Emil Ekvardt from Great.com interviewed Pamela Merritt, MSFC’s Executive Director, as part of their ‘Great.com Talks With…’ podcast. This series is an antidote to negative news stories that aims to shed light on organizations and experts whose work is making a positive impact on the world.
My Body, My Choice: Changing the Landscape of Abortion Care
One in three people who experience pregnancy will have an abortion in their lifetime. With such staggering statistics, why do such barriers still limit people from engaging in open discussions and accessing professional health care? Pamela Merritt from Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) describes the medical and political landscape concerning abortion, and MSFC’s dedication to ensure adequate training and education for medical students.
Which Barriers Stand In the Way of Access to Adequate Abortion Care?
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed abortion legal in the landmark Roe v. Wade case. This by no means allows people the freedom of choice, however. A plethora of financial, logistical and socio-political factors stand in the way of access to health care for those seeking abortions. Pamela gives some insight by explaining that within the entire state of Missouri there exists only one abortion provider, as well a mandatory 72-hour waiting period. Many people have to travel to other states in order to access abortion care and it is often unaffordable.
On top of this, essential health services are forced out of existence by draconian laws and targeted regulations for abortion clinics. State authorities may specify how high the clinic ceiling must be, or how far away from a school it has to be, in order to be built. So we see how deep these restrictions run, that abortion clinics are literally halted before they can come into existence. Medical Students for Choice works to change this landscape by providing solutions for students who wish to train in abortion care; advocating for better education and more access to training.
“No matter what happens in the United States or any country, people will need access to clinic care… And no matter what happens to the legal framework, abortions will continue to be a necessary medical practice and a practice that people have as long as people experience pregnancy.” Pamela Merritt, Executive Director of Medical Students for Choice.
Listen to the whole interview to find out how you can oppose the stigma surrounding abortions and work to overcome the barriers in accessing health care. You can also join MSFC’s network of student leaders who are working to train themselves and their peers on abortion and family planning. Sometimes the solutions are simple: try having honest and open conversations with friends and family about why you support abortion access and the importance of bodily autonomy.
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