Archive for July, 2008


We recognize the transformative power of pregnancy and all its possibilities. We envision a world in which abortion is affirmed as a moral decision without stigma. We believe that open and honest conversations, in a safe environment, about the experience of abortion will begin to create this world.

The Abortion Conversation Project is committed to eliminating the stigma of abortion by creating new ways and opportunities to talk about abortion honestly and publicly. The real life experiences of providers and women themselves will enable people to understand and appreciate the complex moral decision making surrounding a pregnancy decision.

We pledge open conversations that do not demonize those with differing views, or convince anyone that we are “right”. We realize that decisions about pregnancy bring up issues of life, death, sex, parenthood, and so much more. We want to create safe spaces for women and men to consider what is best for their lives.

The Abortion Conversation Project consists of its board and staff, Conversation Partners that affiliate with us, and connections to clinics and prochoice organizations and individuals. Conversation Partners agree to support the project and may join in national discussions sponsored by ACP. To join, see further information under Activities.

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Abortion Providers Bestow Awards

Washington, D.C. — This year’s annual meeting of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers (NCAP) and the Abortion Conversation Project (ACP) May 17-19, 2008, awarded Charlotte Taft and abortion care providers, Mary Frank of the Memphis Center for Reproductive Health and Jen Boulanger and the entire staff of the Allentown Women’s Center with the organizations’ highest honors. NCAP and ACP meet annually to offer workshops on quality care for members and to strategize about improving the societal climate for their patients.

Charlotte Taft, currently a consultant and counselor in Pecos, NM, and former Executive Director of the Routh St. Clinic in Dallas, Texas, was awarded the David Gunn Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement. Charlotte was chosen for her visionary leadership in re-focusing attention on the woman’s abortion experience. She pioneered the concept of “head and heart” counseling and has offered thoughtful, honest analyses of abortion politics that have created a new dialogue about abortion.

The Allentown Women’s Center has been awarded the 2008 Vision Award by the Abortion Conversation Project. This award is presented to the abortion provider who challenges the stigma around abortion both within the clinic and in the community. For the first time, an entire staff was recognized: the Allentown Women’s Center was chosen for its dedication to quality patient services and outreach to the community under conditions of extreme anti-abortion activity. The staff, individually and collectively have worked hard to counteract stigmatizing messages about abortion in their everyday interactions with patients as well as creating a positive presence at community events.

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Many women wonder how they will feel emotionally after an abortion. Some

women are already having a difficult time deciding what to do or are experiencing

intense feelings about abortion. Others have had previous problems

coping with stress and are not sure how they will deal with an abortion. A lot

of women have heard stories about other women who had problems afterward

and wonder if that will happen to them. Here is some information that will help

you cope after an abortion.

What’s going on in your life?

If you are having strong feelings about the situation you are in, those feelings may not automatically

go away after the abortion. Most women will feel relief that they are no longer pregnant. But,

other issues like disagreements with your partner or a parent, feelings of sadness, anger, guilt or

shame, strong religious feelings against abortion, or prior depression or anxiety problems, will

likely continue after the abortion. You will want to look at the entire situation including ongoing

problems, difficulty dealing with stress, and your religious or spiritual beliefs. An unexpected pregnancy–

and deciding whether to continue a pregnancy– is a crisis which can reveal a lot about

your life, your hopes and dreams, your relationships, and your beliefs. The best thing to do is use

what you have learned throughout this whole experience to make your life better.

Who can you talk to?

Support is the most important factor in helping you get through this experience. Support from

others means that they will listen to you without judging and they will remind you that you are a

good person making the best decision for your life. Hopefully you feel comfortable telling your

support people how you feel, what you are worried about, and what kind of help they can give

you. If you do not have people you feel comfortable talking to, ask your local clinic about counselors

or clergy in your community, or call one of the talklines listed below.

Was it a hard decision for you?

Although others will be affected by a choice about pregnancy, the decision should be more about

what you want and what you feel is right for your life. Certainly if a partner or a parent has strong

feelings about this decision, that will have a big effect on you. But, if you let someone else make

the decision, or you feel pushed into a decision, you are more likely to have a hard time later,

regardless of what you choose to do. In addition, some women have a difficult time making up

their minds, even about little things, and others feel they always need to be “perfect.” If it is hard

to accept that birth control can fail or that everyone makes mistakes from time to time, extra help

may be needed to cope after a decision to end a pregnancy.

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“Mom, Dad, I’m Pregnant…”


How can I tell my parents?

Telling your parents, “I’m pregnant,” probably seems like the hardest conversation you will ever have. Most

young people fear their parents’ reactions and may try to keep the pregnancy a secret. If you are pregnant,

you probably need your parents’ love, assistance, and maybe even their advice. Also, keeping secrets is not

generally good for your emotional health and may affect your ability to take care of yourself. Here are some

ways to start the conversation:

Set up the conversation. Start the conversation with your hopes and fears about how they will receive the

news. “I need to talk to you, but I am afraid that you will start screaming or be upset.” “I really need your

support and help. Please don’t be angry.”

Just say it. It’s best to get right to the point. There is no good time to tell big news, although you probably

should wait for some privacy with them. If that is difficult, ask if you can speak with them in private. Just say it:

“I just took a pregnancy test and I am pregnant.” Or, “I think I am pregnant” (if you don’t really know).

Give them a chance to react. Remember when you found out that you were pregnant? You were

probably upset and needed time to deal with the news. Give your parents some time to have a reaction too. “I

know you are freaked out. Don’t say anything. We can talk later.” Or, write a note and then talk. If they do go

on and on, try hard to ignore words said in anger or fear. Come back to them the next day and, say, “I’m sorry

I upset you, but I need your help and support.”

“They would be so disappointed in me.” This is a common fear among teens, but it is not what parents

most often say. Parents sometimes set high standards for their children but it doesn’t mean that they expect

their kids to be “perfect.” Most parents want to protect their children and give them the best possible future

they can. Don’t assume you know what they would really feel.

“What was it like when…?” Ask about their experiences of any abortions, or unintentional pregnancies,

or when they first had their kids. Knowing how they felt about this is helpful to understanding them and

learning what it was like for them. It may help you figure out what you want to do.

Be safe. Plan ahead. If you really feel it would not be safe for you when your parents find out, consider

having someone else that you trust there, like an aunt or cousin, or an older brother or sister. Pick a good

time, especially when they are not drinking alcohol, if that’s something they do. If you are really envisioning

the worst, make a plan where you could go to be safe. Find out what your rules your state has about young

people getting reproductive healthcare without their parents’ knowledge (see Resources below). Know your

options if you leave or are thrown out of the house. Be sure you carry your ID, your insurance card, and

whatever money or bank account info you have.

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