The difficult choice to seek an abortion is a life changing decision that we believe is best left to the individual and their doctor. But that doesn’t mean you’re alone, even though the way our society talks (or rather doesn’t talk) about abortion can leave one feeling isolated.
Momotaro Apotheca was founded in the commitment to provide safe, effective, and inclusive vaginal wellness products. We want to be part of the solution in providing products we believe help bridge the gap between mental and physical well being. Our bodies have historically been ignored with lack of healthcare services and funding, which is why this past holiday season, we made a promise to donate 100% of our profits to Planned Parenthood—an organization that helps literally millions of people around the world by providing low-cost sexual health services and informational support to a diverse body of clients.
A few months back (it’s crazy to think that it was last year already), our friend Celine Bossart wrote a blog post to shed light on the often silenced conversations surrounding abortion and fight the stigma surrounding this common medical procedure.
If you missed our Planned Parenthood campaign, there's still plenty of opportunities to help out this invaluable organization. You can sign up to help out at a New York City clinic by joining the Activist Council here. If you’re located outside of New York and want to get involved in your state, you can sign up to get info Planned Parenthood’s country-wide general volunteer opportunities here.
So, We Donated to Planned Parenthood. What Now?
Some thoughts on abortion support following our Black Friday donation to Planned Parenthood
words by Celine Bossart
images provided by Celine Bossart
For those of you who shopped Momotaro’s Black Friday sale, thank you. Your 107 orders over the course of the weekend made it possible for us to donate over $2100 to Planned Parenthood––now, we’re in PP’s most important donation month (around 33% of their total 2018 donations were received in December), so while you’re getting into the spirit of giving as the holidays approach, any donations you choose to make on your own are not only warmly welcomed, but essential to help them continue to service the 9,230 people they serve on a daily basis. Just something to keep in mind as we all navigate our way through the spending frenzy that is the holiday season.
We could talk about supporting Planned Parenthood all day long, but as much as they need our help, so do those going through the process of getting an abortion––we’d be remiss to be so focused on helping the provider that we forget about the people they serve. Having gone through the abortion experience myself, I can tell you that the waters are murky to say the least, and while I was fortunate enough to have the support of my partner and a few friends and family members, I was missing one thing: the wisdom of someone who knew exactly what I was dealing with. We live in a culture of silence around abortion––even though one in four women has had at least one, we don’t necessarily know about it, which can leave us feeling isolated in more ways than one. In the weeks and months following my procedure at Planned Parenthood, I couldn’t help but think how the landscape might change if we allowed ourselves (those who felt comfortable, anyway) to speak freely about our abortion stories. So that’s exactly what I started to do.
"Even though one in four women has had at least one [abortion], we don’t necessarily know about it, which can leave us feeling isolated in more ways than one."
Once I became more and more vocal about my own abortion, I realized just how many friends of mine had been through it too. It’s different for everyone, but for the most part it seemed to be liberating and cathartic for those who had internalized and held onto their own experiences with little to no release for years. Some of them had never told a soul; others still hadn’t told their significant others for a variety of reasons. Having these conversations, whether privately or publicly, is an act of rebellion in the face of society’s cyclical coercion into silence, shame, and stigma.
I could go on about how powerful and healthy it is for us personally to have the opportunity to speak post-abortion, but we cannot ignore the potential benefits of our vocality and action for those about to endure their own abortions with no one to turn to. This is the exact reason that organizations like The Doula Project exist (and it’s something I might have known about had I been exposed to abortion conversations prior to my appointment).
The Doula Project aims to serve people of all walks of life across the entire spectrum of pregnancy with free care and emotional, physical, and informational support with over 50 full-spectrum doulas. The services they provide are all extremely important and rare––support for birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal anomaly among them––though for the sake of this article’s context, I’d like to highlight their abortion support offerings as this is not only the core service upon which they were founded in 2007, but is something that’s key to this conversation.
Generally speaking, doula services are often cost prohibitive, hardly ever reaching lower income communities. It’s considered a luxury, sure, but we cannot ignore the commonly known fact that historically lesser-privileged demographics are often treated poorly by the healthcare system if not dismissed entirely. And to make matters worse, according to a study conducted by the Washington and Lee University Library, people representing low income demographics lack access to “reproductive education, counseling, and contraception, [which] compromises the health of America’s low-income women and their children.” That said, it’s unsurprising that “abortion patients are disproportionately low income” with 49% of abortion patients between 2008 and 2014 representing sub-poverty line communities, a 2017 Guttmacher Institute study reports.
These are cyclical issues with little to no end in sight, especially as our country’s conservatives continue to tighten the noose around our reproductive rights, but The Doula Project bridges this gap unconditionally by providing free doula services to the masses. We can all agree that basic healthcare should not be a luxury, but this organization takes its response to that notion one step further.
If you’re someone in need of abortion support in New York City, know that you’re not alone in this so don’t be afraid––The Doula Project can help through its partnerships with Planned Parenthood Brooklyn, Planned Parenthood Bronx, a handful of public hospitals, and several other service providers, so simply visit their website or inquire with your provider (those interested in becoming a doula can find all necessary information here). And no matter where you find yourself, keep talking.
You never know who you might be helping...or who might be able to help you.
Read more about the importance of a doula's role before, during, and after birth with Yael Borenzstein here.
Becoming a volunteer clinic escort is a great way to make an impact, and your time commitment can be brief or ongoing, depending on what you and your schedule can offer. You can sign up to help out at a New York City clinic by joining the Activist Council here. If you’re located outside of New York and want to get involved in your state, you can find Planned Parenthood’s country-wide general volunteer opportunities here.