Here you will find stories of individuals who have dedicated their lives to making abortion safe, legal, healthy, and accessible to women and girls. These people may be nurses, counselors, escorts, volunteers at abortion funds, or abortion doctors themselves. You will not see the faces of these providers to protect their safety. What you will see is the story they decide to share - how they came to abortion work, what their function is at their abortion clinic, or their personal abortion story. We want to humanize these individuals to convey the kindness, courtesy, justice, love, and respect they have for women and the health care choices women make. We share our stories in hopes of ending clinic violence, to alleviate the shame associated with the abortion experience, and as an homage to Dr. Tiller's outstanding and courageous life work.
Please respect this space as one of compassion, dignity and love. We do not cover our faces out of shame. We do so to recognize an unfortunate aspect of the lives of abortion providers -- we must always be wary of our safety. No one knew this better than Dr. Tiller.
I live in the most conservative state in the west and grew up in a Mormon, fundamentalist, conservative home. I was raised to believe all the “expected” messages about abortion and was taught to be very judgmental towards women who chose to be sexual, free and unapologetic. I believed I was Pro Life because of all of the terrible things I had heard about abortion and the types of women that had abortions.
It wasn’t until I myself became sexually active when I was almost 18 yrs old that I began to understand the impact of sex and sexuality for a woman. Women, by design, face choices that are extremely individual, private and dare I say-sacred. We do bear an enormous responsibility when it comes to decisions that are made regarding birth control, pregnancy, family and parenthood. Boom-I suddenly became Pro Choice because I knew that if my birth control ever failed that I would be kicked out of my home, sent to live with a Mormon “foster” family for pregnant girls and forced to have a baby that would be placed for adoption whether I wanted to be a mother or not.
I was 25 years old when my step mother told me about the abortion she had when she was 17 in 1963. Abortion was illegal. Luckily for her she comes from a wealthy family and her uncle was a Dr that provided documentation that she had been exposed to small pox during her first trimester which would allow her (if she could find a provider) an abortion-hopefully. She and my grandmother flew from Louisiana to Sacramento, California to see a Dr they have never spoken to in hopes that he would refer them to someone that could help them. When they got to his office he was angry and adamant that he knew NOTHING about abortion or providers and to leave his office immediately. They went back to the hotel, stunned and devastated. Then the phone rang. It was the Dr they just met and he was calling from a pay phone. He apologized for the way he treated them and explained that his office was bugged and under FBI surveillance and that he DID know where they could go but that they would have to leave now. He directed them to a tiny motel on the California/Mexico border. He told them that when they checked in to ask for a specific person that would give them a bag of clothing and instructions on what to do next. They drove all night and arrived at the dirty, cheap motel early that morning. They checked in and received the bag of clothing with the instructions to get dressed and that a car would be there shortly to pick them up. The clothes were old, scrappy rags and included a handkerchief that my step mother was to use to cover her hair-she was disguised as a young, Hispanic migrant farm worker. A station wagon arrived and picked up at least 10 young girls, all dressed in disguise and they were driven across the border into Mexico to a medical complex. She was approximately 25 weeks pregnant and the procedure was agonizing. None of the girls were given anesthesia because if something were to go “wrong” or if the office was raided, they couldn’t risk having a room full of white girls knocked out and unable to run out. My step mother hemorrhaged and had to undergo a rudimentary D&C-again, with no anesthesia or sedatives. The cost of the abortion was almost $5,000 which by today’s standards is like $20,000. The station wagon came back that evening and picked up the girls, drove back to the motel and dropped everyone off. No medical care was provided, no medications were offered and no follow up was available. She had no idea if she would ever stop bleeding or if she might get an infection and die. This was abortion before Roe.
When I became a divorced, single mom I went back to school and ended up serving an internship with Planned Parenthood. This led to a job offer and I spent 5 years as a reproductive health counselor, community educator and staff training coordinator. During my time with PP I encountered nearly every possible client situation. This led me to the realization that while I considered myself a pro-choice woman, the only experience I had with abortion was from the shock pictures and videos on the internet and my step mother’s experience nearly 3 decades earlier. I decided to volunteer at one of the local abortion clinics in Salt Lake City.
