By Rachel Abbott, Student Organizer
The appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court last fall means that the balance of the court is now prepared to restrict abortion access and potentially overturn Roe v Wade. However, we are ready—MSFC chapters across the US have been fighting to provide abortion access under difficult circumstances for 25 years.
In October, Executive Director Lois Backus wrote about how we are adapting to a changing political climate to support our chapters in states where abortion could become illegal with additional resources. More recently, we talked to MSFC student leaders around the country to find out how they are responding to and preparing for changes in abortion law in a post-Roe country. Here’s what they had to say:
If abortion is illegal or heavily restricted in your state, how will that impact your future career choices? How will your role as a pro-choice physician change?
“I want to specialize in Family Planning and that will continue to be my goal regardless of the legality of abortion. Will I be willing to risk my medical license and freedom to provide this service to my patients if it is illegal in my state? I really don’t know, but it is something I think about.”
“Pro-choice physicians practicing in this state will no longer be able to practice evidence-based medicine and offer their patients access to full-spectrum reproductive health care. Instead, they will need to focus on harm reduction around abortion care—preventing morbidity and mortality that will inevitably follow…”
“If abortion access in AZ were further restricted or outright banned, I would definitely consider changing where I practice medicine… If abortion were illegal, I believe my role as a pro-choice physician would be to advocate for overturning that decision while also educating patients about long term contraceptive methods and safe sex practices.”
“If certain states completely restrict abortion services, I am less likely to practice there.”
“I will not be able to provide the best care for each of my patients. Optimistically, this is going to make me more of a fighter – and fight until medical education to patients about choice is accurate.”
In the next two years, abortion may become illegal or severely restricted in your state. How will this impact the priorities of your chapter?
“I believe this will make our organization focus on policy and legislation. I also believe we will more actively advocate for students to travel out of state to obtain training.”
“…our chapter will begin to focus more on harm reduction models of care.”
“Abortion is already pretty restricted in Arizona…. the number one priority of our chapter will likely shift from helping to educate students about abortion and how they can become or support providers who perform abortions to making abortion legal and accessible.”
“If abortion does become illegal or severely restricted, our chapter will continue to focus on providing exposure to abortion education as well as abortion laws.”
— New Mexico
If abortion becomes illegal or heavily restricted, what do you hope to see from the medical community?
“OUTRAGE. We hope to see the medical community unite to advocate on behalf of their patients and to advocate for access to safe medical procedures.”
“I hope that the medical community continues to fight and speak up, participate further at a legislative and policy level to protect this right… If abortion is made illegal or heavily regulated, I foresee more students being interested in MSFC as this would be one of the few avenues where they can come to meet people with similar interests and have conversations about the political climate and what we can do as students.”
— New Mexico
Whatever happens, we know that students are prepared to fight for their patients’ right to safe, quality abortion care—and we are prepared to support their work, whether that’s in the halls of government, in the classroom, or in the streets!