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.