As I entered the clinic I understood that there was a very real possibility that what I saw that day may cause me to change my mind as to whether or not I supported abortion rights and believe it or not, I was ok with the possibility that I may change my mind. I have always been open minded re. both sides of the abortion issue. I was nervous but I firmly believed that I owed it to my clients to know, without a shadow of a doubt, where I stood. I needed to know that I was honest and trustworthy when I said that I supported her right to choose. I believe my clients deserved that. As I entered the clinic in my scrubs I was immediately told that they next time I came, PLEASE don’t wear scrubs because it easily identified the medical professionals that worked at the clinic and thus provided an easy target for anti-choicers that may want to hurt or kill us. I was stunned. It never occurred to me that I could be killed for supporting reproductive choice. It sent a chill up my spine.
What I experienced in clinic that day was heart wrenching. The clients were scared and nervous but also grateful. The “shock” media images I had seen in the past never entered my mind. I was focused on serving the client-serving her future, supporting her very personal decision. I encountered a woman whose birth control pills failed, another whose EC failed and a young couple that had found out (yet again) that their planned and wanted pregnancy was doomed with life threatening genetic anomalies that were not compatible with life. She had already spontaneously miscarried a pregnancy at 6 months due to the same genetic issues and they decided together that they could not emotionally deal with another tragedy like this. After spending the day with clients I left even MORE resolved in my support for choice. I returned several more times to volunteer as a recovery room support person…..talking with women before their abortion, holding their hand during the abortion, wiping away their tears and attending to their needs after the abortion. One of the clients actually came to see me at my Planned Parenthood clinic and brought me a gift. She said my support and kindness had made all the difference for her. She was grateful I took the time to just be with her.
I just recently moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and have spend some time at a clinic owned and operated by Dr Curtis Boyd; a peer of Dr. Tiller’s. I will continue to work for women and for choice. I am raising my daughter to understand and respect herself and other women. She will never be taught the bigoted and hateful things I was taught. She knows what abortion is and why it is something that has to be protected. I am proud to be raising a daughter that will carry the mission of reproductive choice.
We are Dr. Tiller.
I am a student in a very conservative area where women are not likely to receive the care they need in the event of an unwanted pregnancy. I discovered this personally when I found myself pregnant three years ago. After taking the pill to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, I developed complications which local hospitals refused to treat, as there was still human chorionic gonadotropin in my blood. This means, in the eyes of the doctors treating me, I was still pregnant, and in order to have an abortion in Missouri, you must wait 24 hours. No one wanted to take care of the products of conception remaining in my uterus, which caused an infection.
I am lucky. I was able to return early to the clinic where I was given the medication to terminate the pregnancy. They were able to treat me, and I am still fertile, should I decide, on my terms, to have another child.
My career goals have changed due to this. Women who have been brave enough to share their own stories with me all say one thing: they wanted someone to stand beside them. Some of them had support; unfortunately, many didn’t. It is my intention now to continue my education in nursing so that I may specialize in gynecological care and work in an abortion clinic where, at least in some capacity, I may be an advocate to women just like those I spoke to, to women just like myself.
So often these women have no advocate, and they are left feeling alone and scared during a time when they need support. Many of these women have spouses who do not know they are terminating a pregnancy because they are in abusive situations where pregnancy is forced on them. Many of these women have friends who are so vehemently against their choice to terminate that the friendship is lost. In any case, what I want to provide is a hand, an ear, and a shoulder. I want the women whom I will care for in my capacity as a nurse to know that I am their advocate, that I respect and support not only their choice but THEM.
This is why I am Dr. Tiller.
When I was teaching in a low-income inner-city high school in Texas, I saw too many of my students leaving school to have babies. The girls would miss class here and there for their doctor’s appointments, then as their pregnancy progressed they would attend school with decreasing frequency, until finally they stopped showing up altogether. Some girls would come back to school after they had the baby; some wouldn’t ever return. One of my students had two children by the time she was in tenth grade. I saw future after future destroyed, and it was devastating. Texas law does not permit minors to obtain an abortion without their parents’ permission. There was no “choice” for these girls, many of them coming from impoverished Catholic families who would not have supported terminating the pregnancy.
I decided during my time teaching that I would strive to be a champion for reproductive justice for all women. I applied to medical school and am now in my third year, getting ready to apply to a residency program in Obstetrics & Gynecology. I aspire to eventually complete a fellowship in Family Planning. My experiences in med school have only strengthened my convictions; I have seen first hand how abortion and contraception are a vital part of high quality health care. In today’s political climate, where Republicans have launched a war on women’s health, I am more determined than ever to be the best provider I can be.
Every time I hear a conservative lamenting the evils of abortion and contraception, I just smile and remind myself of all of the women I will serve in my lifetime, whose lives will be improved because of the control they have over their fertility.
