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Dustin Siggins

Medication abortion is changing women’s abortion experiences

Women report pain, isolation, and shock when experiencing abortions at home

NORTH PORT, FLORIDA—Support After Abortion, which provides research-based training to licensed therapists and lay counselors, says a recent surge in medication abortions means that the mental health community must change how it helps women suffering after abortion.

“During surgical abortions, women are anesthetized, the abortion is fast, and their experience is validated by the people around them in real time,” said Support After Abortion CEO Lisa Rowe, a licensed mental health therapist. “Women who experience medication abortions tell our After Abortion Help Line that they experience significant pain, have little or no help, and are horrified when seeing their baby for the first time.”

“That’s why women who seek our services have changed from older, white, and religious to young, diverse, and secular,” continued Rowe. “They have trauma and grief that need healing now.”

=Many mental health programs don’t address after-abortion care. Others use one-size-fits-all methods, including:

  • Faith-based programs which focus on in-person group gatherings, Scripture, and short-term programs.
  • Programs which only affirm abortions.
  • Social workers who do not ask about or seek to address pregnancy loss.
  • Therapists whose after-abortion care does not address pre-abortion traumas.

For six years, Support After Abortion has provided research-based after-abortion training to hundreds of therapists and counselors, and connected thousands of women and men to individualized healing resources. Its best practices include providing healing options which are tailored to clients’ needs – ranging from secular to religious, in-person and virtual, and anonymous to group settings.

“One in three women suffer negative mental health issues like grief and depression after a medication abortion, and most of them don’t know where to seek healing,” concluded Rowe. “We are urging the entire mental health community – churches that provide after-abortion healing, social workers and therapists who help families through pregnancy loss, and abortion centers like Northland Family Planning which acknowledge after-abortion suffering and grief – to treat women where they are, not where we wish they are,” said Rowe. “We can most effectively help women become their best selves if we diversify our approaches to helping them heal.”

About Support After Abortion

Support After Abortion provides gold-standard research and education which promote compassion, collaboration, and capacity to create gold-standard care for men and women suffering from abortion’s adverse impacts. Its free resources include an After Abortion Help Line, a national therapist and counseling directory, and an introductory abortion healing program