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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dear Patients,

Maybe I met you years ago or days ago, and maybe I'll meet you tomorrow or years in the future. I hope I made or will make a positive impact on you, but your abortion experience really wasn't or isn't or won't be about me. And that's one of the things I want to say to you. Your abortion is YOURS--your story to tell, your experience to shape. You have no obligation to justify your decision to anyone. You have a right to be informed, even when it means asking uncomfortable questions like, "What happens to the fetus afterward?" You don't need to be sad if you're not, nor do you have to be happy just because you exercised bodily autonomy. We might talk about how we'd like you to be grateful and advocate for others, but my wish is that you will make the choice for you and you will honor yourself and your choice in the best way for YOU. You have every right to be scared, and you also have every right to the safest and most caring healthcare, which is what we want to give you. You are strong enough to do this, whether "this" is having an abortion or not having one. You are allowed to dwell in as many gray areas as you'd like. We, as staff, might bristle when you ask things like, "Are your instruments clean?" but you have a right to wonder and to ask and to use your voice in whatever way you can or want. You do have a voice, but your abortion doesn't have to be a political act, either. You can be selfless or selfish or both at once. You can yell at me or hug me, and I will find some part of you, large or small, to care for. Your privacy is protected and so is your dignity, and we wish for the clinic to be a safe space for you. You might have just one abortion or just fourteen, and there is not a thing wrong with either one. There is nothing wrong with YOU.

Again, this isn't about me. But I want you to know that I don't forget you, and I am so very honored to be a part of your choice, process, justice, and life.

All the best,


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