-choice doula friends Tweeting and Facebooking in memory of Dr. Tiller, I’ve been reminded that his work has continued on, just in a different form.  Thank you to Dr. Tiller, and to every abortion doula and full spectrum doula, and to every other abortion service provider, for being so brave.

Robbie Davis-Floyd on Abortion Doulas

My recent interview with reproductive anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd appears in the current issue of SQUAT Birth Journal, and in it Robbie addresses the intersections of abortion, midwifery and doula work.

For pro-choice doulas and doulas doing abortion support work, hearing these words of encouragement from such a prominent figure in the birth world is validating in a way that is so needed.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

One of the features of the radical midwifery and doula movements is a tendency toward supporting the full spectrum of women’s choices in pregnancy, including abortion.  Do you think there’s a possibility that midwifery care will ever be able to encompass this full spectrum of choice?

The full spectrum of choice that I believe midwives should support ranges from home birth, to birth centers, to humanistic/holistic hospital birth, even to assisting at cesareans to provide continuity of care for the mother. And I believe that abortion is a woman’s right. It would probably be better for women if midwives were their abortion providers, but I have no information about whether or not midwives are willing to take on that task.

What are your thoughts on the growing segment of the doula community that is applying the doula model of care to the abortion experience?  Do you think the skill set of the doula can naturally transfer over to the abortion context in a useful way?

I think it’s marvelous! Every woman should have a doula at her birth, and at her abortion if that’s what she chooses. Abortions can be very traumatic for women—they would benefit tremendously by having a supportive doula at their sides.  They need both physical support—touch, caring, massage—and emotional support, which doulas are well-trained to provide.

Rolling Our Eyes Won’t Cut it this Time. Stand with Planned Parenthood.

I’m embarrassed.  By my country, my government, my fellow human folks.  I’ve sat here quietly while all this de-fund-Planned-Parenthood nonsense has gone on, hoping it was just one more instance of those crazy right-wingers unsuccessfully trying to make the world a worse place, and instead successfully just making themselves look ridiculous–again.

But that’s not what’s going on.  This is serious business.  When the House voted last week to revoke all federal funding of Planned Parenthood, they placed the health care and reproductive choices of millions of women in peril. 

AND THESE ARE NOT JUST WOMEN LOOKING FOR ABORTIONS.  They are grandmothers looking for breast cancer screenings; trans folks looking for respectful pap smears; teen girls looking for ways to not get pregnant; expectant couples suffering stillbirth and miscarriage.  They are you, your mom, your sister, your cousin.

It’s time to not be quiet anymore.  Rolling our eyes at the anti-choicers won’t cut it this time.  Sign the I Stand for Planned Parenthood Petition and tell the Congress not to destroy 3 million women’s access to quality, affordable health care.

Call for Research Participants: Full Spectrum & Radical Doulas

Below is my call for participants for an ethnographic research project on full spectrum doulas and radical doulas.  For more info or to participate, contact or (970) 210-7156.  Please distribute!


Dear Doulas,

My name is Laurel Ripple Carpenter, and I am conducting research on doulas who are expanding their identity and practice to encompass pregnancy outcomes other than birth, including abortion, stillbirth, miscarriage, and adoption. 

I am looking to interview people involved in this movement, often called ‘full spectrum doulas’ or ‘radical doulas.’  Participants should be doulas who are either currently practicing, have practiced in the past, or are in training, and who identify as radical, pro-choice, or as a part of the full spectrum doula community.  Certification status, geographical location and other characteristics are not of particular concern.

I am asking participants to join me for a one hour interview via Skype video chat.  The interview will be recorded and used as data for a short ethnography in Spring 2011, and then expanded into a thesis length ethnography in 2012-2013.  The work may be published in various forms in the future.  If material from your interview is used in the ethnography, you will be given a pseudonym.

This research is part of my work for a degree in the Anthropology of Reproduction at Burlington College, in consortium with faculty at Mesa State College.  You can learn more about me here, and contact me directly at or (970) 210-7156 to participate.

I look forward to meeting you!

Laurel Ripple Carpenter, CD(DONA), PES