Young women’s activism: the next generation of abortion doctors

The La Time reports on what motivates the new generation of abortion doctors in the USA.

Lederer, 30, can’t relate to the images that drew an older generation of physicians into abortion work. She can barely picture it when they talk about life before legal abortion: the blood-spattered apartments, the women racked with infection from stabbing sticks into their wombs.

But she and other young doctors-in-training have found their own motivation to enter a field that they know will put them at risk of isolation, harassment and hatred. For them, doing abortions is an act of defiance “” a way of pushing back against mounting restrictions on a right they’ve taken for granted all their lives.
Listening to news of the Supreme Court’s [partial birth abortion ban] ruling, third-year medical student Lysie Cirona, 24, found herself shouting at her radio in frustration. Then she took a hard look at her career plans. She had always been interested in psychiatry, but now she envisioned herself flying to North Dakota or Nebraska a few times a month to perform abortions. “It wasn’t on my radar screen” a year ago, Cirona said, but her priorities have changed as she’s learned more about the history and current state of abortion rights.
“It doesn’t matter what you believe if you don’t back it up with action,” said Cleeves, 24. “The right to abortion doesn’t mean anything if women don’t have access.”
She also knows that the few doctors who perform late second- and third-trimester abortions are mostly in their 60s or 70s. “Who’s going to do this when they leave? Someone has to,” Lederer said. “I feel in my heart of hearts that it’s the right thing to do.”

Read the rest. As well as the stories of these inspiring young women, the article discusses the substantial barriers to this career: education access, picketing, violence, and shunning within the profession.

Categories: gender & feminism

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5 replies

  1. This was sobering in combination with the lack of career track opportunities for abortionists:

    NEARLY one-third of metropolitan areas and 97% of rural counties have no abortion providers, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group affiliated with Planned Parenthood. One in four patients must travel at least 50 miles to end a pregnancy.

    The UK too is having a problem with retaining a sufficient number of trained abortionists. Lack of prestige and moneymaking capacity there rather than the shunning and routine everyday threats of violence, although that’s also there in the background.

  2. ”We are hard-wired as a species to protect small, young, helpless creatures,” he said. “The fetus is not a baby, but it’s close. Some are very close. It’s difficult.” (Dr Hern)
    Fourth-year medical student Megan Lederer recently helped deliver a premature baby at barely six months gestation. The newborn was tiny, unimaginably fragile, but she survived.
    Caught up in the moment, Lederer didn’t think about the implication for her chosen career. Later, though, she wondered: Could I have aborted that pregnancy?
    She could have, she decided. She would have felt an obligation.

    I don’t think any of us can imagine the extent of the emotional conflict experienced by doctors working in this area of women’s healthcare. It’s just not black and white, is it?

  3. I don’t think any of us can imagine the extent of the emotional conflict experienced by doctors working in this area of women’s healthcare.

    I’m pretty sure I can. I don’t recall actually performing a TOP of a healthy embryo (I’m not a proceduralist), but I’ve spent a huge amount of time counselling women, referring for TOP, and doing followup.

  4. That’s a great story
    And regarding that travesty of a Supreme Court decision regarding banning the safest, most effective form of late-term abortion, I posted this yesterday, and it shows just how out of touch with reality the decision was
    Abortion By The Numbers
    Loudly Pro-Choice


  1. Shakesville » Read-Ems
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