I am (or will be) Dr. Tiller.
I’m a medical student doing a summer program with Medical Students For Choice, and I’m blogging about my experience here.
It has been fantastic in so many ways to do this work. I come in early every day I’m there to escort patients past the protestors. Every friend I’ve brought in to escort with me has found it just as empowering as I have and come back to keep escorting.
Inside the clinic, I’m surrounded by people who are committed to abortion access. They understand the high bar and the dire need for patient comfort. Best of all, they’re all enthusiastic about teaching me.
Whatever field of medicine I go into, the surgical experience will be valuable, and I’ll be better able to serve those patients of mine who have undergone or will undergo one of the most common surgeries in the country.
I am Dr. Tiller.
I started at the clinic in 2007 as the Administrative Assistant and have since moved into the position of Risk Manager. Having an administrative background at the clinic for a few years I felt that I would be adequately prepared for doing paperwork, keeping employees up to date with certifications and training and helping to do state reports of complications and taking emergency calls.
However, in the last few months, in the wake of the Gosnell tragedy, I have found my job to be more political, detailed, and sometimes difficult than I could have imagined. The state’s new regulations regarding Serious Event reporting and clinic inspections has caused a lot of confusion on the part of good clinics and the DOH alike. I feel like it creates more problems with patient confidentiality. The rules, to an extent, are so vague that we are always wondering if we are doing too much or too little. We have had to change policies several times, have been bombarded with questions that we don’t feel have anything to do with patient safety and the staff is on edge whenever the inspectors come in (not to mention this can disrupt patient flow if the doctor needs to be pulled away for questions). Of course, I always do and always will continue to make these changes and and follow policies accordingly with a smile on my face because it’s what I believe in. It needs to be done and it needs to be done with passion, compassion, and belief that this fight will continue.
I am motivated by so many things in my profession. From a simple thank you over the phone to a hug from a patient to the anti-choice faction standing outside telling me to “get a real job.” All of these things make me want to go to work everyday and wonder what else I can do to make not only the patients, but my co-worker’s day a little bit better. The women that I work with motivate me to constantly do more and more and keep learning. I was never told that abortion wasn’t an option, I was never told NOT to do this and now I know it’s exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. I hope one day to branch out and help with more causes as well.
We have an entourage of regular protesters here pretty much on a daily basis, there are usually quite a few more on Saturdays. It’s sad to say that I’ve gotten immune to their commentary, but I have. Besides they say the same 5 things over and over. They carry their signs and hand out their literature and speak their anti sentiments, but it no longer bothers me.
When I first began here one of our protesters specifically targeted me and said something unforgivably about my 4 year old brother that had passed away. In my mind I feel like I vowed vengeance…but the best vengeance is continuing to do my job despite whatever they throw at me. I have been followed into bathrooms at clinic sponsored events by protesters, and been ridiculed for making pro-choice speeches…and I say…so what? Bring it on, it only makes stronger.
I wish that they didn’t scare the patients and I do my best to make patients aware and comfortable on the phone when speaking about protesters and sometimes it helps to make a joke out of it. If I feel a patient is having a particularly tough time and that their good experience may be hindered by protesters, I try to counsel them over the phone about walking in the door empowered and leaving proud that they made a choice and no one made it for them. They love the fact that we have volunteer escorts who arrive rain or shine and are incredibly relieved when they are given this information.
I recently had a patient who was a young girl, about 19, with a slight mental handicap. She and her mother called the clinic several times to ask questions and since I had given them my name on the initial call, I probably spoke with them about 10 times before they even came in. They asked all of the most logical questions about our services and had a bit of trouble with scheduling, but they were so patient and so nice and worked with us without complaint to come in for the appointment. I was at a conference on the day that this patient was actually seen and never got to meet her face to face. About a week after her appointment I received a call from the patient’s mother who had questions about post-abortion symptoms. When she found out it was me on the phone she was so grateful and thanked me for doing my job and fighting for choice. I spoke with the patient a few days later to check in on her and she was so happy with her experience and that things had turned out ok. The patient and her mother were able to learn from her experience and what it means to have a choice. I wrote them a letter a few days later to say thank you and I was sorry I never got to meet them in person.
