Our Network members, Dr. Anna Lowell and Dr. Lin-Fan Wang, were recently featured in their local newspapers. Now more than ever, RHAP is committed to raising the voices of our reproductive health leaders, especially as practitioners of family medicine.
Dr. Lowell was profiled by the Tampa Bay Times for a story on Florida’s abortion care providers. She co-leads the Reproductive Health Access Network’s Florida Cluster — a group of 40 like-minded clinicians across the state who strategize about bringing abortion, contraception, and miscarriage care into their practices.
During the week, Dr. Lowell is a family physician, and on Saturdays, she’s an abortion provider. She describes her work as such: “You feel like you’re a hero but you can’t reveal it, like it’s your secret identity.” At RHAP, we’re working to ensure that clinicians who provide abortion care don’t have to be so secret.
Dr. Wang echoed a similar sentiment in her op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer, writing: “I am a family doctor who provides abortion care in the Philadelphia suburbs. While that may sound like a bit of an oxymoron, the reality is that abortion is just like any other health care decision.” Dr. Wang speaks to our belief that to deny abortion access is to deny an essential part of health care.
Grab a coffee, and spend some time with Dr. Lowell and Dr. Wang, and learn more about how family medicine is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of access to reproductive health care for all.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Pennsylvania’s heartbeat bill makes me worry for my patients’ abortion access” (op-ed by Dr. Lin-Fan Wang)
The Tampa Bay Times: “Young doctors find a calling on abortion’s front lines” (ft. Dr. Anna Lowell)
During my senior year in college, I was often asked: what are you going to do when you graduate? I thought about getting a doctorate in psychology. I went to open houses at various schools, but it just didn’t feel right. That started my journey into becoming a doctor – and pretty soon, an abortion provider.
I hadn’t heard the word abortion throughout my medical school training, even during the beginning of residency. After networking and talking to other people, I started to learn about women’s health. And once I heard about abortion, it was like entering a whole new world.
During my first rotation as an abortion provider, I felt nervous, but everyone was supportive. I spent time with a patient going through all the steps. She had a transvaginal ultrasound and I had no clue what I was looking at.
Then there was a counseling session, and I listened to the patient confidently say that she was making her own decision to have an abortion. There was no sob story. She just knew she needed one, and that’s why she was there.
In 4 minutes, the abortion was over. The patient thanked us. She thanked the nurses. And she continued on with her day.
That really solidified my decision to become an abortion provider. That moment I learned that abortion care is health care.
Since then, I’ve seen hundreds of patients, of all races, all ethnicities, all income levels. The statistic that 1 in 4 women will have an abortion is so true. Not every abortion is for the hypothetical single mom with four kids who just lost her job and is about to become homeless. That is not every patient’s story.
I learned that as a family medicine doctor, sometimes we need to prescribe antibiotics for pneumonia, sometimes we need to comfort a patient as they’re about to take their last breath, and sometimes, we need to provide them with an abortion when they no longer want to be pregnant.
April Lockley is currently a fellow with RHAP’s Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship, where she is learning to integrate full-spectrum reproductive health care into her family medicine practice.
At RHAP, we throw ourselves into the work of bringing reproductive health care into primary care practices all over the country. And to keep ourselves motivated and inspired, we’re constantly reading for some perspective. Here’s what we recommend:
In The New York Times, Panic in Pakistani City After 900 Children Test Positive for H.I.V. –recommended by Silpa Srinivasulu, Research and Evaluation Manager:
“Here is an extremely impoverished community with poor access to quality, affordable health care in a country that is already pretty skeptical about things like vaccines given the history of abuse during global vaccination campaigns, not to mention that country’s relatively oppressive attitudes toward women and girls and LGBTQ populations. All this comes together in an absolutely awful situation with 1,000 kids getting HIV and suffering, and their families have no way of affording medication. This piece made me think about the intersection of gender and poverty, especially as it relates to health care access.”
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo –recommended by Lisa Maldonado, Executive Director:
“I am pushing myself to understand how deeply racism shapes our society and my role in perpetuating racism. This book highlights how white fragility upholds racism. Recognizing my own fragility is hard, but important work. It has personal meaning for me, but also translates into the work the Reproductive Health Access Project does. The systems of power in our country (and the world) are unfair and biased, rooted in racism and misogyny. Understanding how these systems work and the role we each play in perpetuating them is a critical step to changing these systems for everyone. The book isn’t difficult or dense. It contains lots of examples and anecdotes to flesh out white fragility in action. I recommend it.”
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