It all breaks down to this: no one is immune to mistakes, whether it’s a mistake of their own making or (more likely) an end effect of the system, especially our fucked-up broken medical system I hate representing. (Sorry, system! Had to say it.) If you think I am making too many excuses for my patients, I will let you know that I am often one of the first people to make excuses for them in their lives and am happy to do so for no fee whatsoever. I would juggle speculums if they asked. I have not yet been asked to do this.
Up until recently I’d come out of any closet I found myself in — queer, non-monogamous, I fucking love Tool still, whatever — not that I live to hear the drink-choking sound, but because, to me, coming out was just one of the ways I could pay back the privileges that had been arbitrarily bestowed upon me (educated! white-appearing! “normal!”). My responsibility to normalize as much as I could. But training as an abortion provider is the first thing in my life that I hold back on spilling about. At the core of it, there’s a huge gap between saying “I had one” and saying “I do them.” I don’t want to alienate people. And nothing else I’ve ever done or been has felt like a direct invitation to a motivated someone out there to kill me and get away with it.
I speak of my abortion as a positive experience, not to secure the “most awesome abortion” prize (hello judges…?) but to save a seat for the possibility that this doesn’t have to be the worst thing that ever happened to you in your whole life. I don’t want it to in any way represent anyone else’s experience or make them feel disavowed of their own. So let me say: this is my personal experience with abortion! It was positive in every respect. It made me want to help other people also have as positive an experience as possible, so I went into the business. If you think that’s a bullshit line, or it makes you uncomfortable to think about abortion as something that could possibly be positive for a person, think of why you're a person who doesn't want someone to do the best that they can under the circumstances they're in.
If you read the whole thing, you'll learn about how she handles pro-life patients who come for abortions, her interaction with a female soldier who had to fly back from Afghanistan for an abortion, and her reflections on the distinction the law makes between MDs and advanced nurse-practitioners, just for this one fairly simple procedure. I am blown away by her compassion and courage. Please read it!
I found this post through my friend Melissa's new blog in the Feministing community. Melissa comments:
Approaching reproductive justice from a position of love and respect for women means that we recognize the varied experiences women have. Certainly, abortion is a difficult and even harrowing choice for some. But for others, abortion is a positive move forward on their journey to being the person, the partner, or the mother they want to become. If we ignore the positive experiences of those women, we’re adding to the stigma of abortion. To put it simply, although no woman wants an abortion, not every abortion is a tragedy.
Keep an eye out for more posts by Melissa! She is awesome.