I never intended to become an abortion counselor, but at some point along the way to becoming a doctor it became necessary.
I spent many of my formative years in conservative Indiana, where I was introduced to pro-life rhetoric by one of my closest high school friends, a staunch evangelical Christian. I was still figuring out my own religious and political beliefs on the matter. She often invited me to anti-abortion demonstrations, but after much deliberation I declined. I didn’t have the vocabulary to articulate why.
I spent many of my formative years in conservative Indiana, where I was introduced to pro-life rhetoric by one of my closest high school friends, a staunch evangelical Christian.
Over a decade later, I’m a senior gynecologist in Washington, DC. As part of my training, I learned how to manage women’s medical needs and guide them through reproductive decisions. For me, being a gynecologist means being a safe place. In this office we talk about intimate partner violence, financial worries, fears of motherhood, breastfeeding, sexually transmitted infections, gender identity and sexual partners. Nothing is off the table, not even abortion.
Here in our nation’s capital, abortion is legal and protected, but it remains difficult to access for Washington’s most vulnerable patients. With the fall of Roe v. Wade, I reflected on my role as a women’s physician and the impact this ruling will have on healthcare across the country. Importantly, when I began my OB-GYN training, like many Americans, I had very little understanding of what abortion treatment looked like.
When I first performed an abortion, I cared for a woman with bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy. And yet, at that point, I wasn’t fully aware of what we were offering as abortion treatment. Similarly, when I operated on women with ectopic pregnancies that are outside the womb (a life-threatening emergency) and women with medical conditions that could not support a successful pregnancy without endangering their lives, I did not consider the care to fall under the umbrella the abortion. It wasn’t until I learned how to perform first trimester abortions at an abortion clinic that I realized they were all one and the same. The procedures, the training, they all belong in the same category: providing women with the necessary reproductive care.
I mention this because of Roe’s fall will affect medical education. Abortion education is currently required for accreditation of obstetrics and gynecology residency programs. As laws change, trainees may receive increasingly limited training in abortion care, meaning they may be unprepared when faced with life-and-death situations or when asked to assist with miscarriages and inevitable pregnancy losses . This would be a tragedy for women – and for America’s health care system.
I mention this because overthrowing Roe will affect medical education.
In addition, abortion will soon illegal in over a dozen states, some with near-total bans, life-saving care can be restricted by vague terms. How seriously ill does a woman have to be to justify an abortion? Worse, without clear guidelines, doctors may hesitate to treat women with ectopic pregnancies, inevitable miscarriages, premature rupture of membranes, and more for fear of criminal prosecution or lawsuits.
Of course, most women need abortions for reasons that are honestly their own. These women must now travel across state lines at great personal cost to pursue their reproductive rights. And in those moments, doctors are again forced to make decisions that go against their fundamental oaths: when to offer abortion treatment, where to live to provide that treatment, and how to navigate the murky legal differences across state lines.
It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of jurisdiction, but as a doctor who’s spent my adult life navigating the care of women, I assure you we’re not done yet. I recommend as a starting point this essay about the many effects Roe’s overthrow will affect our healthcare system. Also, I encourage everyone to do so Investigate the effects of Roe’s fall in their condition. Contact your elected officials. Join calls to expand the Supreme Court. Protest. support them National Abortion Federation, Planned Parenthood and other organizations Empowering women to get the care they need. For medical abortion information, see plancpills.organd to learn more about your legal rights, visit www.reprolegalhelpline.org.
Meanwhile, more women in the United States will be forced to carry pregnancies. We need to address maternal mortality issues, which will no doubt become more important as abortion opportunities become restricted. in the In some states, women are losing access to pregnancy-related Medicaid and health insurance already 60 days after delivery. We can improve outcomes for women by working to expand access to health care, including Extending Medicaid coverage after childbirth and improving women’s access to mental health resources.
Finally, we must support health literacy and health education research. Here in our nation’s capital, much like the rest of the country, health literacy is high ZIP dependent and lead to major differences. To improve healthcare outcomes, we must streamline our delivery of health information to patients to empower them.
Lawmakers will continue to change laws, but many will make those decisions without a medical degree. Meanwhile, many Americans may not be aware of what abortion treatment entails — and how often this type of treatment is required. To protect reproductive rights, we must all work hard to correct misconceptions about abortion treatment. Learn more. Ask questions. Do you speak. At least one woman in your life depends on it.
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/training-doctor-taught-abortion-care-america-rcna40338 What medical education I learned about abortion treatment in America