finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

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OtherAngel
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finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by OtherAngel »

I need help and advice on all of this. I don't know what I think about abortion, but I don't have a problem with it. But we have a family friend who is 23 who started working at a women's surgery center last month, and it was a few weeks ago when she changed her facebook title from RN to full spectrum doula but then changed it back to RN days later. I know of a few people already who have a problem with her, and this talk that my mom and her friend had about her was nothing nice :(
I have known her since I was in kindergarten. I like her, my mom DID like her, my auntie DID like her. I am surprised she is working at an abortion clinic, but I don't hate her for it. I think everybody else hates her for it, thats what I think anyway.
I did text her last night and told her I supported her, but even that felt wrong. Why must I text her and tell her that I SUPPORT HER when I have always loved her to begin with, it doesn't feel right that I have to say something that has always been true to begin with.
I want to ask her how her day was, or how many women she worked with, or what is it like working at a clinic, but that also feels wrong. I have never asked her anything like this before, but nobody has ever judged her either until now.
And part of me is curious about what its like for her. Does she work on the abortion itself? Does she see it? I am curious and I want to know but is this something I should ask and would she even talk about it? I am sure she is happy with what she is doing, but everybody has turned on her!
And what do I say to my mom and auntie? I picture this turning into a heated argument with them, but I really don't know what I am arguing about. Or should I argue?
What is the best way on helping??????????
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi OtherAngel,

I think it was really kind of you to reach out to your friend when you learned what kind of reaction she's getting from other people about her job. Has she responded to you yet? I ask because the person who can tell you what would be most helpful for right now is, well, her.

With your mom and aunt, is there something you're hoping will come from that conversation with them? For instance, are you hoping that talking to them will make them stop being unkind to this friend?

Too, it might help to do some reading on your own about what it's like to work at a reproductive health clinic and what a full spectrum doula does, or what's actually involved in the process of abortion. If that's something you're interested in, we're happy to help you find some accurate resources.
OtherAngel
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by OtherAngel »

She thanked me within minutes of me telling her that I support her, telling me that it meant a lot to her.
But she is my mom's best friend's daughter, and I have been good friends with her and I've always looked up to her. Air Force reservist, UT Dallas graduate, RN at Parkland, but now she does abortions and she gets crap because of it. It's not fair.
I want to tell my mom and my auntie to shutup. They have always loved her, there's nothing different about her, but now they can't accept her. I'm on the brink of calling my mom to quit being so negative.
What I want to do is invite my friend over to my house, which is not uncommon, but I'm hoping that my mom can be nice and relaxed and remember that she was and is a wonderful woman. We have a pool in the backyard, we invite everybody here, it wouldn't be weird to have her over here. But I also don't want to start an argument between her and my mom either.
And I now know that a doula does everything for pregnant women and their baby, but I know so very little about abortion. Do I want to know? Would it be good to know? I'm not completely for it, but I'm not against it. I would never have one myself that's for sure.
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, OtherAngel. I'm someone who knows a lot about abortion, and who has also worked in an abortion clinic. If you'd feel better asking some questions first (or period) of someone who isn't your friend, I'd be happy to answer them.

One thing I will say though, is that plenty of people who have abortions were once people who said they were sure they never would. It's kind of amazing what life will throw at you sometimes, and how circumstances can change how we might think or feel. Sometimes we just can't know what our own right -- or best -- choices are in a given situation until we're actually in that situation, and pregnancy and choices with pregnancy absolutely tend to be one of those things where it's very common for what people think they might do or feel in the abstract to be very different from the reality. That's not to say that maybe your reality will be and remain as you think. It might! But it also could change, too. You just honestly never really know.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
OtherAngel
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by OtherAngel »

Hi Heather.
Please don't take this wrong but my confusion about all of this is why she is working there? She loves babies! She loves everything about babies. Even my mom made a comment on how could she love babies and yet be okay with killing them. I sort of agree with my mom on that, but I still like her and that's not going to change. And I really don't like how she's being treated, I don't care what she does.
So let me ask you, why did you work at an abortion clinic? That's what I want to ask her, so I'm going to ask you first. Why do it? Why create enemies?
And what is it that you see when an abortion happens? Why is this okay for you?
I'm asking because I want to know. That's what I want to know at least. I'm not mad at her, and I still love her, but I'm really confused on why she is doing what she is doing.
And my mom and my auntie need to be okay with all of this. It's not doing me any good getting stuck in the middle.
And I still plan on inviting her over at my house so that we can go swimming. I'm not changing my mind.
And I'm not trying to be negative with what I said, I'm just trying to understand.
Heather
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by Heather »

I can't tell you why she's working there: only she could tell you that. We all don't have the same reasons for wanting to work in abortion. But some common reasons include things like:
• wanting to support pregnant people
• caring deeply about reproductive choice and justice
• caring deeply about babies and children and doing what a person can to assure that the babies and children brought into the world are the ones people want and that can be practically and emotionally supported and cared for
• wanting to work in as many aspects of reproductive/sexual health as we can
• wanting to support people who often need support most
• wanting to help provide a healthcare service a majority of people will want or need in their lifetime
• wanting to use skills we may have of deep empathy, sensitivity and care

Those were all absolutely some of my own reasons, as well as the fact that abortion was something that made a big difference in my life. It also was something people in my own family lacked access to and were harmed by lack of access to.

