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What it's Like to be an Abortion Provider Anticipating a Trump Presidency

In their own words.

by Kelly Burch
Nov 21 2016, 5:00pm

Jennifer Graylock/WireImage/Getty

It goes without saying at this point that with Trump's promise to destroy the Affordable Care Act and overturn Roe v. Wade, there's major concern that women's healthcare and access to abortion will both be under attack come January.  "Our country now stands perilously close to a return to the dark days when women were forced to put their own lives at risk to get safe and legal abortion care," says Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights. We talked to three abortion providers about what this would mean for them—and consequently, all of us.

Our doors will stay open no matter what. 
Reagan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood

"I'm concerned for our patients and providers. We take care of immigrants, Muslims, people of color and LBGTQ people. A lot of the hateful rhetoric that has been normalized is frightening. This could lead to a more dangerous America for lots of people, including abortion providers. We are going to do whatever we can to stand in solidarity with all of these communities. I think if anything positive comes of this, hopefully all these movements will come together and stand in solidarity and in strength with one another.

A Trump administration will not be the end of Planned Parenthood. At this point there's a lot of uncertainty about exactly what the president elect will do and what his administration will undertake in terms of access to women's healthcare. I can tell you that Planned Parenthood will continue to provide care to those who need it. We have survived in an adverse environment for 100 years, and our doors will stay open no matter what. Since the election, we have seen an unprecedented number of appointments booked by patients needing birth control. The Affordable Care Act has been extremely important for women's healthcare because people now have access to birth control at no cost. However, there are states that didn't buy into medicare expansion, and we have continued to serve patients in those states, and we will continue if there is a change in the ACA.

Planned Parenthood is not just about abortion, or even birth control. We are a provider of essential healthcare. Each year 1.5 million young people benefit from our sex education program, and 72 million people visit our website for information. Let me be clear: Any attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on women's health, as well as these young people and the people who come to us for information.In the past week, we have received donations from more than 128,000 people. We are so grateful for that support. People can also support us by coming to Planned Parenthood for their care, even if they have insurance. You can also volunteer, or come work with us. 

I think it's important to assuage people's fears. Donald Trump has said he is going to be a president for all people, and hopefully he will also be a president for women. One in five women will turn to Planned Parenthood for care during their lifetimes, and one in three women will have an abortion. There aren't women who have abortions and women who don't, there are women in different points in their lives. There is uncertainty ahead of us, and a person's right to access abortion in this country may face renewed attacks. But one thing is certain: We will never back down, and we will never stop fighting to protect the access to care that so many people across this country depend on."


Trump will lead to an increase in maternal mortality.
Anonymous OB/GYN who provides general care, including abortions, in a private clinic in Rochester, New York. 

"I wish I could come out as a provider, but I have a colleague who has had shots fired at her. It's something that has worried me and my family, which is why I don't want to give my name. I've seen protests on corners and know friends who have received death threats, and that's under eight years of a Democratic administration in a very liberal state. I do worry that as anti-choice policies become the norm with the new administration, targeting of providers will worsen.

I am a generalist OB/GYN, the type of abortion provider that most people with insurance would see. Many of my patients are middle class, but even they will see widespread effects if Trump follows through on his promises. Many of my young patients who are covered on their parents' insurance under the Affordable Care Act are at risk of losing their insurance next year. That makes me feel terrible. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, I'm likely to lose young, healthy patients who wouldn't make it a point to go to the doctor for preventative care if they had to pay out of pocket. I lose the opportunity to talk to them and encourage them to be healthy in all areas of their lives, but particularly in a reproductive aspect; to screen them for STIs; to talk to them about safe sex and safe relationship practices; to counseling my college students about their drinking habits, and make sure they have birth control. That will likely disappear. 

One of the biggest changes will be to birth control. The popularity of long-acting reversible contraceptives like implants and IUDs is rising. Those are the easiest, most effective form of birth control, but accessing them without insurance is likely to cost at least $1,000. Instead, I think we'll have more people paying $20 to $40 every month for less effective birth control pills.

Abortion is not a cornerstone of my practice; I only perform one or two a month. However, Trump's effect on abortion access is something I think about a lot. By restricting access and taking away contraceptive coverage for women who are poor, underemployed or young, we're likely to see a rise in unplanned, unwanted pregnancy, and probably a rise in backdoor or less-safe abortions. 

Also, by allowing states to pass restrictive legislation that says state medical schools cannot provide abortion training, we'll see fewer doctors who have the knowledge and skills to provide this care, which will lead to an increase in maternal mortality. With fewer doctors exposed to abortions, providers will have less understanding of how the procedures work and the complex decisionmaking that goes into a woman's choice. Without that you will see fewer people standing up for the women who do need help."

It's not as easy as women going to another state.
Kristyn Brandi, OB/GYN and Family Planning Specialist at Boston Medical Center; Instructor at Boston University School of Medicine

"Women are going to get abortions. The question is whether they are going to be safe and legal. Any restrictions that limit how we can teach medical students and residents how to do abortion care is restricting the future of abortion care. If we don't have providers, women can't choose this option. That really gets me really worried about healthcare for women. A big push for Roe v. Wade was that so many women were sick and dying from backroom abortions or self-induced abortions. We're heading right back down that path if we don't have proper support for these services and people trained to do them well.

I am most concerned about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The fact that women can get contraceptives free of charge is huge. It has changed a lot of women's lives, and prevented a lot of unintended pregnancies. Thinking about that getting reversed is scary.I watched Trump on 60 Minutes saying that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, women can just go to another state. It's not that easy. There are many barriers already to abortions that are safe and legal, and now there will be more. And this will affect the people that are already struggling to have their voices heard: low income women, women of color, and immigrants.

Contraception is very much linked to peoples' futures, economically and otherwise. Trump is potentially limiting a lot of choices and freedom for women to choose what they do with their lives. As providers, we have to talk about that. Speaking out has become less of a concern for me. My family knows that I'm an abortion provider and they support my decision, yet they are worried for me. But we need to speak up. This is too important to keep quiet now." 

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abortion
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