Exhale, a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California, was created by and for women who have had abortions in order to promote our emotional wellbeing. Operating since 2002, our mission is to create a social climate where each person’s unique experience with abortion is supported, respected and free from stigma. Providing direct emotional support to women and their loved ones after an abortion has been the primary focus of our work and our national, multilingual post-abortion talkline is our cornerstone program. Our work has been featured extensively in the media and our advocacy has helped increase the emotional care of abortion patients in clinics nationwide.
A personal experience of abortion can be emotional and it’s critical that every woman, as well as her loved ones, have the information and resources they need to experience wellbeing afterward. Unfortunately, the abortion conflict makes this important goal incredibly difficult to achieve because the abortion conflict, like all conflicts, has effectively silenced the voices of those most affected: women who have had abortions. As a result, many women keep their experience a secret and they can feel isolated from others who share similar experiences. To address this root cause of abortion stigma, Exhale grows public and private forums where women feel seen, heard, understood and connected to one another and where their stories are heard with dignity and respect.
Exhale coined the term “pro-voice” in 2005 to establish our position that it is women’s voices and experiences which should be leading public dialogue on this topic. Pro-Voice is:
- A humanizing response to the cultural war over abortion.
- A community-based, grassroots approach to social change, a model which demands that those who have been most affected by an issue should be the ones to lead solutions on it.
- A recognition that human dignity is at stake in this debate and therefore it warrants a pro-active, respectful, engaged process for conflict transformation.
- A public stand for every woman who has had an abortion, across the range of experiences, beliefs and backgrounds to advocate non-judgment, understanding and support.
With this blog, Exhale is building a community of people who share our values and are committed to building abortion peace through listening and storytelling.
Watch our video: Exhale is Pro-Voice