For many, the recent Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs v Jackson case that removed the constitutional right to an abortion has introduced outrage, fear, and confusion throughout the country. While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) clearly has established that abortion is essential health care and has published resources regarding the issue (www.acog.org/advocacy/abortion-is-essential), and many providers know what to do medically, they do not know what they can do legally. In a country where 45% of pregnancies are unplanned and 25% of women will access abortion services in their lifetime, this decision will completely change the landscape of providing and receiving abortion care. This decision will affect every provider and their patients and will affect them differently in each state. The country likely will be divided into 24 destination states that will protect the right to abortion and another 26 states that have or will soon ban abortion or severely restrict access to it.
Regardless of the state you practice in, it is clear that our voices, actions, and advocacy are essential during these challenging times. It can feel difficult to find ways to advocate, especially if you are in a state or have an employer that supports anti-abortion legislation or has been silent after the Dobbs decision was released. We have created a guide to help and encourage all ObGyn providers to find ways to advocate, no matter their zip code.
Many of our patients will need to travel out of state to seek abortion care. The cost of abortion care can be expensive, and travel, child care, and time off of work add to the costs of the procedure itself, making access to abortion care financially out of reach for some. There are many well-established abortion funds throughout the country; consider donating to one of them or organizing a fundraiser in your community. Go to abortionfunds.org/funds to find an abortion fund that will support patients in your community, or donate generally to support them all.
2. Save your stories
We already are hearing the devastating impact abortion bans have on patient care around the country. If you had to deny or delay care because of the new legal landscape surrounding abortion, write down or record the experience. Your stories can be critical in discussing the impact of legislation. If you choose to share on social media, ask the involved patients if they are comfortable with their story being shared online (as long as their identity is protected).
3. Talk about it
Talking about abortion is a critical step in destigmatizing it and supporting our patients as well as our field. These conversations can be challenging, but ACOG has provided an important guide that includes key phrases and statements to help shape the conversation and avoid polarizing language (https://www.acog.org/advocacy/abortion-is-essential/come-prepared). This guide also can be helpful to keep in mind when talking to members of the media.
Continue to: 4. Write about it...