Regardless of what you personally believe about abortion, one very common experience for women and their partners when it comes to abortion is that there can be a lot of different emotional reactions. For the most part, the anti-choice folks tend to use any negative feelings as proof that abortion is bad while ignoring the fact that not all people experience abortion negatively. Meanwhile, many pro-choice folks sweep the negative experiences under the rug, perhaps out of a concern that they may strengthen anti-choice claims.
Thank goodness for Exhale, an after-abortion counseling hot line that creates room for everyone’s voice around their experience of abortion. Whatever your feelings after an abortion, whether it’s soon after or many years later, the counselors at Exhale are there to provide emotional support, information and resources. And it’s available to significant others (partners, family members, friends) of all genders, too. Whatever you find is coming up for you, the amazing folks at Exhale will create a space for you to let it out.
In the interest of full disclosure, I lead their training session on working with male callers, who make up about 10% of their calls. So I’ve met almost all of the counselors and I’m always impressed with their compassion, empathy, and commitment to offering a safe container for the range of experiences people have around abortion.
The staff also offers trainings for health care providers and you can print their brochure right off their website. Here’s the hot line number (see their site for contact info for their office):
Toll-free talkline (available in the U.S.): 1-866-4 EXHALE
Toll calls outside of the U.S.: 1-510-446-7977