Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background and history in abortion care
My name is Khashae (Shae) Jackson (she/her/hers) and I’m the creator of K.E.J. Services, LLC, a hub of abortion resources, education and a center for advocacy. I started my abortion journey in 2015 as a pregnant and confused college student. Besides the casual mentioning of abortion in TV shows and movies, I didn’t have a clue of where to go and who was safe for me to ask for help.
That frustrating experience led me to apply for a job at an abortion clinic upon graduation. I started as a part-time associate and absolutely loved making a difference! I wanted to be a walking, talking wealth of knowledge, and in a way, that’s what I became. After three years, I was cross-trained as a health educator and was promoted to Supervisor. Every day, I worked one-on-one with patients to help them complete their paperwork, counsel them on their abortion or contraception options, and sit by their side in the procedure room.
This job informed my knowledge of abortion care from a clinical perspective and also prepared me for a position here at RHAP. As the Organizing and Communications Associate, I assist with RHAP’s social media presence and administratively support the Reproductive Health Access Network. Now, I’m able to make a difference through expanding access to abortion care and dismantling stigma on sexual/reproductive health.
What inspired you to create your business? What was the process like in pulling together all the resources?
As the pandemic hit in 2020, our patient numbers soared and we were far too short-staffed to keep up. My mental and physical health took a toll, and I made the decision to resign from my job at the clinic. For weeks I thought, “What now? What am I supposed to do with everything I’ve learned over the years?” And so I started jotting down every question I’ve been asked from a patient. I figured getting it down on paper was a great start – and the information I wrote down ranged from finances, counseling, and even questions about recovering at home after an abortion.
I remembered how many patients I’d seen arrive at the clinic before sunrise. They’d be worried about making their appointment, anxious about how much money they could pull together, and deeply confused about their options. They’d usually have stacks of crumpled papers used to jot down their research, contacts to abortion funds, or instructions from our counseling session. That reflection is what shaped K.E.J. Services, LLC as a resource center for advocates, patients, and clinicians who may be new to the process of obtaining an abortion. I wanted to create material to help them stay organized and fully prepared for their appointment. In late 2021, I launched a brand-new resource called Exhale: A Self-Help Guide For Your Abortion Experience.
My brand champions abortion and sexual health as sites of liberation, choice, and basic human rights. My vision is to influence a culture of acceptance, education, and discourse on abortion care that informs clinicians of all disciplines and no longer shames the patient for exercising their rights.
Tell us a bit more about the journal and the content within. How do you intend for audiences to use it? Are there any specific areas you’d like to highlight?
Exhale: A Self-Help Guide For Your Abortion Experience is the first of many journals, guides, and educational materials that will be published. It’s true that abortion patients would benefit the most from it, but I also invite clinicians of all disciplines to use it as a resource. I see Exhale introduced to patients who may be asking about an abortion for the very first time, or as a reference tool when counseling. When I needed help as a pregnant college student, there was very little that my physician could tell me – and I’m eager to change that!
Within this journal you will find over 80 questions to get you started, budgeting templates to help you organize your money, and plenty of space to write out the important things. It’s even categorized by each stage of your appointment to make sure that you have all of the answers to the questions you’ve thought of, and maybe some that you haven’t. You’ll also find a section for minors and the top questions to ask when seeking judicial bypass and parental consent.
Many of the questions are written from the first person perspective because the intention is for the reader to ask these questions to a clinic representative, a provider, or even themselves. I envisioned a guide that could provide the answer to every part of this process, but due to the abortion landscape changing from state to state, there was no possible way I could tailor this journal to everyone’s needs. At the end of this journey, I hope you’ve found the right questions to ask, the space to unravel your thoughts and the resources to help direct you.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself, this experience, and Exhale itself?
I’d like everyone to know that each publication, journal, and social media post is created from a place of understanding, acceptance, and passion. Every decision made is fortified by my personal experience as an abortion patient, my knowledge from the abortion clinic and a support system consisting of abortion providers, confidants, and reproductive health badasses!
Next, I look forward to publishing more journals that encourage self-development and emotional health. I’m also working on a helpful guide for patients who are looking to self-manage their abortion. I want it to focus on how to administer the medication and how you’re feeling through the process so that the patient can monitor every symptom.
Where can we get our own copy of Exhale?
Exhale can be found on my website https://www.kejservices.com/marketplace. For your convenience, it’s also available on Amazon! You’re able to purchase from Amazon marketplaces for the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, France and Spain. I’m also on Instagram and Facebook where I post tips and abortion facts for anyone who needs them. Please share with your network or any loved ones that may need some guidance. We’re all in this together!