Today, we celebrate 15 years of the All-Options Talkline, answering the calls of people across the U.S. and Canada as they navigate some of the most complex decisions, feelings, and experiences of their lives.
As you may already know, the All-Options Talkline offers unbiased, judgement-free support to folks in the full spectrum of pregnancy experiences including pregnancy, abortion, adoption, parenting, miscarriage, after-abortion, and infertility. When someone calls the Talkline, they are connected to one of our Talkline Advocates who have been trained to use an open-hearted approach to peer counseling. They give each caller genuine and thoughtful attention to their feelings, experiences, and world-view and they engage them in a spirit of compassionate curiosity that is heartfelt and authentic. Our advocates insist that there is no need to rush through difficult conversations, but in fact, they strive to honor, hold, and respect the most complicated feelings for all callers.
I often tell advocates that their work is piercing and tearing the fabric of systemic oppression, and I mean it. It may not be the public advocacy work that many people think of when we talk about dismantling systems, but it is providing the 1:1 connection to another human that disrupts the deluge of messaging that sometimes is unrecognizable as oppression. Being a part of identifying and interrupting this for callers is in and of itself, irreverent and revolutionary.
Our Talkline is the only resource of its kind and, for many of our callers, we are the only place they can turn. This means that we also answer calls from folks that are struggling with the many intersections of mental health issues, trauma, IPV/DV/SA, and we also provide support to partners, family members, friends, and community workers. It is not uncommon for advocates to hear things that a caller has never been able to tell anyone else, demonstrating the trust and heartfelt work our advocates are able to offer.
It has been an amazing journey to greatly expand the Talkline this past year by being able to recruit nationally and increase the number of advocates we have on the line. Our Talkline training has become an intensive, virtual model that creates an incredible opportunity for trainees to learn reproductive justice based peer-counseling. The Talkline is open seven days a week, 365 days of the year, and we will continue to expand our services and provide more trainings in 2020 so that we can give more folks the support and care that they need.
On this 15th anniversary, we need a community of supporters committed to helping us sustain the Talkline for the future – because everyone deserves all-options, and everyone deserves respect and open-hearted support. The work we’re doing on the Talkline every day has ripple effects that will work towards creating a more just and loving world. Become a $15 monthly donor to our 15-year anniversary campaign and together, we can continue to provide this invaluable resource to every person who needs it.
— Paulina Guerrero, National Programs Manager