Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moving On

I am grateful for Sparky's last post about "Dr. Rude." I, too, have run into a Dr. Rude, and it's so not fun.

What I - sadly - feel of more often is the need to advocate for patients within my own clinic. It's true that many clinics are suffering across the country. Most are seeing fewer clients. We're worried about healthcare reform and Obama selling us out. We want to keep our doors open so we can serve women. I believe, however, when a business focuses so much on the operations of running a business, and forget the women, forget their stories, forget why they're here in the first place...then they lose sight of why our work is so important, and they'll ultimately lose business, too. (Unless, of course, they're the only provider in the area!)

I was recently told, "you advocate for all the women," as if that's a bad thing. Seriously? Are you kidding me? Since when is it a barrier to be passionate about this work? Since when is it a barrier to completely care with all your heart and soul about the women we see? Since when is it bad to go the extra mile, find a little more funding for a woman, and ensure she has a safe abortion in a compassionate setting?

Like Moral Pilgrim, one of our avid readers/commenters, I am very passionate about patient advocacy. It's what motivates me. It's what puts a fire in me. I think about the women. I fight for them because I give a shit. I don't forget that pregnancy impacts every.single.aspect.of.their.entire.lives. I don't forget that. I treat each woman with respect and kindness. Even when I'm fucking tired and would like to go home. Even after getting it in the ear about spending time with someone who is making one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Because guess what? You spend the fucking time, you give a shit, you put your heart on your sleeve, you are compassionate and genuine...and (as if, by fucking magic!) you'll have a good clinic, with good staff, and with patients who are fucking grateful and will go tell all their friends how great xyz clinic is.

Oh. And since most of us clinics get their referrals from friends/family, it's probably not a terrible idea to forget why we're here doing abortions. Because it's not about abortion. It's not about how fast the doctor can finish his job so he can sod off home for the day. It's not about the bottom line. It's about giving a shit. It's about LIFE. I will say that again: OUR WORK IS ABOUT LIFE. It's about EVERYTHING. And if you don't get THAT, you shouldn't be doing this work. And if you're in this work just because of a paycheck, or because you can't be bothered to look for a new job in a bad economy, or because you feel you have to be loyal to your business (even though you're finished and done with it all), then this is my suggestion: move on. Get a new job. Quit wasting your time. And a note to those of us in companies where maybe we're not so excited with the current philosophy of where we work: maybe we, too, should find a new clinic where clients come first. Really. Or start our own clinics!


  1. It's very easy to become complacent about the current climate in a work setting. Do your job. Go through the motions. Count the time until your days off. But complacency, indifference or rudeness are like poisons seeping in the life blood of a compassionate and caring environment. As poisons, they slowly smoother the life force of all that vibrant patient advocates could offer women. Instead of being wholly present with a client, you're present in the flesh only, not the spirit. You give only part of yourself. So, look in the mirror and ask yourself what you give. And, as About a Girl advises, if you can't give fully to each and every client, regardless of your role in the clinic, move on.

  2. Also, I didn't know there was a buttload of money in abortion. I sure wasn't raking it in as an Abortioneer; why are people around if not to take care of women? And that's not to say that Abortioneers don't deserve good pay (they deserve GREAT pay), but if I wanted to be a billionaire (so frickin' bad?) then I'd have worked on Wall Street.


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.