Abortion doulas are increasingly drawing on spirituality while having to face a higher demand.
Carly Manes, a doula from Los Angeles, supports her pregnant clients through birth, postpartum, miscarriage, and abortion. As she connects people with the available resources, answers their questions about abortion, and acts as a positive presence, Manes believes spirituality plays an essential role in the procedure.
Religion News Service reports:
“‘A lot of folks in the birth space, especially within Judaism, are calling in more spiritual practices,’ said Manes, adding that Indigenous communities have a long tradition of rituals for abortion and miscarriage.
Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, Manes believes that full-spectrum doulas like her and those who specialize in abortion are likely to see increased demand. ‘Doulas are going to be really important in terms of helping them interact with the medical system in a way that won’t lead to criminalization.’
For Manes, the work of an abortion doula isn’t far off from the work of a chaplain, and this fall, she will attend the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in Minnesota to pursue interfaith chaplaincy. She told Religion News Service she wrote her entire application about abortion.”
The word “doula” comes from ancient Greek, and it means “helper.” As doulas are becoming a common part of abortion procedures, they’re using spiritual elements to meet their clients where they are.
“Lynsey Bourke, an abortion doula from Montana, says her home state is poised to end legal access to abortion services. ‘If that does happen, it will make me question if we’ll continue to do business in my home state and if that’s a safe place for me where my rights will be protected,’ she said.
Bourke has been an abortion doula for 15 years and believes abortion is a sacred process. ‘I have a strong connection to Creator, or to God, or to the conscious life force that connects us all,’ explained Bourke, who was raised Catholic. ‘And I find most religions very beautiful and find really resonant truth in all of them.'”
The main purpose of integrating spirituality into the procedure is to make sure that each client makes a conscious decision, rather than going through a hasty abortion they haven’t had the time to process thoroughly.
“‘Yes, abortion can be easy, and something individuals have no regrets,’ said Bourke. ‘But there are others who feel conflicted at the time of the abortion, who really regret it, and who hold onto a lot of pain and shame throughout their lives. So finding different modalities that can heal the minds, bodies, and spirits of all these individuals across the spectrum, and responding to their varying needs, both physically and spiritually, is important.'”
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