As the debate over abortion rages, the voices of those who provide this common procedure are not often heard. This is not surprising. For many years, the anti-choice movement has dehumanized providers, casting them as heartless killers. This campaign has resulted in the murders of eight members of the abortion-providing community in the United States.
Today, providers face many reasons not to help women terminate unwanted pregnancies, from a record number of onerous laws to harassment, stigma and death threats. One in three women will have an abortion. Their right to do so is upheld by law. But that right means little without access to the necessary medication or surgical procedures. With 87% of U.S. counties lacking an abortion provider, women’s access is in crisis.
It is perhaps more important now than ever to listen to the hopes, jokes, fears, dreams, visions and beliefs of the nurses, doctors, clinic workers and others who help make a woman’s right to control her own body a reality.