Patients in Ohio have to go through a lot to access safe and legal abortion. They deal with waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, and a gauntlet of protesters, who often seek to scare and intimidate patients. Because of this, we have partnered with volunteers from ProChoiceCats.com and other community members to create post-abortion care packages to help patients feel nourished and supported as they recover from their procedures.
We got the idea from a blog post by Autumn Reinhardt-Simpson, founder of the Alberta Access Network in Alberta, Canada. Based on her recommendations, we gathered on January 30, 2016 with the following non-perishable supplies:
Small or medium gift bags (we drew friendly cats and hearts on ours)
Chamomile tea packets (to soothe and calm)
Sanitary pads (for post-op spotting)
Granola bars or energy bars (to nourish)
Dried soup packets (the “just add water” kind)
Small, unopened bottles of Tylenol or Ibuprofen (no Aspirin as it is a blood thinner)
Homemade heating pads (optional - we didn't include these in ours but this is something Ms. Simpson included in hers)
Thanks to generous donors, we were able to make more than 100 post-abortion care packages at that January event, which were donated to the patients at Founder’s Women’s Health Center and Planned Parenthood on East Main Street. (Note: This was done with each clinic's permission given ahead of time and careful coordination, so as not to alarm or interrupt staff at both of these Columbus abortion providers.)
The clinics distributed the care packages to patients as they were discharged from the recovery room. The feedback we received was extremely positive. Patients seemed to really enjoy receiving bags full of recovery essentials and notes that read, “This package was made by volunteers who support your right to choose.” It was a small act that was meant to show these patients that the community not only cares about their well-being, but that there are also kind people out there who unconditionally trust and support the decisions these women have made.
The care packages were so successful that we decided to do it again. But then, yesterday morning, we awoke to the disturbing images of vandalism at Planned Parenthood on E. Main Street.
This is just another example of the fear tactics that anti-choice extremists use to intimidate patients and providers. And even though Founder’s is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood, we still stand in solidarity with them because we are joined by a common mission. We believe abortion providers must stick together and we fully intend to do so during this time of deep hurting.
With that said, we will still be gathering tonight to make more post-abortion care packages and to write notes of support to the employees and physicians at Planned Parenthood on E. Main Street.
If you wish to join us, check out the event details for tonight’s Reproductive Health Happy Hour:
Where: St. James Tavern (1057 N 4th St, Columbus, OH 43201)
When: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 from 6-8 PM
Bring: A $5 donation (will go to a pro-choice cause) and supplies for the care packages. We need gift bags, bottles of Tylenol/Ibuprofen, chamomile tea packets, and dried soup packets.
If you can't attend, you can easily send postcards of support to abortion providers via the 1 In 3 Campaign.