Abortion rights are threatened now more than ever, with Trump threatening to defund Planned Parenthood and state laws cropping up that complicate reproductive health care, like a proposed Texas law that would make it legal for doctors to withhold information from pregnant women about fetal deformities or disabilities. March 10 is National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, and we felt it was important to take the time to talk about exactly what that means and why it’s important, especially in Trump's America.
National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day is observed every year on the anniversary of Dr. David Gunn’s death. In 1993, Gunn was shot and killed by an anti-abortionist outside his clinic in Pensacola, Fla. Gunn’s murder marked the first of four doctors’ deaths, all murdered by killers acting with “pro-life motivation,” over the next fifteen years.
Gunn's murder led to the enactment of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, a law that prohibits protesters from using physical force (or the threat of physical force) to obstruct anyone entering a reproductive health clinic. The act also condemns the intentional destruction of a reproductive health care facility.
On this day (and every other day), it is important to thank the countless medical practitioners around the country who courageously provide access to safe, legal abortions, making it easier for women to exercise the rights they have over what happens with their bodies. In a time when a woman is making such an important and impactful decision, the last thing she should have to worry about is who will provide her abortion. With the Trump administration actively fighting to stifle these providers, it’s time we applaud them for their strength as they fight back.
Planned Parenthood is one of these providers that won’t back down from the fight. In a recent op-ed in Marie Claire, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president Dawn Laguens responded to the GOP’s Affordable Care Act replacement bill, which will block patients who get their health insurance through Medicaid from receiving care from the clinic. The White House tried to pressure Planned Parenthood to stop providing abortions in exchange for access to those Medicaid patients. “Our response is short and simple: No way. Providing safe and legal abortion is central to our mission of giving all people the care and information they need to make their own decisions.”
Laguens continued on: “Abortion is a legal right and a health care service that should not be shamed or stigmatized by politicians, especially since one in three women in this country will have one at some point in her life.”
So today, on National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, and every single day moving forward, we say thank you to all the providers who continue to fight the good fight to give women the safe and legal access to abortions that they deserve.
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Elissa Sanci is a twenty-something writer who's now a grad student studying journalism in New York because she was reluctant to start the real world. Besides drinking too much coffee and daydreaming about traveling the world, she spends most her time writing, reading and complaining about the weather. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @elissasanci.