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Dear Friends & Pro-Voice Allies,

There’s nothing quite like a partnership with MTV to get the word out!

Months after we worked with MTV on their groundbreaking special “No Easy Decision;” months after the Pro-Voice community stood together in peace taking a public stand besides the young women sharing their stories through “16 & Loved;” and months after the New York Times reported on our efforts and helped share our story… the word keeps spreading.

Our message is out. If you have a personal experience with abortion, Exhale is a community that welcomes you with love and respect.

Now, let’s work together to make sure this message reaches the people who need it most: young women and men with personal abortion experiences. Exhale has been working with our technical partners to develop a brand-new online public platform that will engage our growing community of Pro-Voice peacemakers. We expect to launch the first phase in the fall, with more phases launched throughout the next year. You’ve probably already noticed some changes in the way we communicate with you, such as receiving email from Exhale, rather than just me. Thanks to the support of people like you who have helped to sustain and grow Exhale, we have been able to invest in new leaders and now, there are more voices, ambassadors, and peacemakers speaking for the Pro-Voice movement than ever before!

Our use of technology and social media is expanding along with the Pro-Voice movement, because we know how important technology is for our community of women who have had abortions.  Technology is critical to our ability to tell our own stories with abortion and be heard with dignity and respect.

We need your support with this next phase.  We are about to launch our new platform for online engagement with the Pro-Voice movement. To be successful, we need to raise an additional $15,000 by August 19th.  I’m hoping you will jump in.

Can you make a donation to Exhale today and accelerate the Pro-Voice Momentum?

With your support, we will reach more young women and men with our message of love and respect.  Our new online tools will seed and grow new Pro-Voice Ideas; leverage and expand Pro-Voice Innovations; grow and support new Pro-Voice Leadership; and strengthen the impact of our Pro-Voice Community so that our love grows more powerful than anger and hate.

“16 & Loved” wasn’t just a one-time project; it points the way forward, demonstrating the possibilities for transforming the culture around abortion. You know that Exhale has a long history of taking important risks and producing exceptional results: from the original launch of the talkline to our latest partnership with MTV.  Now is the time to take another leap and keep the momentum going. We are ready to do it again. Are you?

Please donate to Exhale today.

Aspen Baker

Executive Director at Exhale

Exhale is seeking candidates for a rare opportunity to join Exhale as members of our Board of Directors.

About Exhale:

Exhale is an award-winning, national organization whose mission is to create a social climate where each person’s unique experience with abortion is respected, supported and free from stigma. Through leadership development, communications, and direct services, Exhale’s pro-voice movement is transforming public dialogue about abortion. Exhale has a thriving organizational culture that emphasizes mission, innovation and excellence.

About Exhale’ s Board of Directors:

Exhale’s Board Members are leaders whose volunteer service to Exhale is critical to growing and engaging more people and communities in the Pro-Voice Movement. We seek individuals to join the Exhale Board who have a strong personal commitment to our Pro-Voice mission; deep leadership experience; and powerful relationship-building and network-building practices.

Exhale’s Board is committed to grassroots, social change strategies; loves trying new things and taking calculated risks; and are achievement-oriented. Our board members are known in their personal and professional networks as early adopters of technological innovations; creative thinkers; diligent about follow-through; and as people who make things happen for the causes they care about.  We are looking for Board candidates who share these commitments, experience and professional practices.

Board Member Role and Responsibilities Include: Continue Reading »

On Friday, June 17th, Exhale Executive Director Aspen Baker participated in a panel presentation at Netroots Nation entitled “FTW: Social Networks, Down & Dirty for Change.” Assembled by 16 & Loved architect Deanna Zandt, the panel also included Cheryl Contee from Fission Strategy, Anita Jackson from Moms Rising, and Rachel LaBruyere from Mobile Commons and explored case studied of social media successes. Aspen Baker presented the 16 & Loved campaign to a standing-room only crowd, exploring campaign goals, media reaction, and lessons learned. You can watch the whole panel discussion below [a new browser window will open]:

Continue Reading »

Jovida Ross

By Jovida Ross, Exhale’s Director of Programs

I first came out as Queer when I was 17. At first I told a few close friends; when that went OK I told more people. Then I was out socially. I told my parents; moved in with a girlfriend for the first time; and eventually I became a leader in an LGBTQ organization.

