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Doctors’ Stories at the Heart of Amicus Brief

“It’s crucial that we doctors share our stories and in doing so advocate for our patients.”

New York, NY—Physicians for Reproductive Health has filed an amicus brief before the United States Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole.  In March, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over portions of Texas law HB2—a measure designed to shut down clinics that provide safe, legal abortion under the false pretense of improving women’s health. The amicus brief, authored by lawyers from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, shares personal stories from several doctors, illustrating their manifold reasons for providing abortion care.

“It’s crucial that we doctors share our stories and in doing so advocate for our patients,” Physicians board chair Nancy Stanwood, MD, MPH, said. “As physicians who provide abortions, we are humbled and honored to be there for our patients—whether it’s when they come to our offices or when they need us to speak up for their reproductive rights. This brief, which features doctors from many different backgrounds and from all over the country, is a testament to why we provide this essential care.”

Excerpts from the brief:

“I decided to become an ob/gyn because I believe that educating and providing reproductive health care can effect one of the most profound, positive changes in the life of a woman as well as in the lives of those around her. In the course of a morning, I can counsel a woman on terminating an unwanted pregnancy, provide prenatal care to another, and speak to a third about fertility treatments. The ability to give a woman the option to take control of her health and fertility, thereby empowering her to take control of her life, is not an obligation of my profession but a privilege that I am fortunate to fulfill.”Rachna Vanjani, MD, Contra Costa, CA

“My goal as an abortion provider is to create a non-judgmental space for women to make their decision and to provide the best quality medical care. The longer I have worked in this area, taking care of patients in so many different situations with different responsibilities, medical histories, or family structures, the more I recognize that it isn’t my role to have a say in their decision. I feel really good providing this care because I know I’m helping these women when they need it. That’s my calling as a doctor.” — Sarah Wallett, MD, MPH, Kentucky

“I had the opportunity to work abroad in Zimbabwe, where abortion is illegal. I saw many women who were suffering from botched, unsafe abortions— women who never recovered. The experience made me realize how important safe, legal abortion is in the United States, but also how tenuous that right can seem these days. As a doctor and an advocate, I’m determined to make sure that abortion remains accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live or how much money they make.” — Andrea Jackson, MD, MAS, San Francisco, CA

“My belief in God tells me that the most important thing you can do for another human being is to help them in their time of need. That’s why I have provided abortions full-time since 2009. I do not miss my easier path. I know that providing abortion care is just and noble and right.” Willie Parker, MD, MPH, MSc, Birmingham, AL

The amicus brief can be read and downloaded here:

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, 2016.