Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Secret Society of Abortioneers

This whole "SIRI Abortiongate" situation has really highlighted how my participation in this blog is a secret from most people in my life. All of last week I was seeing news headline after news headline and blog post after blog post about SIRI and her abortion snafu. One of my professors even brought it up!!! I was dying to tell my friends and family, "That's my blog that started it all!!! I am so proud of my co-blogger for bringing this issue into the news and eventually getting a response from Apple! APPLE!!! #%$@". Alas, we here at the Abortioneers have anonymous identities for a reason and we would risk a lot by telling people that we write for this blog. So, I emailed my Abortioneers regularly throughout the week to celebrate our accomplishment, and that had to suffice.

So, I think everyone who works in direct service abortion work experiences some similar level of this. Even for those of us who tell our friends and family that we do this work, there are always secrets that remain. Not the type of secrets that anti-abortion jerks think we have, such as hiding fetuses in dumpsters or other such nonsense. Rather, the secrets we keep are an extension of the work we do. There is something shared between us and can't be understood by "outsiders". I can't explain it, but there is something about a group of Abortioneers that lends itself to secret-keeping. There is such immense trust between us and we are bonded in a way that most co-workers are not. The nature of abortion itself is often secret due to patient confidentiality, so we are used to keeping things hush-hush and protecting privacy.

When I worked at an abortion clinic I remember the days when we had down time and would open up to each other about our lives. We talked about things that probably don't get brought up in most work places. We shared stories of intimate partner violence, birth control failures, family stressors, masturbation techniques, drug use, and even our own abortions. There was an implicit understanding that we could trust each other and respect each other's experiences. I loved it, and I doubt I'll ever find at a job again.

My connection to the other Abortioneers on this blog is a cyber version of my experience at my abortion clinic. I have shared some very personal things with the other writers that I dare not tell most people in my life, and that's mainly because I trust them. The interesting thing is that I have only met a few of the writers in person; most of them are complete strangers in the "real world". However, I trust them because of what we share and what I innately know about them based on the fact that they work in abortion. They are Abortioneers through and through...and that is all I need to know to trust them.

Has anyone else experience this in their abortion work? What about as social workers or other direct service providers?


  1. I do all the time. I'm so grateful for all of my co-bloggers, too. We're very fortunate to have one another.

    I do have to say, though, my husband was in the military and served in a war zone. The bonds of trust - and of secrecy - he has with the people he served with is probably even stronger than what we have as abortioneers...with possibly the exception of those abortioneers who have gone through terrorist acts together (like bombings, their physician being murdered, etc.).

  2. I just came across this blog recommended by an abortionista pal, read down a few entries, and feel moved to give an Amen."Abortionista" is my little clan's slang, so I don't think I actually know you. But yes I do.
    I worked in a clinic and experienced a feeling of connection and mutual trust and mutual responsibility for one another that has not been met by any of the other agencies where I've worked. Working as an abortionista for several years inspired me to go to social work school, as it inspired other women to go too medicine, law, nursing. Now I've worked with a few other (though overlapping) intense fields -- sexual trauma survivors, teenagers with HIV -- but there's never been as compelling a sense of shared mission. I don't think this experience can be expected in every clinic's work culture, but I've heard it from other abortion clinic workers over and over.
    Thanks for existing.

  3. @Starla--thanks for your comment. It brought a huge smile to my face! And yes, yes of course we know each other.


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