For Abortion Provider Appreciation Week we talked to some kickass women who work at independent clinics about what being an abortion provider means to them!
How and why did you become an abortion provider?
Mona Reis: I was an anti-war activist in the 60’s and also lobbied for legalized abortion. I was so fortunate to turn a deep passion into a meaningful career by working in the provision of abortion care the day after Roe.
Andrea Ferrigno: I started working in abortion care about 18 years ago with a local independent provider (also my uncle) in McAllen, Texas. Ever since I set foot in that clinic I was drawn to the work, I loved learning about the medicine, and the politics involved in it. But it wasn’t until Whole Woman’s Health acquired the practice after my uncle retired 14 years ago that I truly fell in love with abortion care. Learning about the holistic approach to abortion care from a women’s empowerment perspective did the trick for me. I realized then, this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and haven’t looked back since.
Yashica Robinson: I stumbled into abortion care by “accident.” I decided that I wanted to be an obstetrician – gynecologist. I really was most interested in delivering babies and being a part of this very exciting, memorable time in a person’s life. I came to appreciate that part of the spectrum of healthcare provided by OBGYNs includes abortion care; and I now appreciate this to be very satisfying work, where I continue to be a part of the most life changing moments in woman’s life.
What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Mona Reis: One of the greatest honors of my life is working with the women we provide care to along with an extraordinary team of committed staff members at Presidential. A personal enjoyment is being able to encourage young women to expand their career potential.
Andrea Ferrigno: There are many pieces of my work that are incredibly rewarding. Number 1 in my heart is always going to be direct patient care. To me, being able to talk to people one-on-one about their decision to terminate a pregnancy, to bear witness to their love and strength, is one of the most honorable experiences I’ve ever had. The work that I do behind the scenes pushing back against TRAP regulation, pushing back against picketers, working towards creating new models of care, and to continue to create beautiful spaces for people to feel welcome and loved also gives me incredible joy. To see people’s expressions when they walk into one of our beautiful clinics makes me so happy and proud!!
Yashica Robinson: The most rewarding part of the work I do is counseling a patient and seeing her regain dignity as she understands that I respect her enough to trust her to make a decision that is best for her and her family… seeing her breathe a sigh of relief as she realizes that she owes no one an explanation, not even me!
What is the most terrifying aspect of what your job?
Mona Reis: I worry about the safety of my staff and I am profoundly concerned about how restrictive legislation impacts women across this country.
Andrea Ferrigno: The most terrifying aspect of my job is to see the hate in the eyes of the people that picket our clinics, to feel the hate in the words of the people that continue to introduce and pass anti-women, anti-choice legislation. It is terrifying to see that people continue to ignore the piles of evidence that support the safety and importance of abortion care, with the sole purpose of shaming and hurting women.
Yashica Robinson: The most terrifying aspect of my job is feeling isolated, and realizing that I will likely always be a lone soldier in my medical community because of the fear my colleagues have of being associated with an abortion provider.
What do you wish everyone knew about abortion?
Mona Reis: I wish everyone could respect how abortion care is the nucleus to freedom, quality of life and dignity. Having access to abortion services should be a part of comprehensive health care for all women. And on a deeply personal note….. I wish everyone could understand how meaningful this work is.
Andrea Ferrigno: I want everyone to know that abortion is a very normal medical procedure, that the people who have abortions are all around us, our neighbors, our friends, our families, the people we love, and that it is a decision made with intentionality, with conviction, and with love for the people we are, who we want to be, and love for the families we have now, and the ones we might want in the future.
Yashica Robinson: I wish that everyone knew that abortion is a necessary medical decision and should be left to a woman and her family.
*** And if you were looking for the weekly recap, we’re just gonna quickly rundown the BS that went on in the states this week. If you weren’t already feeling like donating your time and money to a local indie provider… well… you def will be after this paragraph:**
Abortion reversal is not real, but Idaho is not hearing it. Speaking of unsound medical science, Mississippi legit passed an UNCONSTITUTIONAL 15-week abortion ban, barely trying to justify the arbitrary week count with any facts besides “we want to.” Not to be outdone Kentucky’s going for an 11-week ban. And remember last week Iowa passed a 6-week one! South Carolina still wants doctors to lie to you, but harder. Your religion believes in cremation after death? Well tough shit in Ohio where they’re still trying to pass a fetal burial bill. West Virginia’s wants to put in their constitution that the right to abortion is not protected, because as we all know constitutions are just lists of things that we aren’t allowed to do, total bummers, not about our inalienable rights or anything. Utah announced sweeping new disability rights funding across the state… lol JK of course they didn’t they’re just still exploiting children with Down Syndrome to try to ban abortion. Oh, and Scott Lloyd is still a huge shithead who wants fake clinics to take over the world and only cares about refugees if they’re pregnant and want to end it.