Celebrating Abortion Providers, Today and Every Day
This letter was originally posted on the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity blog and republished here with permission.
An Open Letter to Abortion Providers
Today is Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. While many people today are writing letters to thank you for all that you do, you’re at work. Today, you very likely walked past a group of people yelling at you, shaking photoshopped signs intended to intimidate your patients. You probably had hate-filled words hurled at you as you walked from your car into the clinic. You may have even donned a bulletproof vest because you have received death threats many times before.
When these are the obstacles you face just to do your job every day, your job becomes a revolutionary act. To endure bullying, harassment, even violence–against yourself, your staff and your patients–and continue to provide health care, well that makes you a hero.
Abortion providers endure people stalking them at their homes, publishing their personal information online, harassment outside of their clinics and attacks on their ability to provide medical care by politicians. These attacks on clinics and the lives of doctors are a result of the anti-abortion rhetoric and legislation in our state and across our nation.
Like any other doctor, you strive to provide the best possible care to your community with as much compassion and expertise as you can. However, abortion providers, unlike other healthcare professionals, are blatantly singled out by politicians and anti-choice extremists.
We know that recent legislation is, unfortunately, making it more and more difficult for you to do your job. Despite their very limited understanding of the reproductive system–and the law–state legislators rely on misinformation to curb access to abortion for thousands of people.
The recent legislation passed throughout our country are increasingly outlandish and, frankly, dangerous. Every year, the number of regulations grows steadily even though abortion is already one of the most regulated medical procedures.Since 2010, over 1,000 laws have been enacted to restrict abortions. One such law has the potential to set a nationwide precedent, which would drastically affect the ability of millions of people accessing their right to reproductive healthcare.
Right now, the Supreme Court is pondering on the implications of Texas’ House Bill 2. Specifically, they are debating if the requirements within the law present an undue burden for Texans. As the Justices deliberate, you continue working with bated breath because you understand the importance of your work. You’re still bravely performing abortions. You are still doing your job with grace, compassion and tenacity, despite the fact that HB2, and other laws like it, strive to make it almost impossible. This national absurdity would discourage someone else. Yet, you fearlessly persevere. We are in awe of you.
And here’s the thing–you do more than perform abortions. You help people regain a sense of control in their lives. You give them an opportunity to live, grieve and plan their futures in their own way, in their own time. You do all this simply because you trust your patients.
Because of you, millions of people every year are able to exercise their right to bodily autonomy. Because of you, your patients are able to access a medical procedure that is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Your commitment to providing safe abortions without judgment, and with sincere compassion, is a testament to the highest standard of medical care.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for existing. Thank you for being here, every day, no matter what. Thank you for providing abortion care.
Laila Khalili & Lesli-Elsie Simms on behalf of Lilith Fund Board & Staff
If you’d like to show your appreciation and gratitude for abortion providers, you can take part by sending a postcard through the 1 in 3 Campaign.