Non-abortion medical providers and community members alike need to speak out about the outrageous rules and amendments that are being passed that are limiting patient’s resources for good medical care in regards to abortion services. A lot of providers are happy to refer to our clinic for services, but very few speak out about having a choice. They don’t understand what it’s like to go to a doctor for a simple medical procedure and be harassed and intimidated and maybe even put down by your family and friends. They walk through the doors of their offices every day without so much as a second thought. They don’t need to look behind them. Abortion needs to be normalized and understood and right now we are far from that. The more physicians and nurses that speak out, the better. Clinics are seen as bad, dirty, or evil places and to be honest, I only see love and compassion when I walk in these doors. We are not asking for money, we don’t ask for these people to come work with us, but verbal support and activism are the first step.
“Ministry” is a word owned by religion generally, Christianity specifically. Look it up in your dictionary of choice and you’ll see ministry (of the non-government sort) defined as a function of religion – not of plain old civility, goodwill, humanitarianism, nor any other “-isms”, “-ologies” or “-osophies.” Ministry is by definition outreach or action in some way associated with, motivated by, or stemming from religion.
Having lived and breathed evangelical Christianity from childhood until my mid-twenties, I understood ministry as the New Testament directive to emulate Jesus by following His example of service, sacrifice, and caring for others. Since breaking up with Jesus almost 15 years ago and relegating the whole question of God’s existence as SEP (somebody else’s problem), I inexorably shifted from identifying as a “prolifer” to becoming an unabashed advocate of reproductive freedom and abortion access. I then took up escorting for a women’s clinic some 5 years ago, originally motivated to do so as a way to walk-the-talk on my pro-choice philosophy.
From my first shift experiencing protesters shouting at, threatening, humiliating, and shaming patients walking the interminably long walk from the end of the block to the doors of the clinic, I discovered that rather than feeling some detached self-satisfaction about living-my-principles, I instead felt an instant, fierce and personal protectiveness towards the patients and their partners, friends, family, and others coming into the clinic. I mean, I didn’t even know these people – the patients and their companions – but you would have thought they were my own BFFs or sisters or brothers being harassed and humiliated on that sidewalk. Five years later I feel just as fiercely protective and vigilant about each and every one of them who walks down that sidewalk treated to such indignity and abuse by protesters who claim to be “ministering.”
Charley is a protester at the clinic with whom I have an exceptional relationship. “Exceptional” as in he’s the exception to my otherwise standing policy of not conversing or interacting with protesters. As any clinic escort knows – engaging with clinic protesters generally is at best an exercise in futility, and at worst a distraction from the primary purpose of serving the patients for whom we’re there in the first place. The singular reason for my interacting with Charley at all is his openness to genuinely hearing my criticisms of his behavior and his willingness to modify some of his actions and tactics accordingly.
Now it may seem a distinction without a difference when, for example, I’ve convinced Charley to use his inside voice to try to engage the patients instead of his usual shouting-such-to-be-heard-over-a-death-metal-concert volume. However to a patient – such a difference in a protester’s manner can mean the difference between their walk into the clinic being a highly emotionally/psychologically upsetting experience and a merely irritating one. And while some might say the only real “victory” on the sidewalks of our clinics would be for the protesters to be banished entirely (and I wouldn’t disagree), short of that I’ve learned to look for ways of achieving small degrees of meaningful victory for patients in that gray-scale between the all and nothing.
Which brings me back to ministry. In a conversation with Charley early on, I put it like this: “Ideology and politics are what got me out here on the sidewalk in the first place, but what keeps me coming back is that this is my way of ministering to women, it’s my way of manifesting God’s love in the world.” Now some might question the honesty of a now-agnostic/atheist co-opting the inside-baseball vernacular of my former faith-community in communicating with protesters, and a more thorough exploration of the ethics and honesty in doing so is worthy of its own post another day.
My short answer is that I’m done with evangelicals getting away with the claim of exclusive ownership of love, compassion and taking care of one’s fellow humans, or that it’s only through Jesus that such motivation and emotion are even possible. These notions originated neither from Jesus, nor God, nor unicorns nor any other mythological entity – they are, beautifully, human-originated emotions, choices and behaviors. And if I need use evangelicals’ own language – the native language of my own experience – as the framework for meaningful dialogue between me and a protester, I feel no ethical dilemma; hey it’s my language too.
As it turns out, sharing my ministry assertions with Charley are what opened some genuine channels of communication between him and me. It seems no escorts or abortion-associated folks had ever pulled the “yeah – well I’m a Christian too” card on him before, and it took a whole lot of the God’s-totally-on-my-side wind out of his sails. It also seemed to really click for him that I am at least as passionate and ministry-minded in escorting women into a clinic for their abortions as he thinks he is trying to talk them out of going through with it. Turning some Christian lingo back on Charley provided a bridge for him to hear and respond to my criticisms, and for him to recognize that Jesus wasn’t necessarily best served, say, by shouting at patients and to change his behavior accordingly.