Each of those steps brought a new coming out process: mustering my courage, taking the risk to speak my truth without knowing what response I would get, and living with the consequences. I’m fortunate that my experience has been overwhelmingly positive, with very few instances of shaming or overt discrimination.

Yet still, every time I find myself in a context where people assume I am straight, I face the question of whether I should come out yet again.

As ESPN contributor Mary Buckheit recently told NPR:

Most people think of a person’s coming out as one momentous day, or one unnerving phone call home, or one blurted sentence, even. But the truth is you come out a thousand times. Continue Reading »

By Nikko Merlander, Exhale Counselor

Nikko Merlander

As a volunteer with Exhale since early 2008, I have heard time and time again that women and men using Exhale’s services were grateful for Exhale’s support. Yet, as a social worker who is interested in the evaluation and effectiveness of services, I wanted to know more about why Exhale’s services seemed to be so well-received. I saw an opportunity for mutual learning—to both dive into research that is important to me and to contribute to Exhale’s ongoing learning about what works for the women reaching out for post-abortion support.

I created a survey to explore women’s experiences receiving services from Exhale. This was a chance for the women taking the survey to be heard, anonymously, in a larger arena.  What I most hoped for was that the feedback survey respondents gave could be used to give direction and guidance to professionals and organizations in the abortion field across the United States. What better way to understand how to improve post-abortion services than to listen to the needs and experiences of those who have had an abortion experience?

And so the women spoke! Survey respondents overwhelmingly stated that the most important aspects of their experiences with Exhale were those that connected them to other women, validated their experiences, and empowered them in finding well-being. Most simply put, respondents seemed to be saying that they come to Exhale to receive non-judgmental services that value their unique experiences while also reassuring them that they are not alone. Continue Reading »

By Susan Lehman, Exhale Counselor & 2010 Rachel Falls Compassion Award honoree

This piece was written as part of the Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice‘s Strong Families initiative, as apart of their Mama’s Day Blog series and cross posted at On The Issues Magazine.

As the mother of grown children, I have basked in the annual glow of Mother’s Day recognition for a long time. Both my family and my community offer me blessings and praise for raising and providing for my children. But one of my most deeply maternal choices, my abortion, does not warrant the same recognition.

Continue Reading »

On Sunday, April 10th, MTV Canada aired a special called “Impact: Abortion Stories.” Unlike the panel interview structure and accompanying reality-show style telling of Markai’s experience in “No Easy Decision,” the Canadian special included interviews with people representing a variety of perspectives on abortion. Part of a comprehensive “Impact” series, which includes shows on other topics ranging from Haiti to bullying, “Abortion Stories” included first person interviews with women describing personal abortion experiences; and others representing a range of views.

Nicole Miller is one of the women who shared her personal abortion story in Canada’s special, and she agreed to talk to Exhale about abortion wellbeing and storysharing. As we conclude our 2nd annual commemoration of Abortion Wellbeing Month, we hope that Nicole and all women who have shared their stories in ways from private to public will feel supported, respected and well!

Exhale: What does “abortion wellbeing” mean to you?

Nicole: Abortion wellbeing to me means many things. It’s not a particular place or state of mind, as much as an inner feeling of peace. It means to be completely honest and open not only with others, but with yourself.

To say I have never felt conflicting emotions because of my abortion would be a blatant lie. However, deep in my soul I know that I absolutely made the right decision, despite what anyone says or thinks or does and that is the most important aspect of my wellbeing.

Exhale: How did you decide to share your story? What role has sharing in such a public way played in your post abortion well being?
Continue Reading »

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