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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

After reading Monday’s post by About a Girl, I reflected on my own dreams for the future of abortion access.

As a future abortion provider and Ob/Gyn, I feel like it is my duty to provide all services for my patients. I refuse to be that doctor who has to send a patient away for a procedure I am perfectly capable of doing-ie. an abortion. I want to provide comprehensive services to all my female patients-whether that be preventing pregnancy, helping a patient to become pregnant, or terminating a pregnancy. I want to help my patient through whatever stage of life and or whatever situation she finds herself in.

My dream is that all women have this kind of access, this kind of experience. Although abortion clinics are fantastic and much needed, we have managed to segregate abortion. As compared to women’s health services and prenatal care, we have othered abortion. Thus, a woman establishes her care with her Ob/Gyn and seeks all her female needs with that provider. If she has an unintended pregnancy, and determines an abortion is the best option for her, she must go to a strange clinic with new providers and new staff to receive her care. Although, this isn’t always the case, it definitely is the majority. As a culture, we separate abortion from primary women’s health.

If we continue to other abortion, we will continue to stigmatize it. And there is no reason to stigmatize a procedure that 1 in 3 women will receive in her life time.

There is so much work to be done to make this happen: medical, nursing, and PA students need to be taught abortion procedures. Ob/Gyns, internists, family medicine clinicians, and even pediatric residents need to be trained in abortion procedure. Insurance companies and governmental insurance programs need to pay for abortion procedures. Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics should always be available, but when possible, abortions should take place in clinicians’ offices as an available service.

So much to be done, but we can do it together. Let’s make this dream a reality.


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