Last year, in February 2020, inroads members began meeting virtually convene in “spacious solidarity” to discuss and strategize the impacts of accompanying abortions during times of covid-19. WIth this space for collective visioning, it became clear that inroads members had a desire for more intentional and dedicated time to discuss the practical implications of abortion stigma on their work as abortion support people in these times. Inroads members Isabel Pérez, Daniela Tellez Del Valle, and Davi Lopez Green, took the lead to host and prepare a three day training and workshop, which focused on creating a safe environment to discuss abortion stigma, mutual support, and the ancestral knowledge that different kinds of abortion providers and support people share.
This series of three-day, two-hour workshops lead up to 28 September, International Safe Abortion Day. and was geared towards any inroads members who have experience or are interested in building their skills and community around providing abortion support.
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The goals of the workshop were to create a safe and horizontal environment to address and reflect stigma towards induced and voluntary abortion among different types of abortion providers. other goals included:
Participants worked to identity stigma through the sharing withholds method (sharing thoughts that we keep to ourselves). Participants were asked to fill a Likert scale and reflect on the results collectively. They were asked to share their comments and analysis on the following statements:
This workshop felt like a first step of a broader stigma busting conversation necessary to improve the quality of abortion care.– Participant Evaluation
The next day’s focus was addressing abortion stigma. Participants divided into groups to reflect on 5 real life abortion stigma scenarios. They identified the assumptions made towards the case and the person involved and brainstormed on potential solutions to support the person, from both individual and organizational levels. The scenarios were:
We think the Inroads community should maintain these spaces in order to provide a safe environment for abortion providers and advocates to self-reflect on their own practices, and also to build a community care framework for abortion care that is grassroots and from a holistic and de-medicalized approach.– Participant from the workshop
On the final day of the workshop we worked together to building a community care framework. The goal of this session is to identify what community care is (a political action and decision, feminist ethics) and link all the sessions from this perspective so participants can take these reflections and examples to their own work spaces. Participants will be asked to brainstorm around the pillars of community care for abortion care: harm reduction, anti-oppression, continuity of care and self-care.
To close, we focused on applying the community care model to … ourselves! Through an art-therapy session, participants were asked to draw a galaxy of themself as a way to reflect on how their own self-care is important to providing quality services. Participants envisioned themselves as a part of a larger community and depicted their tools to keep on providing safe, tender, and accurate abortion services to their communities.
We believe the workshop was successful because we managed to facilitate a conversational and very participatory space that is usually difficult to maintain through online tools and usually more expected with in-person sessions. With the support of Inroads, we built a space for people from different countries and context to connect, reflect and collaborate to address stigma within the provision of abortion care. The workshop started with the participation of 21 doulas, acompañantes and advocates from Latin America and the Caribbean.Participant quote
Thanks to the facilitators, Daniela Tellez Del Valle, Danielle Lopez Green, and Isabel Pérez for hosting and sharing such an amazing session with the network!