Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Admitting My Bias

Recently, Revolutionary Vagina wrote this post asking what our bias(es) is/are. I really get annoyed with pro-choice people who get all judgmental on women; but I'm going to admit that I get all judgmental and frustated when clients are/seem: ungrateful.

I especially get frustrated about this when it comes to helping patients come up with funding for abortions, finally obtain it, but then they seem really snotty and ungrateful about it all, demanding more money. In my experience, it's the women who needed the least amount of funds from outside sources that get the most uppity about it (for example, the 25 year old woman who could've come up with all of the funds in a pinch, had financial and emotional support from a relative and a friend on the day of her abortion, but was pissed off she didn't "get more" money from the fund. Her inability to get more money from the fund meant she'd have to pay back her friend and her relative. And she didn't want to do that. So she was mad and called the fund employees and clinic staff lots of fun little names that I won't repeat here).

Why does this piss me off? Because it seems like ingratitude to me. Funds don't have to exist. They exist to help women. They work hard to raise money to have an abortion fund. Most fund workers are volunteers and out of the kindness of their hearts, are giving back to women seeking abortions. Women don't have to utilize the funds and the funds don't have to help them pay for their abortions, either. There are women out there doing crazy ass shit to pay for their procedures. Women who don't have a home, don't have a job, no food, their partner just got shot, and are living in circumstances very much like women live in developing countries; only they live in the US. Some of the crazy things I've heard women have to do to pay for their abortions:

- have sex for money
- sell their food stamps
- sell their children's clothes
- sell their cars
- have a yard sale
- sell drugs
- (I'm sure you could all add to this list)

Women shouldn't have to do this. I believe their abortions should be free - probably like most patients - and I get why women get frustrated that Medicaid in their state won't pay for their procedures. It pisses me off, too. It's unfair. Yet when I'm talking to a woman who is one of the lucky ones who can come up with the balance not raised by funds (without having to put herself in any risky/dangerous situation), and it's been explained to her that the $100 she has to pay the clinic will allow at least one other woman to have her abortion, yet she still doesn't care and still throws a tantrum, then I get pissed.

Thankfully, nearly all the women I've ever had the honor (and I mean that) of working with to help them with their abortion procedures, have been gracious, kind, very grateful, and warm. Rarely, a bad seed comes our way. I shouldn't even focus on it, but: it's my bias, the thing that gets me frustrated at times.


  1. Why do I slowly get the feeling that this blog isn't run by a real doctor, but instead a whiny, selfish little shit.

    Tell you what, let's let the attendings run the pro-abort blogs. Your whining is annoying.

    Your priority is to make sure you office is reimbursed for procedures, or else you will lose money. You bottom line matters. Complains from ungrateful patients don't. Get paid for each procedure. We're not just in this business for love.

  2. Dhalgren - are you fucking around? You sound like an anti attempting to mimic what he imagines an abortion provider would say. Or maybe you really are a doctor, but also an anti. I don't personally know any abortioneers who would sign on to what you're saying.

    I already responded to one of your previous comments with a note about the usage of the word "pro-abort" being pretty much exclusive to anti-abortion people's vocabularies. And most of us do in fact LOVE belonging to organizations that work so hard to connect women with the abortion care they seek, even women who can't cover the typical cost. I know the author of this post is included in that.

    If you prefer not to read the "whining" which we ALL need to do now and then to remain emotionally OK with our jobs, it is EXCEPTIONALLY simple for you to avoid it: read a different website! Maybe you can start your own, and "let the attendings run" it. For the record, if you're under the impression that we claimed this blog is "run by a doctor," you weren't paying attention. Drive-by commenting never pays.

  3. Dhalgren is definitely not our *friend* and I suspect (hope) not serving patients in an abortion clinic. The Abortioneers manage this blog AND the clinics AND your household for that matter, and what you call *whining* is also slickly referred to as troubleshooting/airing/coping/strategizing.

    I feel you, About a Girl. Seeking and providing abortion services is never easy, and the complex attitudes Abortioneers face daily can tug at our bias strings, especially when we feel like we traverse mountains and dense forests to provide justice for all.

  4. They call us pro-aborts, and I embrace it. Like how gangster rapper embraced the N word in the 1990s. I think it is a good way to take a militant, pro-abortion stand.

    My comment was probably harsh, but I was trying to think of what an attending would tell her staff. And frankly that is what I have heard an attending tell her staff.

  5. Um, that sounds like a shoddy justification to me. #1 (and this can serve as a response to your comment on "Heartbreak," too), we don't say out loud at work every little thing that comes to mind. When a frustration builds up or something hurts us or we wish we could change someone's mind but it's not appropriate to say our piece, well, that's something you can expect a blog post about. You might call it whining, but I call it responsible processing of unavoidable internal conflicts. And you can bet I'm grateful to my colleagues for processing their conflicts, and for doing it away from the work environment!

    #2, each of us here works with one or more physicians and would probably agree that MDs certainly do have their own pet peeves (just like everyone!) and perhaps a degree of entitlement to snap about their pet peeves in the workplace (NOT like everyone, and more a custom of their profession). And, sure, attendings are famous on TV for laying the tough-love smackdown on the fledgling doctors in their charge. And yet: I have NOT encountered a story of any doctor telling staff to "quit being a whiny, selfish little shit."

    In fact, if you want to talk about attendings & other educators specifically, I'd wager that most abortion providers who are entrusted with the training of the next generation are quite aware that (a) you don't go into this for money - there's any number of better and less frustrating specialties for that; and (b) a lack of support in the field would just add one more item to the list of reasons NOT to provide abortions. I can't see why one would (a) lie and (b) needlessly add to the difficulty, unless one was just power-tripping on being an attending, and that wouldn't make me sympathize with the logic at all!

  6. First off, I will say I sounded a bit whiny. I was having a whinge. Why? Because, like my co-bloggers said, this is really the only venue in which we can vent, and vent safely. Or at least in supposed safety.

    We all have shitty days, but I'm far from a little shit. And if you've ever taken the time to actually properly read our blog, you'll understand that we're hear to talk about what it's like to do this unique work. The reality is, most people don't "get it," and we sure as fuck are not motivated to do abortion work simply to get procedures paid for.

    Also, anyone that knows me - or has bothered to read any of my past blog posts - would have a strong sense that this is probably the first time I've actually ever "complained" about a client or a type of clinet. In fact, it truly IS the first time I have ever admitted that I am biased towards the nice clients who act all grateful. I don't think I'm alone. Why? Because I'm motivated by making a difference and feeling some sense that I've helped someone make a tough day just a little bit better...

    ....so. It was difficult for me to talk and admit to the fact that I actually sometimes get frustrated with our clients. And most of the abortioneers on this blog site know me well enough that it's out-of-character for me. Chalk it up to a shitty day, a shitty few weeks, a shitty few months. Whatever. We all have them. And I'm a blogger on this blog, so have the right to vent. Full stop, really.


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.