Abortion Providers: We Love You.
We’ve said it before and we’ll scream it again: Abortion is health care.
Accordingly, abortion providers—and all clinic staff—are health care professionals.
So why doesn’t everyone give them the respect, love, and appreciation they deserve?
Abortion stigma, obviously! Our longstanding enemy that decimates every aspect of an abortion provider’s training experience, hiring process, and working life. Just look at the catastrophic chronology below:
You’ve gotten into medical school—where you might not learn about abortion, a medical procedure. Unless you’re studying specifically to be an OBGYN, students may find that abortion training is optional, or might even require traveling outside their home institution. If we’re so comfortable cutting out this life-saving procedure, we might as well remove training for heart surgery and cancer biopsies, too!
If you manage to get training—and then, find a job—good luck actually performing it! Despite existing legal protections for providers, some physicians have reported that, either officially or unofficially, their primary employer has told them that they cannot provide abortions at an outside facility without risking their job. We have also spoken with physicians who have had employment offers rescinded after the would-be employer found out about their prior or ongoing participation in abortion services.
And as an abortion provider, it’s not just your livelihood that is constantly at risk—but too often, your life itself. For decades, anti-abortion extremists have harassed, assaulted, and even murdered abortion providers:
Like on March 10, 1993, when an anti-abortion extremist shot Dr. David Gunn three times in the back. To honor Dr. Gunn—and all the courageous counselors, clinicians, and administrative staff who continue to provide abortions—we celebrate Abortion Provider Appreciation Day every year on March 10th.
But this year’s celebration must also be a call to action. A sounding of the alarm. A desperate point towards a horizon where there is potentially more danger and harm directed toward providers.
Because just as assaults against our reproductive freedom have cresconded, so have assaults against abortion providers and clinic staff. According to a report from the National Abortion Federation (NAF), in 2021, stalking of abortion providers increased by 600 percent from 2020, while assault and battery increased by 128%. This violence is so unacceptably commonplace that clinic staff often go to work behind bulletproof glass, and while wearing bulletproof vests.
Not to mention, the Dobbs decision has spurred legal chaos—with providers potentially facing a $100,000 fine for performing an abortion, or even up to life in prison.
To all the selfless providers risking their lives for us on the frontlines of the abortion crisis:
We value your work.
We are enraged by how you are being treated.
And we are committed to pushing back against these injustices for and alongside you.
Today and every day, we see, celebrate, and support you.