We care so much about our communities and the folks we serve

Abortion Diary Entry 167: Leah Coplon, MPH, RN

In this episode, Leah Coplon talks about her path to becoming an abortion care provider, how abortion fits into the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care, what it’s really like in the clinic, and what it means to connect with other independent abortion care providers.

This episode was made in collaboration with Abortion Care Network (ACN) and was recorded at their 2019 annual conference. ACN is a nonprofit membership organization for independent abortion clinics. Independent clinics — like Maine Family Planning, where Leah Coplon works — provide the majority of abortion care in the U.S. ACN provides the staff of those clinics with support, training, and resources.

Leah Coplon MPH, RN is the Program Director at Maine Family Planning, overseeing abortion care and strategizing for innovative ways of reaching rural patients to increase access to abortion, contraception, and transgender health services. Leah worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing at the University of New England. She has practiced full-scope midwifery, worked as a labor and delivery nurse, and has been in the field of reproductive health for over 25 years. Leah received a BA in sociology/anthropology from Carleton College and her BSN from the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, she holds a Master of Science from Philadelphia University and a Master of Public Health from the University of New England and is board certified as a Nurse Midwife with the American College of Nurse Midwives.

(Published on August 19, 2019)

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I want to fill that gap in our community

Abortion Diary Entry 166: Dr. Nikia Grayson

In this episode, Dr. Nikia Grayson talks about her path to becoming a nurse-midwife, commitment to full spectrum reproductive heath care, and the importance of working in and with her community in Memphis, TN.

This episode was made in collaboration with the Abortion Care Network (ACN) and was recorded at their 2019 annual conference. ACN is a national association for independent community-based, abortion clinics. Independent clinics like CHOICES, where Nikia Grayson is a nurse-midwife, care for the majority of people seeking abortion in the U.S. ACN provides the staff of those clinics with support, training, and resources.

Nikia Grayson is a staff nurse-midwife at CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health. She has a deep commitment to providing compassionate, supportive, evidence-based holistic midwifery care to families in Memphis and continuing her career-long work in reproductive health, reproductive justice and birth justice. Nikia’s goal is to give her patients all the options available to them and empower them in their ability to make medical decisions for themselves and their families.

(Published on May 6, 2019)

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no one ever talks about it

Abortion Diary Entry 163: Hunt, 33 (Bossier City, LA 2015)

Hunt shares her experience seeking an abortion in Louisiana. She talks about being lied to at a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC), driving several hours to one of the few remaining abortion clinics in Louisiana, and the lack of affordable medical care in her community. She also shares her experience talking to some of her friends and family about her decision to get an abortion.

(Published on November 17, 2017 | Listener: Melissa Madera | Location: Lafayette, LA)

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I wish mothers told daughters

Abortion Diary Entry 162: Christina F., 35 (Birmingham, AL 2013)

Christina, a single mother, shares her story of seeking an abortion in Alabama.

(Published on October 2, 2017 | Listener: Melissa Madera | Location: Tuscaloosa, AL)

The Abortion Diary is free, but it takes money to keep it that way.

Help us continue our work and share our stories by donating now or becoming our patron on Patreon.

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i was so hungry for other people’s stories

Abortion Diary Entry 120A & B: Abby, 29 (Harrisburg, PA 2013)

Abby shares her abortion story, and the poetry and prose she wrote about her abortion experience.  You can buy Abby’s book of poetry, Plant Light, Dress Light, from Dancing Girl Press.

(Published on December 17, 2015 | Listener: Melissa Madera | Location: Aaronsburg, PA)

Abby’s Story:

Abby’s Poetry:

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my first encounter

Sex education in my high school consisted of a simulated baby and scary pictures of sexually transmitted diseases;  both negative consequences of having sex. The simulated baby would cry, require feeding and diaper changes.  At the time, I assumed that the simulated baby was a tactic to teach us not to have sex and how difficult it would be to have a kid at the age of 16.  However, methods to protect ourselves against STDs or how to prevent pregnancy were never discussed.  Moreover, what happened when one did become pregnant, what it meant to continue a pregnancy or terminate one were also never discussed.  I knew there had to be more to sex than virtual babies and frightening STD stories.  It was obvious to me that people were having sex in high school.  I learned about “real” sex from talking to my classmates in locker rooms, glossing over articles in Cosmopolitan Magazine and sharing Harlequin novels.   But even in those conversations we never talked about abortion. I can’t exactly remember my feelings regarding abortion; I just remember that I wasn’t for it or against it.

My feelings about abortion changed my last year of high school.  A friend of mine found out she was pregnant and wanted to terminate her pregnancy.  She asked me to drive her to the clinic and, of course, I said yes.  I remember that while walking into the clinic, a group of people holding signs and screaming at us stood on the other side.   They were taunting anyone who walked into the clinic.  I was immediately disgusted that there was a group of people berating women and making them feel guilty for making the decision to terminate their pregnancy.  I stayed with my friend for the remainder of the day to provide her with support.

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The faces of abortion

When you think of someone who has had an abortion, what comes to mind?  For many people the first images that might come to mind may be of someone who is promiscuous, selfish, young, single, and/or irresponsible.

Samantha’s story highlights that there is not one image of WHO gets an abortion and the difficulty in choosing an abortion when that choice comes with society’s stereotypes. When Samantha shared with others that she was getting an abortion, some people questioned her; asking her, “Why are you getting an abortion? Aren’t you marrying this guy?” Samantha’s decision to obtain an abortion was seemingly unexpected since she didn’t fit the stereotype.  The media doesn’t portray images of individuals like Samantha getting an abortion.  Even Samantha herself didn’t think that she would ever choose to get an abortion.  Many people in Samantha’s life believed that she should have felt happy that she was pregnant since she was in a committed relationship.  However, Samantha made a different choice for herself.  She chose to have an abortion in order to live the life she was creating for herself.  Samantha and many women like her should have the opportunity to make this choice.  This choice could mean continuing a pregnancy or it could mean terminating one.

In her story, Samantha also shared that she struggled with that lies she would need to tell her co-workers since she didn’t want to tell them that she was obtaining an abortion. Abortion is not something that is openly talked about, especially in the workplace. So it is understandable that Samantha felt conflicted about sharing her personal choice to have an abortion with her co-workers.  When I listened to Samantha’s story, I asked myself, why is there a silence around abortion if abortions are happening on a daily basis?  Why is the word abortion still a “dirty” word?  How can something so common be so taboo?  I wondered about the reaction that Samantha would have received if she had been more candid about choosing to get an abortion. Surprised?  Supportive? Angry?

While I believe that we should be discussing abortions more frequently, isn’t this a private matter that is decided on and done behind closed doors?  Yet by listening to Samantha’s story, what I came to understand was the importance of not feeling alone and of talking honestly about making the choice to obtain an abortion.  What if her experience was normalized?  What if she had felt comforted, understood, and supported? Think of how many other people have probably felt like Samantha.  Through the sharing of abortion stories,  people may start to feel safe enough to share their experiences with loved ones, friends and other people in their lives. When people start sharing their stories on public platforms, such as The Abortion Diary, and we all start listening, we can all make a difference in experiences of people who choose to have an abortion.

stay sharing. be daring.


Listen to Samantha’s story here.

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