In our Nov 15 webinar, Support After Abortion CEO Lisa Rowe, LCSW, introduced the topic of the intersection of abortion and addiction. And Special Projects Manager, Karin Barbito, shared her personal experience with abortion and addiction.

Karin talked about how addiction played a role as a coping mechanism for her abortion and other trauma experiences, and how she eventually found healing from addiction while in recovery, from codependency while in a rehab half-way house, and later from abortion while working at a pregnancy center.

Lisa defined addiction as a stress response and as “anything that feels compulsive that you can’t get rid of by yourself, that you do daily, or that occupies space and mind and experience.” 

The intersection of addiction and abortion plays out two ways: abortion can lead to addiction, and addiction can lead to abortion. People with active addictions often may engage in riskier behaviors including unprotected sex that can then result in unintended pregnancies, which can lead to abortion. Karin pointed out that the added stress can also lead to an increase in addictive behaviors. For Karin, the stresses of her abortion led to her addiction. 

Lisa discussed how pregnancy centers and recovery programs can better help their clients by including questions about reproductive experiences in intake, circling back for conversations about those experiences later in the recovery process, and using “intuition, discernment, and compassion” to know when and how to ask the next question. She emphasized the importance of ongoing conversations and having resources for those struggling with addiction and unplanned pregnancies. Karin echoed the importance of intake and discussion sharing that throughout nine addiction recovery programs, she was never asked about her reproductive history. She said that being asked about it could have helped her find healing sooner.

Pregnancy centers and abortion healing providers were encouraged to collaborate with local addiction recovery programs and normalize the intersection of addiction and abortion. Support After Abortion has created two new resources to help facilitate these conversations: an email template that providers can use for reaching out to local community recovery agencies and a one-page fact sheet with information and data related to the intersection of addiction, pregnancy, and abortion. 


Click here to watch the video of Karin’s Abortion & Addiction Story.

Click here to access the Addiction & Abortion Fact Sheet.

Click here to access the Addiction Recovery Program Outreach Email Template.

Click here to register for the next Abortion Healing Provider webinar.

Click here to access Support After Abortion’s Resource Library.

Click here to explore Support After Abortion’s services, resources, and training for Abortion Healing Providers.

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