When you ask what you see with an abortion procedure, what are you asking about: are you asking about the whole of someone's experience, or are you asking about the physical products of conception?

"Killing babies" isn't something that anyone is doing with an abortion because no one having an abortion has a baby. " Baby" is a term like "infant" that's about a being that's been delivered and is able to be alive separate from the body it is existing within. What we have when abortion is the case is an embryo or fetus, depending on where we are in terms of weeks of a pregnancy. It should be pretty obvious particularly in the case of someone like your friend who is a doula that delivers babies and, like you say, loves them, that obviously she isn't killing them or of course this wouldn't be something she could do. I've been taking care of kids my whole life: I don't even eat meat. It's certainly not something I could do, either.

I understand from how you're talking that to you the difference isn't obvious, but I assure you, that when you are actually educated about and experience the clinical procedure itself without projecting anything unto it, it's very clear what is happening and that it not about baby killing. In fact, in quite a lot of cases, some life-saving is going on, sometimes quite literally saving the physical life of the person who was pregnant, sometimes saving their quality of life, and sometimes sparing what would have eventually turned into a baby from a likely or even surely terrible life.

I do want to ask you not to please use that language again as we continue this conversation. This is a diverse community, and it includes people who have themselves had abortions, people with a range of feelings about them. Sometimes abortions are things that people choose when they'd rather not, when all their choices are bad, but when it's the least bad choice, but they still feel a lot of pain around having to make that choice, even though it was the best of all their options. Using that kind of rhetoric causes a lot of people a lot of pain, some people quite terrible pain. We ask all our users to be caring, compassionate and kind to each other here, and that language just isn't that. If you still think that way about it, you obviously get to, but I need to ask you to remember that you're in a public space and to speak about this in a way that keeps that in mind. Thanks. <3
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
OtherAngel
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by OtherAngel »

Sorry about the ugly language I used. I am pro-choice, but at the same time I would never choose abortion but like you said maybe later on in life I would change my mind. It's hard to imagine I would, but I'm not going to deny that you are correct.
I'm just confused on why my friend who delivers babies now works at an abortion clinic. And she still delivers babies, she just works part-time at the other place. I got nothing against her, I do support her, I'm just surprised.
And she told the world on Facebook that she is a full spectrum doula, but I'm guessing the hate she received in return just made her change it back. I think she even told people but she was working at the woman's Center, but I never did see that. I'm sure she is proud of what she is doing, but the hate that she got probably destroyed her.
And your common reasons are all very good reasons. Can't argue with any of that. Reason number three was something I never even thought of, and I think most people haven't either.
I want to talk to her and understand and show my support, that's what I want to do. And I want my mom and my auntie to like her again, that would be nice as well. And the next time my mom uses any of that ugly language I will definitely speak up, I was sort of speechless when she said it. This has all happened really fast and I'm trying to learn everything just as fast.
Please understand that I am on my friend side, and I am not on my mom's side. I'm not against abortion, but it's something I never really thought of either. What I want is for everybody to be happy, that's it, but I want to do it where I don't have anybody saying crap about me as well.
My big question is yes, what do you see with the products of conception? I know a suction hose is used, but do you see the products itself? That's my big question. I've never thought about it before, but now that I have a friend who does it I'm just curious on what it is that she looks at. And she must be comfortable with it I'm sure, but that is the one thing I want to know.
Thank you for the answers and being honest with me. I'm not here to cause a problem, mostly I created this post because I'm confused and curious.
Heather
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by Heather »

It's okay to be curious, and it's good to ask for facts about something like this where there's so much misrepresentation. I'm glad you're asking! And I've figured you're here in good faith, no worries. Thanks for making the adjustments with your language, too, I appreciate it.

You know, reason number three in that list is why until pretty recently (less than a couple centuries ago) the Catholic Church wasn't actually anti-abortion, something a lot of people didn't know. Because so many children were (as so many still do) suffering so much due to poverty, while they were not what I'd call pro-choice, they were absolutely not-anti, and were clear that there were absolutely times that abortion was the kinder choice to make for a whole family -- after all, one or more new children means less to eat for the existing children -- and for that potential child who would otherwise suffer.

I think that this is a lot less confusing when you realize that someone who is a doula is someone who care a LOT about *both* children and the people bearing children, and that's most often *exactly* the kind of person who also does abortion work, because those are the people most harmed when abortion isn't available, and when good abortion care isn't given. Much like I mentioned above, for example, I can't tell you how often the profile of someone having an abortion is someone who already has children, and who knows they can't afford another (be that economically, energetically, emotionally, etc), or who is in an unsafe or otherwise bad relationship or situation and where the children they have already make it hard enough to get out, and they know one more may make it impossible to get themselves and their existing kids out. Access to abortion is something that in so many ways is such an important thing for families, and doulas tend to be very family-focused. But again, your friend is the best person to talk about why working in abortion is meaningful to her.

