The topic of abortion has only become more complicated in the year since Roe v. Wade was overturned. But the Portland, Maine-based abortion doula and debut author Hannah Matthews is determined to meet everyone who crosses her path—whether at the clinic where she works or in the pages of her new book, You or Someone You Love: Reflections from an Abortion Doula—with support, care, and a lack of judgment about a decision that can be painful and complex, yes, but also freeing and life-affirming.
In You or Someone You Love, Matthews examines a multiplicity of abortion experiences, juxtaposing real abortion stories (including, notably, her own) with an overview of the ever-changing landscape of reproductive health care in the U.S. Read Vogue’s interview with Matthews below.
*__Vogue: __*At what point did you start to think there might be a book in your experience as an abortion doula?
Hannah Matthews: I’ve worked for a clinic since 2017, but as I was working more and more outside of the clinic and doing more community abortion care, rather than clinic-based care, I was like, man, there are a lot of really cool online resource, but I feel like most of the books that are being published are very kind of factual, reported books—which are amazing and incredible, and we need them so much—but I want a book that feels more like a friend talking to me. The conversations I’m having are usually not with folks who are in the repro movement or keeping up with the research and the weirdly hyper-specific laws and medical protocols. Everyone I was supporting through their abortions felt so weird and alone and ashamed, because none of these things were being talked about in a normalizing way. Everyone I was helping was, like, constantly apologizing and feeling like they were a burden or they were making me uncomfortable or they were embarrassed, and I was just like, Okay, we gotta cut this shit out. We have to figure out how to spread that language around so that everyone has access to it and no one’s feeling like, oh, well, I just won’t talk about it because it’s too hard and complicated and will make people too uncomfortable. Then I just honestly tweeted that I wanted write this book, and my incredible agent sent me a DM on Twitter and was like, “Hey, I would love to see a proposal.”
**I know the post-**Roe abortion landscape in the U.S. is literally changing by the day, but what do things look like on the ground for you right now?