Workshop trains students to 'support' women during abortions

A "doula" traditionally refers to someone who provides non-medical support during childbirth, but the organizers of the event use it in reference to providing such assistance to "people having abortions."

A pro-choice group recently hosted a “Spring Abortion Doula Training” at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to teach students and faculty members strategies for providing emotional support to women as they undergo abortions.

The University of Massachusetts, Amherst recently hosted a “Spring Abortion Doula Training” workshop for people interested in providing emotional support to women as they have abortions.

According to the description of the event, the training session was facilitated by the Doula Association of Reproductive Loss and Abortion (DARLA), and is meant to teach individuals how to become a “doula,” which the page defines as someone who “provides emotional, informational, and physical support to another person during a potentially tough experience.”

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Traditionally, a doula is someone who offers non-medical support to a woman during childbirth, but a flyer for the event explains that in this context, DARLA is using the term to mean someone who “provides emotional, physical, spiritual, and informational support for people having abortions.”

“In this training, you will learn about abortion and birth control procedures, reproductive justice, and many many emotional support techniques,” DARLA explained.

The organizers also stressed that the group “is committed to providing emotional, physical, and informational support to people who are experiencing pregnancy termination or loss in Western Mass.”

The workshop’s first training module took place on April 21, with the second session occurring on the following day.

Despite being held on campus, the event was open to “anyone (students, community members, staff, faculty, etc.) who is interested in becoming an abortion doula or just wants to learn how to be better at emotional support!”

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The organizers further noted that individuals who wish to volunteer with DARLA “as an abortion doula in-clinic” would be “required to attend this training.”

“However, you are not required to work with DARLA if you attend the training—you are allowed to attend to expand your own personal understanding of the issues and your view without committing,” the organizers added.

Two days before the event, DARLA announced that the workshop is “at full capacity,” urging those who were still interested in the program to keep an eye on “our next training.” 

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