Confusion, guilt, anger, hopelessness: these are all feelings that can be experienced by someone who has chosen to have an abortion. This is a decision that dramatically changes a personʼs mental outlook and perspective, and sometimes it can feel like there is nowhere to turn and no one to talk to. That is why the WCU Womenʼs Center is offering a new support service to those students who have had an abortion and need a shoulder to lean on during the often turbulent aftermath.The Womenʼs Center is offering this service in order to provide students with an opportunity to share their feelings in an individual and confidential manner. Two graduate interns are in charge of providing the services for this program. One of the counselors is an employee of Planned Parenthood with a background in counseling and educational psychology.
The other counselor has a background in domestic violence. Both of these women will provide one on one support for interested students and if the response is positive, future efforts may be made to create an actual abortion support group on campus. If there is enough interest in this topic, the Womenʼs Center may also extend its support system to include significant others who are affected by a studentʼs decision to get an abortion.
There are no programs in the immediate area that give young women a chance to share their feelings after an abortion. That is the primary reason why this program was created, and hopefully, it can assist in erasing the stigma that is often placed on students who choose abortions. It also has the potential to ease the feelings of isolation that are often experienced after such a life-changingdecision.
The director of the Womenʼs Center, Robin Garrett, said, “Iʼm so pleased that this is happening because out of the thousands of students that attend West Chester, hundreds may have gotten an abortion. Itʼs never an easy decision and I know they would appreciate someone to talk to.” Studentscan be reassured that thereis no moral or political agenda associated with this program so there should be no fear of judgment from either the professionals or the university. The model that will be used to provide support is called “exhale.”
It is taken from a California-based agency that also provides these types of services to women. The manual that is the basis for “exhale” is the main teaching tool, and it can be a valuable resource to not only the counselors but also fellow students.
If anyone is interested in becoming more skilled in dealing with the emotional effects of abortions, the graduate interns are more than willing to provide information from the “exhale” manual. This could be of particular interest to RAs or other students who take leadership or supportive roles on campus. All services will take place in the Womenʼs Center which is located on the second floor of Lawrence. Any interested students should call the Womenʼs Center at 610-436-2122.
These services are free to WCU students and are completely confidential. Anyone who has not had an abortion but is considering one is welcomed to gain information and support from this program.