Abortion doula pivots after new 12-week ban in North Carolina: NPR
Jessica Tezak for NPR
Ash Williams has been on the front line for reproductive health in her state. Now another challenge presents itself.
Who is he? Williams is an abortion doula based in North Carolina.
- An abortion doula provides support to clients throughout the process of ending pregnancy. North Carolina has been a haven in the South for people to receive reproductive health care last year.
- Ash spoke to NPR’s Destinee Williams last year following the cancellation of Roe v. Wade about his job and how things were going to change.
- As a black transgender man, who has had two abortions himself, Williams prioritizes inclusivity and accessibility in the care he provides.
Why is it happening? North Carolina, where Williams works and lives, joins several other GOP-led states in moving toward restricting abortion access.
- This week, the Republican supermajority in the state legislature assured that a ban on most abortions after 12 weeks would become law in NC
- This overruled Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.
- Tricia Cotham, a Republican House member from North Carolina, campaigned on pro-choice values as a Democrat, then switched parties after winning her election – a move that angered her constituents and d other politicians in his state. .
What does she say? Ash spoke with NPR’s Ari Shapiro about what his job entails and how this 12-week ban has impacted his job.
On what an abortion doula does:
An abortion doula is someone who provides emotional, informational, and, when consenting, physical support before, during, and after an abortion.
Being a transgender person, it’s really important to me to be able to provide gender-neutral care to the people I serve.
And I also fund people’s abortions. So anything from letting people know what clinics they can go to, where they can actually get care, to explaining the sedation options to them, and then going out and doing what’s needed to find and then increase access to all the things someone needs as it relates to abortion.
On the purpose behind her work as a doula and training other abortion doulas:
I do this work because there are other trans people who have abortions and they too deserve to have the best abortions possible.
I really sit at this intersection of trans justice and abortion access. And I believe that if we focus on this intersection, we will ensure that people of all genders have increased access to all types of reproductive care.
Want to know more about the right to abortion? Listen consider this about the Texas lawyer behind the so-called “bounty hunter” abortion ban.
On the impact of the 12-week ban, and how it will change his job:
I have a lot more work to do now. I also make sure that my work extends beyond the state of North Carolina because so many people try to access care here from out of state. And so I want to be able to serve those people too.
The pragmatic part of my brain says we need to make sure they can have the best abortion possible. And that means we have to look at travel. And so I’m going to work with my partners and I’m going to work with other organizers to get people out of the state of North Carolina if necessary. I am also increasing access to information on self-managed abortion through medication at this time.
In many ways, I feel very prepared. I’ve always tried to figure out how to get someone to their date from a rural location. I’ve always tried to figure out how to turn a nickel into $500 for someone’s date. I’m going to have to rely on the years of organizing before Roe’s downfall to really know what to do at this point.
So what now?
- The 12-week ban in North Carolina is set to begin July 1.
- Abortion continues to be a hot topic for upcoming elections across the country.