COVID-19 continues to climb in Texas — social distancing is essential to stop the spread and protect our communities. But what do you do when you’re a young person seeking abortion sitting in a waiting room alone, waiting for your appointment?

That’s why Jane’s Due Process developed our pilot Virtual Abortion Doula. Since 2017 we’ve been using a text
line to connect Texas teens directly with real people who can answer their questions about birth control, abortion, STI testing, and other sexual and reproductive health questions. We’ve learned that teens will also rely on our text line for emotional support — our volunteers have supported young people through pregnancy scares, pregnancy tests, and managing the shame and stigma they sometimes experience around their sexual health. So as we thought about how to show up for young people seeking abortion in this pandemic, we thought: Why not a virtual abortion doula?

We recruited specific volunteers to be available via text, and posted flyers in just a few of the abortion providers’ waiting rooms around the state as a starting point. We’ll be expanding to more soon. Young people (or anyone — it’s open to anyone in the clinic) waiting for their abortion appointment can text the volunteer and chat about anything. They can talk about their feelings and get emotional support, but they can also play games or just make conversation to pass the time. Because it’s a real person answering the texts — same as our text line — the system can respond to exactly what the teen needs to feel safe and supported while they’re at their abortion appointment.

If you’re a teen seeking information about accessing abortion or birth control in Texas, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, text our text line at 866-999-5263 to connect with someone who can help! The text line is completely anonymous.