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The Atlantic’s Abortion Doula: ‘Grief is Celebratory’

... and pro-lifers are strange, inscrutable creatures.

Normally, a “doula” is a woman who assists other women with birth. But Roc Morin, writing for The Atlantic, found a “full-spectrum doula.” “On Being an Abortion Doula” was  about Annie Robinson, and explored explored the “range of emotions involved in helping women terminate pregnancies.” Robinson to Morin that “the grief is celebratory” and that “some of the connections [with women aborting] are really joyful, and funny, and loving.” 

To explain her attraction to her work, Robinson detailed how “I’m really interested in loss and grief.” She acknowledged that “Even if the grief is celebratory, it still is grief and it still is loss.” She argued that birth isn’t that much different: “There’s something lost with birth too—loss of pregnancy, loss of the in-utero experience.” 

Robinson volunteers for The Doula Project, an “organization that provides free compassionate care and emotional, physical, and informational support to people across the spectrum of pregnancy.” The organization began in 2007 to aid women undergoing abortions by offering doulas who “commit themselves fully to the women they serve and to supporting each other through challenging, beautiful, and emotionally overwhelming moments.” 

Morin asked Robinson, “Why is the work of The Doula Project important?” Robinson responded, “when you’re going through something that’s morally and physically exhausting and confusing, it’s so important to be seen—to have your emotions and your physical being recognized and acknowledged.”

At Morin’s prompting, Robinson stressed how emotions flow from her patients to her. “I feel a heaviness. I feel saturated sometimes. I feel lit up and glowing,” she began. “Often I feel like I’m glowing from being there in such a real moment. Some of the connections are really joyful, and funny, and loving. It’s not just a gloomy dreary period of time that we spend together.”

Morin then asked Robinson a series of strange questions, as though wondering about some rumored but seldom glimpsed primitive tribe. “How aware are you of your opposition, the pro-life movement?” “How do you relate to those people?” “How do you think they came to their perspective?”

Robinson’s answers don’t matter – suffice it to say she thinks anti-abortion activists are misinformed. What matters is the fact that Morin treats the pro-life half of the U.S. population like some sort of cargo cult, and does so in a magazine that calls itself a “source of opinion, commentary, and analysis for America’s most influential individuals who wish to be challenged, informed, and entertained.”

So abortion can be included in a list of life's “challenging, beautiful, and emotionally overwhelming moments,” but Morin can’t imagine how pro-lifers came to their conclusions? God save us from America’s most influential individuals.

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.