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Oct 10, 18

Announcing: Autonomous Pelvic Care As a Radical Alternative to State-Sanctioned Reproductive Health

Announcing the work and upcoming events of the Knoxville Abortion Doula Collective in the Appalachian region.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation has led to a great gnashing of teeth and cries of concern that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed the right to pregnancy termination under the 14th amendment, will be overturned.

Much more ink will be spilled on this subject in the weeks and months to come, both by forced birthers gleeful at the prospect of their oppressive body control mores codified into law, as well as by advocates who have raised up the liberal dogma of “safe, legal, and rare” as a rallying cry for abortion access. The former viewpoint is not worth indulging; it is with the latter perspective that we take issue. This so-called “pro-choice” position comes from a standpoint of race and class privilege as well as abortion stigma, and in the coming years we must work to dismantle this framework and replace both its ideology and its practical (legal and medical) manifestations with culturally appropriate, community-based alternatives.

Forthcoming articles will explore the tension between liberal and media portrayals of abortion advocacy and the lived experiences of many people for whom in-clinic abortion care is inappropriate (for reasons of access, gender identification, concerns over immigration documentation, language barriers, or past and current experiences of abuse, sexual trauma, obstetric violence, reproductive coercion, and so on).

The Knoxville Abortion Doula Collective offers an encrypted communications platform to help people seeking abortion access practical support for both logistical issues as well as education and emotional care. Part of this remit is offering workshops around Appalachia to give individuals and groups the skills to dismantle the white supremacist bio-medical patriarchy, and we are committed to gender inclusivity regarding access to knowledge of uterine health systems.

Currently, in the tradition of gynepunk and folk herbal medical practice, the Knoxville Abortion Doula Collective and Plume & Seal Botanical Medicine are offering two workshops in Autonomous Pelvic Care for the lower Appalachian region. This radical community healthcare weekend is facilitated by trainers who are trans and queer, and this workshop will reflect a range of pelvic (reproductive/generative) support services. This is a space for queer/trans folks and all bodies, but the workshop focus is centered on services for people with uterine systems.

Topics discussed include menstrual support and regulation, herbal remedies for common vaginal complaints, self-managed abortion, how to safely offer radical pelvic care in a home-based setting, and more. For more information, click here.

If you or your organization is interested in hosting a training to learn more about home-based pelvic health management, please direct queries to [email protected].

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The Knoxville Abortion Doula Collective formed in the summer of 2016 to address the logistical, practical, and emotional support needs of abortion patients in the ways that local clinics are not able to do. Although abortion is one of the safest and most common procedures in the United States, abortion stigma in our society and restrictive abortion laws mean patients may face huge emotional and practical burdens to access their healthcare.

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