Hey, health care providers:
It’s time to get comfortable talking about abortion.
I mean it. And not just the women’s health care providers.
Nope, what I mean is this: You, me and every generalist we know should get comfortable talking about abortion.
Why? For one, because it’s really, really common. Nearly one-third of all women in the U.S. will have had at least one abortion by the time they’re 45. So if you choose to remain willfully ignorant about what to tell your patient when she comes to you with that unexpected positive pregnancy test, looking for a medical professional to talk to her about her options, you are failing her you’re unable or unwilling to provide her with the comprehensive, respectful, judgment-free evidence-based care she deserves.
If your options counseling begins and ends with awkwardly and wordlessly handing over the phone number for a women’s health clinic, I’m talking to you. If you continue to associate Plan B with “RU-486” (and you’re still calling it “RU-486”), I’m talking to you. If you have trouble getting your mouth to form the word “abortion”, either to patients or colleagues, I’m talking to you.
Because NOT being able to talk about abortion with the familiarity and comfort with which we discuss a million other medical conditions and procedures relegates abortion to this hidden, unspoken corner of medicine and society, reinforcing the concept that abortion is dangerous and rare. Which – HELLO – it’s not. Not even a little bit.
(And all of this makes it easier for activists with too much time on their hands to continue making progress in their increasingly successful push to marginalize abortion access out of existence.)
If there’s even a remote possibility that your clinical role includes caring for patients with a uterus, being willing and able to talk to them about abortion when they need you to MUST be part of the package.
Here’s an initial, too-brief list of online educational resources for health care providers seeking to learn more about medication and surgical abortion. If you know of others that you think need to be added to the list, can you send them my way, pretty pretty please?
http://www.guttmacher.org/sections/abortion.php – the penultimate org/website for abortion and access trends and data
http://www.arhp.org/professional-education/medical-education-opportunities/archived-webinars – ARHP’s on-demand webinars, several of which review medication abortion and award CE/CME
http://www.prochoice.org/education/resources/index.html – NAF’s list of educational resources for health care providers
Much thanks to Chelsea Polis (@cbpolis) for:
(Happy belated birthday, Roe. Here’s hoping you’re around for at least another 41 years.)