I have not posted in a long, incredibly long time. I guess posting thoughts online has not been something I’ve made time for as of late, but it seems like a good time to change that. With recent events, the presidential race, and my overall state of mind, I felt that it was right to share my experiences…hopefully shed some light on a complex issue. One, I hope, does not have to be complex one day.
I work at an abortion clinic in Colorado. I’m not going to say which one, in what city, or any specific details because it truly does not matter. I have been there for over one year now, and truly love waking up and going to work every day. We have a small staff but a large clinic, and see many patients throughout the week. Although about 90% of our clinic’s focus is on abortion care, we still have a smaller side of the clinic dedicated to contraceptive and family-planning care. Needless to say we’re pretty busy.
But, why I’m bringing this up, and why I feel like it’s important to talk about, is that abortion has been attacked a lot more recently than in the past few years, and I really want to know why the hell, in 2016, it is still up for debate? Why is it, that my job is always on the line of being available or nonexistent even though I’m just there to provide health care? These are questions I would love for someone to answer for me, because regardless of whether you are against having an abortion yourself, or you think someone should have full access, what you believe should never interfere with the basic right of health care for other people. Right? Or is that too much of a considerate thought for humans to respect each other at a basic level?
Every single day, I have patients from all walks of life. All ethnicities, all ages (of available fertility) from various different backgrounds, speaking different languages, and from multiple financial statuses…all coming in for the same appointment. They all have different stories. Some come from difficult backgrounds that don’t allow them to provide for raising a child, some pregnancies resulted from rape, some from an abusive partner, or some patients are minors that can’t even drive yet. Yes…there are definitely stories like that. Those are always the stories people want to hear when they consider abortion as acceptable. People want to hear a difficult story full of hardship, so as to make the abortion justified. But what about everyone else? Actually, to be more honest…what about the other 75% of people that do not have a difficult story, and really just do not want to be pregnant or be a parent right then? Is that not..ok?
I learned, as I have been working at my clinic, that it really is ok to not have a meaningful story to explain your abortion. I don’t care. Whatever reason you made it to your appointment and are continuing with your decision, it doesn’t matter. No one should ever need to compare your story with someone else’s to see if one is worthy of a procedure over the other. I will never be able to fully understand the complexities of your life, nor should anyone try to. And the reason you want to have an abortion is not the main concern – the only thing that matters is that having an abortion is the decision you made for yourself (of course, only for yourself and no one is forcing you to do this). That’s it. That is all I need to know. Unfortunately that’s a fact that took me a little while to completely understand, but I’m glad I did.
Having an abortion is an extremely safe process, whether it is through medication or a suction procedure. The in-clinic procedure takes about 5-10 minutes for first-trimester pregnancies, and maybe 20-25 minutes for second-trimester. Our clinic cannot perform procedures past 19 weeks so I can’t comment on third-trimester abortions, but I would definitely check out the documentary “After Teller” if you want more information on that process. It does not affect your fertility in the future. You can get pregnant within 2 weeks of having an abortion. Also, in the rare instances that there are complications, they are almost always solved quickly and safely. These are facts that people do not know, whether because of ignorance or lack of education. So please, understand the facts before drawing conclusions on outdated and skewed information. It is simple, easy, minimal risks, and can be less invasive than most medical procedures people have every single day.
Now, recently there was a shooting in Colorado Springs at the Planned Parenthood clinic. I know people that work there. They were there that day. I found out about the shooting as I was visiting my family for the holidays, finishing some last minute shopping with my mom. That was one of the most shocking moments of my life. Not that an active shooter as a possibility is a surprise, but that these attacks have become so close to home. We have protestors almost every single day and, although for the first week it bothered me, it quickly became an ignorable nuisance. However, for the past few months, there has always been a small underlying hesitation of…what if?
It is sad to think that people can justify killing abortion providers as a healthier alternative than abortions being practiced. You’re the murderer, you are killing a life. In the Colorado Springs case, three lives.
I’m wholeheartedly proud of my job, and love my coworkers that are just as passionate about patient care. There is nothing anyone could ever do to change my desire to be a part of abortion care, hopefully for the rest of my future career. It is a medical procedure that should be as accessible as a colonoscopy. Yeah, no one ever wants to do a colonoscopy, just like no one wants to have an abortion. But safety and availability is very important for the two. So please, regardless of your personal opinions, let that be so. I love my job, let me keep it.