Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our Un-Simple Work

I'm one of those people that rarely get demoralized about abortioneer work and will totally go out of my way and advocate as hard as I can for a patient. If a woman needs a boat load of money for her abortion really fast/needs a ride to her appointment/needs a ride to get her medications/wants to communicate only via text message/wants to talk about her abortion at 9pm on a Saturday night/or needs someone to hold her hand during the abortion procedure, I'm your girl. I'll jump through hoops, break rules, do whatever I have to, to help someone get their abortion. If they want one.

You're probably like that, too. Or maybe even used to be, but are a little less so right now. I had a co-worker once say that she didn't want to stay at work later (she was planning to leave early) because she was pretty sure the person I wanted to get an ultrasound just wouldn't ever show up. She'd been "burned" too many times after "going out" of her way. Her solution: stop going out of her way. Stop advocating so much. Stop trying so much.

I've had a hard time swallowing that; but I know it can be hard when you do a lot for a client and it doesn't materialize - or doesn't feel like it materializes - into much. Maybe you spend your time trying to find a shelter for her, get it all set-up for after her abortion, and she never shows there. Maybe you help her get one of those out-of-state abortions (since your state won't go as far as you wish they did) and she doesn't get her abortion. Doesn't show. Or perhaps you convinced your doctor to reduce the abortion fee enough so she could finally afford it after you've raised money, only for her to drop off the face of the earth. It's hard. And it's hard when the clients follow-through after you've built a relationship with them (you raised their money, you helped with their lodging, you counseled them, you held their hand), then never see or hear about them ever again. You they are. If they're okay. If they left their bastard boyfriend. Finished university. Got off drugs. Got counseling for their rape. Found some peace after the anecephaly diagnosis of the very, very wanted pregnancy. Went on to do all the things they had hoped and dreamt of doing.

It's hard sometimes, this unfinished bit of business we're in. We never get the whole story. Find out how things turn out: full circle. I wish we knew sometimes.

Yet, I know, really, our job is fairly simple: help women, who want them, to obtain safe abortions. Yet that's really a lie. Because it's so not that simple. How could it be with pregnancy is not simple? Life is not simple. Abortion is not simple. Our work...our so, so not simple.


  1. It's one of the most stressful do-gooding there is. I never really felt 100% at peace even when a patient did make it into her appointment, because you never know if she'll be OK after the fact, or if she'll get pregnant again under even worse circumstances. It's just one "ack" after another.

  2. I feel that way sometimes, too. No sense of resolution. Sometimes, sometimes I hear from them again. I love that.


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