Motherhood Is Why I Believe In Abortion

Almost a year after the cowardly Supreme Court decided that states could decide whether women could have access to an abortion, I share my story as a mother and health care provider.
Protestors demonstrate at the March for Reproductive Rights organized by Women’s March L.A. on April 15, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. The march was organized in response to a Texas federal judge’s ruling to rescind FDA approval of the abortion pill Mifepristone. Vice President Kamala Harris made a surprise appearance and speech at the event.
Protestors demonstrate at the March for Reproductive Rights organized by Women’s March L.A. on April 15, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. The march was organized in response to a Texas federal judge’s ruling to rescind FDA approval of the abortion pill Mifepristone. Vice President Kamala Harris made a surprise appearance and speech at the event.
Mario Tama via Getty Images

Mother and abortion provider are not usually titles people put together, but they happen to both be mine. As both a mother and the Head of Medical at Hey Jane, a leading telemedicine abortion clinic, my experiences have only further strengthened my belief that abortion is health care and should be accessible to everyone — including parents.

You may be surprised to hear that many of my patients are already parents. In fact 60% of people who receive abortions are parents. Despite the majority of Americans who support access to abortion care, societal stigma still causes shame for parents seeking it. What I wish everyone knew ― and what I tell every parent who is seeking care ― is that choosing to have an abortion is deeply personal, and whatever decision they make is the best decision for them at that time.

This is something that I know intimately well: Along with being a mother and a provider, I have also experienced abortion myself. During my second planned pregnancy, the fetus wasn’t growing appropriately. I knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable and that I needed to seek abortion care. But this was in Ohio, just weeks after the heartbeat bill was enacted following the fall of Roe. This meant that in order to receive an abortion in Ohio, I had to wait until the fetal heartbeat was no longer detectable, take off from work and arrange child care for my son.

I knew I wanted my abortion to happen in Ohio, in the clinic where I had helped thousands of people through their abortions for over a decade, and where my best friends could be there for mine. So I waited. I carried the fetus for several weeks, waiting for it to stop having cardiac activity while knowing the wait would not result in a child; waiting for it to stop having activity before I was finally able to receive the abortion care I needed. Experiencing it firsthand and knowing I needed that care just multiplied the empathy and compassion I feel for my patients even more. No one should have to carry a pregnancy that they do not want.

In fact, it’s those who aren’t able to receive the care they need who face the most direct implications for the rest of their lives. The Turnaway Study concluded the same after following 1,000 people who were seeking an abortion. People who were turned away from receiving an abortion and went on to give birth experienced an increase in household poverty, increased debt, struggled with issues related to child development, and more domestic violence. In that same study, 95% of people who were able to receive care said that their abortion was the right decision for them.

What I’ve seen as a provider, and a mother, is that these patients choose to have an abortion because they hold being a parent sacred. They know themselves in and out and know what kind of parent they can be at that moment. They do it for the children they already have at home and the ones they hope to one day have when they’re ready.

And for those parents who need an abortion, medication abortion in particular ― via telemedicine ― can be a lifeboat. It is a noninvasive and safe option that involves taking two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, and is up to 98% effective for up to 11 weeks. This care can happen in the comfort of home, which is so important for parents who may be juggling jobs and child care responsibilities.

I prescribe and provide medication abortions daily, through telehealth appointments with Hey Jane, and the process is simple: Patients can start our intake process online, available 24/7, and our clinical care team reviews their health history and current pregnancy within the next business day. If they’re a good fit for care, they’ll receive the medication quickly in the mail (in discreet packaging) and can begin treatment on their terms — deciding when and where is best for them. The convenience, safety and efficiency of a medication abortion allows parents to get back to their routines quickly, which is so important.

Ultimately, the decision to have an abortion is a personal one that should be based on a patient’s individual circumstances and needs. As a provider, I strive to create a safe and supportive environment where patients can make the best possible decision for themselves and their families. And as a mother, I know firsthand the challenges and complexities of parenting.

My story is not unique ― I am one of many abortion provider moms and one of many parents who have had an abortion and understand the importance of access to safe and legal abortion care for parents. We need to trust and support parents to make the decisions that are best for them and their families, including the decision to have an abortion.

And now is the time to spread the word about the safety and efficacy of medication abortion, as we continue to see numerous attacks against it. In this moment and beyond, it is so important to break down the stigma surrounding abortion care, particularly for parents who may feel isolated and unsupported in their decision-making process.

I also used my experience as a teaching moment for my son. I explained what was happening to me and the importance of abortion access, because I know how important it is to share these experiences to eliminate shame and fear. By talking openly about abortion, we can help others feel more comfortable and supported in their decision-making process.

If you’re wondering how to best celebrate the moms in your life, you can start by supporting access to this crucial health care. Whether you donate to abortion funds, join networks that connect you with resources to spread the word, or share your own abortion story ― what matters is that people know that parents have abortions. Take it from me, having the choice to make the right decision for myself and my family has not only made me a better provider, but a better parent.

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