Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Othering Abortion

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.


  1. Thank you for this. Thank you for being a future provider that will not stigmatize abortion. I have had doctors who say they're pro choice but don't provide abortions services for their patients. I wonder why. I don't know about the training involved, and maybe they have a good reason, but still. I wonder if abortion services will ever be a part of mainstream health care.

  2. Excellent post.

    Unfortunately, politicians have succeeded in making abortion something ugly. I would not be surprised if there were laws in place that prevent Ob/Gyns from providing abortion as a service without first jumping through impossible hoops; also, when you provide abortions, you become a target. Thanks to Operation Rescue and other terrorist groups like them, I can see why doctors would prefer to avoid that, for themselves and their patients, which forces women to seek this basic service elsewhere.


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.