By the by, she may not always be 100% comfortable with the work. Sometimes it's uncomfortable work, whether that's about people's situations (a lot of them can be really sad, including people who want to be parents, but where something just is or went very wrong, or people who have been assaulted or otherwise abused, or who are very traumatized by pregnancy, or who are not being supported in their choice by anyone in their lives), or something about the actual procedure. But sometimes we do things or help people do things we're not 100% comfortable with for greater goods, you know?

(Just a content note for folks reading who are squeamish about blood talk or medical or abortion description, I'm about to be explicit.)

Per what you see, it depends. Sometimes you don't see anything at all, because some styles of aspirators -- that's the machine the hose pulls those products into -- are opaque, so there's nothing to see. When you can see things, in most procedures, you're just looking at what looks like blood, or a clumpy looking period, or blood with mucus-looking stuff. Only in rarer procedures that are second-term and up (which are usually either because it took someone a long time to save up for or otherwise access one, or because something happened during the course of a wanted pregnancy, like developing a serious illness, or the pregnancy becoming unviable to even bring to term, or circumstances otherwise radically changing) then you can sometimes see some more solid matter, and the times I observed those, my impression of what I saw that wasn't, again, more blood and mucus-y bits, was that it looked kind of newt-ish to me. If and when you're looking at pictures of things that look more like actual babies, like you'll often see from anti-choice folks, what they are usually using are photos either from late-term miscarriages or from stillbirths.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
OtherAngel
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by OtherAngel »

Thanks for the education and the honesty. I know of a few people who are pro-life, my auntie being one of them, and I am sure if they asked me what I believed I probably would say pro-life just so that I could stay out of the conversation.
And I have seen the protesters, sometimes a group of 3 and sometimes a group of 100 from a church. Children included. I was never comfortable with any of that, and if I had the guts I would probably tell them to get lost.
I'm not sure what I pictured when it comes to abortion, but I know it was a million times worse than how you're saying it. What I was picturing was something that I'm not going to mention on here, but it wasn't pretty.
I plan on talking with her this weekend about all of this. I want to know her point of view, but I also want to understand more. She is pretty open about everything, I think it's going to be an easy conversation.

My only other questions, because now I'm really curious, is how long does an abortion usually take? And how long does it take to open the cervix? And how does the umbilical cord get cut?

Thanks again. I'm really surprised I'm even talking about this, but I'm learning a lot. Maybe you should be talking to the protesters? I think you would be good at it.
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi OtherAngel,

I'm glad you feel like you're learning things! Heather is not here today, so I'll do my best to answer those more technical questions you asked.

In terms of how long things take, it depends on the specific procedure. Manual or Vacuum Aspiration takes about five minutes. Dilation and evacuation (D&E) takes around ten to fifteen minutes for the procedure itself, but dilating the cervix can add one to two days to the overall process.
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, OtherAngel. I see Sam took care of the questions you had.

Per the protestors, in my experience, they are not interested in talking, just in creating disruptions and causing upset. Even when some of those folks or their relatives or friends wind up in the clinic themselves for abortions (a thing that happens more often than most folks realize), they usually hold unto their hypocrisy, and aren't interested in the facts. And will more times than not go right back to protesting without telling anyone they themselves or their families had abortions.

Too, when I have seen how they make people coming into the clinic feel, I can't imagine being able to keep my cool to even try, nor can I imagine trying to care about them, to be honest. In those situations, the only people I have cared about are the people coming for abortion care and getting them safe and into a supportive environment away from those folks. :(
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
OtherAngel
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by OtherAngel »

Thank you for answering all my questions.
I was with my friend over the weekend, and I'm not going to mention her name even though I'm getting really tired of saying she and her all the time, but I have extremely mad respect for her now! She is only working at the abortion clinic 20 hours a week, and she doesn't do the abortions, but she is in the room providing comfort to the women who have the abortion. But she told me everything on how it works and what goes on and she answered every question that I had. She also had a lot of good things to say for the people that work there.
I did ask if she sees any of the pregnancy tissue but like you said it's all hidden and she doesn't deal with that part of the abortion anyway. And the idea of seeing the contents just bugged me, I don't know why, but I'm okay with it now.
All I want to do right now is get everybody else to like her again. I'm not going to let anybody say anything negative about her ever again, but that's the best I can do.
Heather
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Re: finding out my friend works at an abortion clinic

Unread post by Heather »

I'm so glad you had a good conversation with her, and also so glad she has your support. That is such a big deal as an abortion worker, especially if other family and friends aren't being supportive. I understand and appreciate what you'd ideally want from others, but alas, that's outside your control (though you certainly have the option of speaking up if they speak poorly of her, other workers, or people who have abortions if you want). However, being the supportive friend like you are is within your control, and that really goes a long way. <3
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
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