One of the glorious aspects of not-the-Queen’s English is the malleability of words and their meanings through co-opting, repetition, new contexts and simple meme-ery, as well as deliberate taking-back or taking-over of words when we find fault with associated history, connotations, flavor or another group’s claimed ownership of a word. Ministry is such a word for me. It may have started out as a word signifying an action or expression of one’s faith, but I assert that ministry irrespective of faith is exactly the right word for what motivates legions of us within the abortion/reproductive healthcare realm to do what we do every day.
Ministry – it’s not just for the religiously-motivated anymore.
Dr. Tiller was murdered a little over a month after I started working with Planned Parenthood. I’m not going to lie; I was terrified to go to work. I had been apprehensive about my new position within a clinic that provided abortion services to begin with, but when he was killed, I began to get really scared. I wasn’t anxious in the “oh man, what if people judge me for assisting with abortions” sort of way, but rather in the “am I going to come to work one day and leave in a body bag” way.
My first job with the office was in high school, doing tech support, ghost cloning hard drives, and generally troubleshooting for the practice. As I got older, I started working for them as a receptionist and completely loathed it. Sure, I have a great “phone voice” and interact well with people, but I wanted to be involved in the “action.” So, as I got older, I was trained to work as a medical assistant and phlebotomist in the practice, and really loved what I did. This is what eventually spurred me to go on to become an EMT and go to nursing school.
So, when I was offered a position at Planned Parenthood, I was happy to take it. I was going to be working in the clinic as a medical assistant and phlebotomist, working with women who were seeking birth control, prenatal care, pap smears, and *gulp* abortion. Please don’t misunderstand. I had always been pro-choice, but being in favor of reproductive freedom is one thing; being a part of abortion care is something completely different.
So, when news of Dr. Tiller’s slaying flashed across my television screen, my stomach dropped. Here I am, 19 years old, and thinking about the fact that at 8:00am the next morning I’ll be driving past a group of protesters, some of whom may or may not want my coworkers and I to end up like Dr. Tiller. I went into work that next morning nervous and ready to tender my resignation. “Terribly sorry,” I’d say, “but I’m just not willing to risk my life to work here.” They’d understand, right?
I don’t know how I didn’t notice the plaque before that day, but for some reason it was staring me straight in the face that morning. I know it wasn’t put there in memory of Dr. Tiller, because I was the one opening the clinic that day and no one had been there since the news of his death had spread. I don’t tend to believe in “signs,” but I don’t know how else to interpret it. There it was in our break room, mounted on the wall next to the refrigerator. In bold blue ink, the plate read “’They may define the way I die, but they will not the way I live.’ –Dr. George Tiller.”
Well, that was it. How the hell could I turn my back on this clinic now? Years after Dr. Tiller spoke those words, they gave some college girl the courage to stand by what she believed and not let the anti-choicers intimidate her out of what was possibly the most important job she had ever had.
A few months later, I got promoted from simply being a clinic assistant (taking blood pressures, giving injections, etc.) to also being an abortion assitant, where I was in the room assisting the doctor with procedures. Again, when I was put in this position, I was terrified. Perhaps I’d be targeted more, now that the antis could claim there was “blood on my hands,” or some other form of ridiculous rhetoric. I almost didn’t accept the job because I was so anxious.
But my first morning in the new position, and every morning since, I looked in the mirror and reminded myself that they will not define the way I live.
Perhaps that’s what prompted me to start my blog; I feel the need to share my experiences with people who may be searching for the courage they need to find in their own lives. So, if you’re reading this, and you need someone to tell you that it really is worth it to stand by what you believe, take this as your “sign”; I was lucky enough to have one, and I am forever thankful for it.
I grew up Baptist. I parroted that abortion was murder and homosexuality was a sin without having the slightest experience with either topic. Sixteen was my age of reason. A pastor reduced my gay friend to tears and I began to realize that the Church was not the loving entity it seemed to be, and the people in it were about as far from living like Christ as one could get. It was the turning point that led me to leave the Church. A wise man later told me that the first step to becoming an adult is letting go of all of the beliefs that you were conditioned with, analyzing situations and facts, and making up your own mind. I feel that this was my shift into adulthood.
