We host “Papaya Workshops” all the time. Usually, the workshops are for clinicians, students, or allies, but we thought it would be great to offer our donors a chance to experience a papaya workshop. Not only would they learn more about abortion care, but they’d see our approach to teaching and patient-centered counseling in action.
We invited all of our New York City area donors to attend a papaya workshop on March 27th, but capped attendance at 15 – the most we can comfortably fit around our conference table! Dr. Kelly Kirkpatrick, one of our New York fellows, led the workshop and our Development Officer, Nushin Bhimani, filled in as a patient with an unintended pregnancy during the role-play portion of the workshop.
All of our workshops typically follow this format: Introduction to patient-centered options counseling. This is how we model non-judgemental discussion of pregnancy options for patients experiencing an unwanted pregnancy and provide an overview of early abortion options. In our role-play, the patient ends up choosing an aspiration abortion. At that point, we explain the procedure as we would to a patient, and then follow that with a demonstration of the procedure on a papaya using a manual vacuum aspirator.
We take plenty of questions and then give folks a chance to use the instruments.
Everyone was fascinated! We bought enough papayas so that everyone would have a chance to try out the instruments. We had a lively discussion about training, legislation, and access. It really brought home for the attendees that abortion care, especially early abortion care, is a simple, safe procedure. And, they have a deeper understanding of the role clinicians play in making patients feel accepted and supported in whatever decision they make regarding their pregnancy plans.
We will be hosting papaya workshops all around the country. If you would like to host one, let us know. We believe that these workshops are an excellent way to de-stigmatize abortion care and provide an overview of abortion care in the U.S.