On Becoming an Abortion Provider
A young woman comes to my office: she’s pregnant, and she wants to discuss her options. In my medical practice, this scenario repeats itself on a daily basis.
Occasionally the patient is a high school student or in college on a sports scholarship. Oftentimes she’s a single mother with several children, her home already bursting at the seams. Sometimes she’s with a partner she knows would not be a good parent to her children. Or often she is married and financially stable, but engaged in a demanding career, or just simply decides that it’s not the right time.
Some of my patients are ambivalent and want me to help them explore options. Others are already certain that they want an abortion.
At the beginning of my medical training, I realized that it was important for me to learn the procedural skills to perform abortions, because abortions were going to continue happening whether they were legal or not. Many women of sound mind and from all walks of life feel having an abortion is so important, that many seek the procedure in unsafe conditions, especially when access is limited.
Some of my friends and family are uncomfortable with abortion because they feel it interferes with a greater plan for the world. After completing my medical training, I have experienced how aggressive we are at participating in and re-making any greater plan in many aspects of medicine. Almost every doctor prescribes medications and performs procedures every day that prolong life by optimizing the health of multiple organ systems. We actively participate in this greater plan every day.
While training in abortion care, I experienced how safe and simple the procedure really is. Afterwards, patients often expressed their surprise at the ease of the procedure. It can be done in an office setting without anesthesia and is no more invasive than placing an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD).
So often, patients have felt unheard, and not been trusted to make decisions about their body. As women especially, we have been told what is right for us over and over again. As a primary care abortion provider, I am able to give that power back to my patients. Their relief is palpable, even just by reassuring them that I hear them and I trust them and that all options are on the table. I went into medicine to be able to provide that kind of compassionate care, and it is incredibly rewarding to be able to do so. Patients express some of the most honest gratitude I’ve experienced.
I am going to continue to provide abortion services because it is one of the most rewarding things I do despite all of the stigma surrounding abortions. Women need this: it’s for them. But, ultimately, working toward a world where we trust and empower and deeply value women: it's for all of us.