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Celebrate Abortion Providers!

March 10 is National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, observed on the anniversary of Dr. David Gunn’s death. In 1993, Dr. Gunn was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist outside of his Pensacola, Florida, clinic. But while this day is a reminder of this tragic event (and other violent incidents and crimes that abortion providers continue to face), it’s also a day to honor abortion providers and celebrate their work.

National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day is one day, but really, abortion providers should be celebrated every day for their commitment to abortion access in the face of extremism and political interference. They are truly heroes – both to our movement – and to the pregnant people they serve every day.

Thank you abortion providers for trusting women to make their own reproductive health care decisions.

Several state laws require that pregnant women seeking abortion receive biased counseling, including materials that inaccurately assert a link between breast cancer and abortion or incorrectly state that abortion creates a risk to fertility. Some states require medically unnecessary ultrasounds. Many states require a mandatory delay between when a woman receives counseling and when she can have her abortion procedure. Similarly, anti-abortion counseling centers often exist solely to prevent pregnant women from getting abortion care. They use a variety of deceptive tactics to mislead women from getting the health care they need.

All of these restrictions to access are intended to dissuade women from obtaining an abortion, under the premise that women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions, especially about abortion. Abortion providers know that women are experts in their own lives, and they trust pregnant women to make the decision that is right for them – whether that decision is to have an abortion, parent, or consider adoption.

Thank you abortion providers for serving all patients and being leaders in opposition to discrimination.

Unfortunately, it’s getting increasingly difficult for some people to get access to health care in our country. Refugee and immigrant women face an uphill battle to get abortion care. The Trump administration also wants to permit personal briefs to dictate health care, particularly for women and LGBTQ people. Some states are taking insurance coverage of abortion away from their residents, a move that would hurt women struggling to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, abortion providers have expanded their services to ensure that the needs of their patient population – including refugee and immigrant women, LGBTQ people, and women who need financial assistance – are met and respected.

Thank you abortion providers for empowering women and working to eradicate abortion stigma.

Empowering women with access to reproductive health care, and the ability to decide whether and when to have children is vital. However, many continue to attack the right to abortion and shame women who decide to have an abortion. Abortion providers, on the other hand, strive to empower women and push back on that stigma. One provider recently ran a billboard campaign to change the narrative; another provider named their clinics’ rooms after a woman they admire to inspire those that visit for care; others proudly boast that abortion is “one hundred percent of what we do.”

Thank you abortion providers for always putting patients first, and treating them with dignity, compassion, and respect, even when lawmakers create obstacles for you.

Legislation that bans abortion at 15 weeks, bans abortion on the basis of a disability, or otherwise restricts abortion is intended to eliminate abortion access. These bills insert politicians into the private decisions of women and their health care providers, and show a lack of compassion and respect for women who deserve the dignity to make their own reproductive health care decisions.

But if you’ve met an abortion provider, it’s easy to see their compassion. They are the people that give plants with a handwritten note of support to their patients. They are the people who – after having an abortion pre-Roe – opened their clinics to ensure that women are treated with dignity and respect, and haven’t stopped fighting since. They are the people make sure you have the support you need at your abortion.  They are the people who provide abortion because they believe that helping women in need, without judgement, is the moral thing to do.

Thank you abortion providers for everything you do. Today and every day, we honor and appreciate abortion providers.

It's time for change, and we must act now. Time's up.