March 10th is National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day! If you’re wondering about the significance of this date, its in honor of abortion providers like Dr. David Gunn. Dr. Gunn was murdered by a white supremacist and anti choice extremist on March 10, 1993 during a protest outside of his clinic. Not long after, Dr. John Bayard Britton and clinic volunteer James H. Barrett were shot and killed outside of a health center in 1994. Since 1996, National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day has been a time to remember and honor the lives and work of abortion providers like Dr. Gunn, Dr. John Bayard Britton, Dr. George Tiller, and others who dedicated their lives to accessible abortion, and whose care changed the lives of so many people. Violence and harassment against abortion providers and clinics is prevalent and has only increased over the years as states continue to restrict abortion.
Last year, we gave AWHC’s provider Dr. Jessica Rubino the spotlight on National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day to share what led her to pursue abortion care in Texas and what being a provider means to her. This year, we want to explain the ways you can show your support for safe and accessible abortion. As Dr. Rubino explained in our previous blog, finding appropriate abortion care training in Texas can be limited and shows the crucial need to develop and expand inclusive, comprehensive, and facts based trainings that meet the needs of doctors who want to provide abortions. In a state like Texas, where abortion care continues to be severely restricted by our government, access to abortion has long relied on doctors who are able to obtain abortion care training and withstand attempts to ban abortion by imposing medically unnecessary restrictions— even if it means obtaining that training out of state.
Support Independent Abortion Clinics
Independent abortion clinics (like Austin Women’s Health Center) provide most of the abortions performed in the U.S., but they’re also more at risk of experiencing closure when it comes to medically unnecessary restrictions (or TRAP laws) — like admitting privileges with local hospitals or requiring clinics meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center — imposed on them by the state. Since these requirements can be expensive, and because independent clincis often lack the financial support and visibility national abortion providers like Planned Parenthood often hold, some independent clinics may challenge these restrictions in court, but are ultimately left with no choice but to close their doors. In fact, following the passage of Texas HB2 in 2013 (which was later overturned in 2016), Texas lost half of it’s abortion providers across the state, including our sister clinic Killeen Women’s Health Center — and not all have reopened. Independent clinics can also be located in rural areas where the only local hospitals are religious, and because religious hospitals are not required to enter agreements with abortion providers, obtaining admitting privileges can be impossible altogether.
Here’s Three Ways To Show Your Support
Send a postcard
This National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, consider sending your local abortion provider a post card that reminds them of the difference they make. Abortion Care Network has a downloadable PDF postcard that can be mailed using their return address, and there’s even a clinic locator in case you’re not sure who your local providers are. After all, you don’t need to have an abortion to appreciate the ways they improve access in their communities — anyone can send a post card! This can be an opportunity to thank a provider for the compassionate care you received at the clinic, the things you’ve accomplished since your abortion, or just to let them know you’re thinking of them. Abortion providers experience a disproportionate amount of harassment and clinic-based violence and often take additional security measures to ensure their patients, themselves, their families, and staff remain safe. Receiving love and support among a sea of negativity can feel like a breath of fresh air.
Post positive messages on social media
In addition to a sending a postcard, Abortion Care Network provides images you can share with your networks on social media. Click here to download these images and be sure to include the #celebrateabortion hashtag when you post!
Share your story with Shout Your Abortion
If you felt supported when accessing abortion care, consider sharing your story to elevate the compassionate care you received. This is a great time to show independent clinics your appreciation in a different way, because Shout Your Abortion will share your story — with your consent —on social media where the clinic you mention may be tagged and see it! You can even share your story anonymously. Read below to see what others have said about their experiences.