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I love my job. Being an abortion provider is one of the most rewarding occupations anyone could ask for. Everyday I am thankful to be surrounded by other doctors, advanced practice clinicians, nurses, reproductive health assistants, and administrative staff who work tirelessly to ensure that people seeking abortion care have access to the high-quality, compassionate care they need, without judgement. In my heart, National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers lasts all year long.
Every time I come to work, I’m reminded that the abortion care we provide is helping our patients in so many ways, allowing many to finish school, raise the children they already have, get out of abusive relationships, or just continue with their lives. One in four people with uteruses in the United States will have an abortion in their lifetime—which means everyone knows someone who’s had an abortion, whether it’s a neighbor, a relative, a church member, or a friend.
Even though there is overwhelming support for abortion rights nationwide, too many people in the U.S. face barriers to sexual and reproductive health care. Stigma too remains a problem—for both patients and providers. Stigma is a powerful beast—it keeps people silent about their experiences, which can make them feel isolated and lonely. It also makes it easier for politicians to further restrict access to abortion.
When patients and providers share their abortion stories, it helps others feel safe, comfortable, and less alone. The more people tell their stories, the less they will feel stigmatized and shamed by their experience.
Unfortunately, safety is also a serious concern for abortion providers. Today, the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers, was established in memory of Dr. David Gunn, the first abortion provider murdered in the United States, on March 10, 1993. While we pause today to remember Dr. Gunn and to thank providers nationwide, we also acknowledge that the political climate and the dangerous falsehoods perpetuated about abortion care have serious consequences. Opponents are working every single day to enact new barriers and restrict access to care in any way possible, which furthers the stigma of abortion and endangers providers.
Today, I’m grateful for the chance to bring attention to the extraordinary work that abortion providers and health center staff do to ensure that all people are free to make decisions about their bodies and their pregnancies. And I’m thankful that at PPIL, no matter where you live, how much money you make, or whether you have health insurance , we are here for you. Because we believe in the health, well-being, and dignity of every patient and that all people deserve access to health care without barriers or political roadblocks.
Thank you to everyone who works at Planned Parenthood of Illinois and other health centers and hospitals that provide abortion care nationwide. You are truly appreciated.