Though I’d been subject to a “pro life” assembly at my public school in junior high that I had walked out of because I sensed that the information being provided was largely false or highly exaggerated, I didn’t give much interest to the abortion debate until later in my teenage years. I had a close friend, I was two years her senior. I didn’t particularly agree with her lifestyle and I couldn’t always talk her out of bad decisions, but I tried to protect her the best I could. I found after a few months of close friendship that a lot of her destructive behavior was brought on by her abusive father. The abuse was reported but couldn’t be proved, so it only worsened.
My friends parents were gone the night she had called me, begging me to come over after several months of not talking to me. The second I walked into her bedroom, I gasped and my heart started racing. I will never forget the vision of her halfheartedly slumped against her bed. There was blood everywhere along with several puddles of vomit. At first I thought she had slit her wrists, but I saw no gashes. Plus the majority of the blood was on her jeans, and the comforter on her bed. A bit was on her fingers, and smudged across her face. It was like something I only imagined I would see in a horror movie. She looked up at me with pupils that were tiny little specs, her lips tinged with blue. Apparently, she didn’t remember calling me because she had no idea why I was there. After my split second of shock, I fell to my knees at her side and grabbed her hand. It was cold and clammy, and her breathing was frighteningly shallow. I called 911. They had me stay on the phone until they arrived. A minute or two before the ambulance pulled up, she began convulsing. They had me check her pulse, which was faint and seemingly fading. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that these were the last moments I would ever see her. I stroked her hair, held her hand, and talked to her, though she wasn’t really responsive. Later that night, I found out from a mutual friend that she had found out she was pregnant. Since she was a minor, parental consent was involved to obtain an abortion. Besides, the closest clinic was nearly four hours away. She had tried to talk to a friend’s parent, who got her the court papers and tried to help convince the judge to grant a bypass. He denied it, saying it would only be granted if she could prove the abuse. As she had already painfully learned, this was impossible. So she did the next best thing; she stole a fifth of vodka and her step mom’s Percocet.
I saved my friends life that night and vowed to fight for justice so that no friend would ever have to witness what I did and no woman would ever have to experience what she did. And so I have. I have lobbied my legislators to protect women’s reproductive rights and have worked to elect pro choice representatives nationwide. I have volunteered on the front lines of the debate as a clinic escort. I have stood in the pouring rain to ensure that every woman could enter my clinic and make the choice that she felt was best for her. I have had holy water thrown on me and have been called every vile name in the book, but still I trudged forward. I have helped women who felt coerced obtain resources to parent or place for adoption. I have counseled women, even held their hand while they cried after an abortion. I am a volunteer support specialist for women who experience complicated emotions after an abortion. I had an abortion and I have no shame in sharing my story. Now that I am ready, I am a proud mommy-to-be, starting a family by choice, not by chance.
I may not have a medical degree. I may not perform the surgeries (though I have witnessed several.) But I have dedicated my life to protecting the rights of my fellow women and giving them the opportunity they were promised upon being born into this country: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I am Dr.Tiller.
I recently saw a quote from a president of a I hate women and their reproductive freedom organization. The quote goes as follows: “No one goes to medical school with the intent of working in a Planned Parenthood or some other abortion clinic.”
I love (actually hate) when anti-choicers make such blatantly false blanket statements as if they have any knowledge of this particular topic.
The truth is, many people go to medical school for the purpose of becoming abortion providers, as well as all-encompassing women’s health care providers. I am one of those people. I knew before medical school that I wanted to offer abortion services in my practice, and I was determined to get trained during medical school and pursue a residency that would train me to be a competent women’s health care provider.
I’m sure Mr. Wrong would like to believe that we reluctantly step into the abortion provider role because no one else will, or because we are after the money (which isn’t there) or because we like being harassed by psychos. The truth is, we believe abortion is a right and each woman should have the chance to make an informed decision among all her options. I believe that I can only be a good physician to my patients if I offer them all services surrounding their reproductive freedom, not just some.
Unfortunately for Mr. Wrong, there are more and more of us each year. Not all of us enter medical school with the hopes of having the honor to serve women in this way, but many more of us are leaving medical school with that very ambition. This is especially thanks to organizations like Medical Students for Choice and certain residency programs that support medical students throughout their years in medical school and beyond.
Sorry, Mr. Wrong. We are here to stay, and I would be honored to work in a “Planned Parenthood or some other abortion clinic” one day.
I am Dr. Tiller.