2013 Abortion Provider Awards Presented to Doctors from New Mexico and Chicago

 Two doctors honored for their unwavering commitment to providing reproductive health services

New York, NY—Last night, Physicians for Reproductive Health (Physicians) honored two doctors at its annual Rashbaum-Tiller Awards ceremony:

Actor Martha Plimpton—known for her roles in film and television and as one of the founders of A is For…, an advocacy organization allied with the reproductive health movement—delivered an inspiring keynote address thanking physicians who provide abortions and calling for support of their lifesaving work.

In her introduction, Physicians President and CEO Jodi Magee said: “With this year’s awards we recognize two providers who are remarkable individuals, highly regarded in their professions, and outstanding examples of commitment in their work and advocacy on behalf of women’s health. Indeed, for both of these wonderful physicians, there is virtually no distinction between the three—their lives, their careers, and their advocacy all go hand in hand.”

Eve Espey, MD, MPH, is a former Physicians board member currently serving as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Associate Dean of Students, and Family Planning Division Chief at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Espey is a nationally recognized expert in the field of long-acting reversible contraception and is dedicated to reducing unintended pregnancy through the increased use of contraceptives. “In places like New Mexico, barriers are magnified, hurdles are higher and challenges are more daunting,” said Dr. Espey while accepting her award from Dr. Linda Prine, last year’s Rashbaum Award winner. “When I am sitting bruised in my chair in the ring, from threats from Operation Rescue, from opposition in the hospital…. [I’m reminded] there is no more important work than helping women realize their potential through access to reproductive health care.

Willie Parker, MD, MPH, MSc, accepted the George Tiller, MD, Abortion Provider Award, from Dr. Douglas Laube, Physicians’ current board chair and Dr. Parker’s professor in residency.  For several years, Dr. Parker, a Physicians board member, has traveled extensively to provide abortions to women in underserved areas with the most restrictive laws. On accepting his award, Dr. Parker remarked, “We who provide abortions do so because our patients need us, and that’s what we are supposed to do: respond to the needs of our patients. I think that Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel said it best: ‘Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.’”

Martha Plimpton gave an impassioned speech celebrating providers and their work to break down barriers to comprehensive reproductive health care access. Ms. Plimpton emphasized the importance of speaking out on reproductive rights, reproductive justice, and on behalf of these providers: “Shame is not an option. Silence is unacceptable.