ECUADOR – Accompanying women through medical abortion

Las Comadres, the name of a group which loosely translates as The Godmothers, or Very Close Friends, is a feminist group whose members accompany women through an abortion and provide them with medical and legal information. In July 2017, they ran their first national workshop on accompanying abortion.

The workshop, attended by 45 women, focused on legal, medical and psychological issues women may face, and how to be prepared for them.  The most important part of the process, participants were told, was to be able to inform women of the possible side effects and of their legal rights, with confidence, to counter fear of the unknown, which is the worst side effect for women having abortions clandestinely.

The women attending voiced questions and concerns from cases that they had already seen happening around them: What happens when a young woman’s own mother reports her for having an abortion? What happens if a woman asks a doctor about her options, and he tells her: “You will die if you abort”? What happens if a pharmacist asks for your doctor’s phone number so they can call and ask why they are prescribing these particular medications?

Women’s rights organizations, including Las Comadres, have long existed in Quito, offering helpline services for those looking for secure ways to abort at home. They give information about the use of medical abortion pills, which is legal because simply giving information is within their rights. This is true even for accompanying women during the abortion process.

SOURCE: Ms Magazine Blog, by Kimberley Brown, 3 August 2017 ; VISUAL