- Abortion providers are on the front lines of the fight for abortion access and their radical acts of community care deserve praise.
- Everyone deserves access to safe, compassionate abortion care.
- Abortion providers are integral to our communities and to a future of patient-centered healthcare.
- Celebrate abortion providers by sending a message of thanks, volunteering at your local clinic, donating, or expressing your support for abortion access today and every day.
On March 10, 1993, abortion provider Dr. David Gunn was shot and killed outside of his Florida clinic by a white supremacist anti-abortionist. To honor Dr. Gunn and all people who provide abortion care, March 10th was dubbed National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. Abortion providers are on the front lines of the fight for abortion access and their radical acts of community care and liberation should not go unappreciated.
On Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, I’d like to thank my aunt, Romi Vasquez, who was an abortion provider for over 18 years. Below is a snapshot into the life of an abortion care provider:
AC: Can you tell me a brief history of your work as an abortion provider?
RV: I started in 1998, I think. In El Paso, Texas. I answered an ad in the newspaper, back when they used to do that. The ad had said “Women’s Clinic Help Needed.” So even back in 1998, they still weren’t using the word abortion. I went and applied for the job and the manager said, ‘this is an abortion clinic do you have a problem with that?’ And I told her no, I didn’t. On my first day I followed a patient through the whole process—intake, counseling, medical history, medical procedure, and recovery. I did this part-time and then went full-time when we started doing medical abortions–mifeprex. I stayed there for about 10 years, stepped outside to try something different for a few years, and then started providing abortion again when HB 2 went into effect. I went and joined the staff of a new Whole Woman’s Health clinic in New Mexico. They hired me, and then 8 months later I was offered the position of clinic manager. I stayed there until the clinic closed.
AC: Was there a specific experience with a patient that was impactful to you?
RV: I had a teenager come in once and she had gotten pregnant. She came in with her mother. She had her abortion. Her mother would bring her back every year for her pap smear and check-in. She was always very thankful to me for not judging her and taking the time to discuss her birth control options. She would bring me her yearly school pictures and eventually her graduation photo whenever she came in. Also, once I had this woman who told me that she couldn’t believe she was sitting across from me waiting to get an abortion as a pro-life person. She thanked me for providing her with a safe, understanding place to go to.
AC: What do you want everyone to know about being an abortion provider?
RV: While rewarding, it can be a very stressful job. No, I want people to know that abortion is about having access to a safe, compassionate, medical procedure. People would ask, how can I be a nurse and provide abortions. And me as a nurse, and this is what’s impactful, our hippocratic oath is to help everyone with whatever need there is. If a person goes in asking for an abortion, that is her need and wish and my job isn’t to judge her, it’s to provide a safe service that makes her comfortable.
Abortion providers are our aunts, neighbors, friends, people who’ve had abortions, or who are parents. They are integral to our communities and to a future of patient-centered healthcare. I #CelebrateAbortionProviders because they trust that patients know what they need to shape their own futures and families.
This year, Congress will be introducing the first ever national resolution honoring Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. Click here to watch the press conference featuring Dr. Gunn’s children and Representative Barbara Lee tell her own abortion story.
Here’s how you can celebrate abortion providers, today and every day:
- Send a personalized message of thanks to abortion providers through the Center for Reproductive Rights, or send a love letter to Dallas abortion providers.
- Over half of the abortions in the United States are provided by independent abortion clinics. These clinics are closing at an alarming rate and need your support to survive. Find your local independent abortion clinic here and send a plant, volunteer your time as a clinic escort or consider donating.
- Start the process to have your city officially proclaim March 10th as Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, you can find a toolkit here.
Or simply celebrate the abortion providers in your life, I know today I’ll be calling my aunt.
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