*Guest Post by Alison Cole*
I discovered the power of listening to pregnant women during my five years as a paramedical worker in an abortion clinic. The conversations I had with women prior to their abortions were “patient education,” but I asked every patient, every time: “How are you feeling about being here today?” and I listened to the answers they gave for as long as they needed.
Some women assumed everyone felt the same way as them. Others assumed their feelings about the abortion were unique among all women. Women would describe the children they had to feed, jobs they could not lose, birth control which had failed, educations they wanted to pursue, and unhealthy relationship they did not want to turn into dysfunctional families. I very rarely saw a woman whose reasons for not wanting to have a child were not totally understandable to me, and I told them that. In the last few minutes of patient education, I told them what happens during an abortion procedure, what they were likely to experience physically, and the statistics on physical health complications.
During these conversations, conversations where I mostly listened as women talked, I saw how the truth can set people free. (more…)