“As physicians, we need to share our stories.

By doing so, we will lessen the stigma of abortion. For our patients, and our fellow doctors.”

Linda Prine, MD

Provider Voices

As physicians, we believe that speaking about abortion helps remove the stigma that has been attached to it by anti-choice politicians and organizations. Physicians for Reproductive Health compiles personal accounts from our doctors across the country that explain why they are committed to preserving reproductive rights, improving access to comprehensive reproductive health care, and providing respectful, safe, and compassionate care to women seeking abortion. We honor our physicians and their work, and we want to share their stories with you.

Our physicians' voices:

John Oliver and Olivia Wilde to Headline Physicians for Reproductive Health Benefit to Celebrate the Courage of Abortion Providers

Event to Honor Abortion Providers in Advance of Major Supreme Court Ruling

NEW YORK—With the Supreme Court poised to make its most significant ruling in decades on access to abortion care, Physicians for Reproductive Health will hold its annual benefit, Voices of Courage, on June 7 in honor of abortion providers across the country.

This year’s event will honor two heroic physicians – Dr. David Grimes and Dr. Colleen McNicholas – and feature comedian John Oliver and actress Olivia Wilde. Like so many of their colleagues, the awardees have shown courage and resilience in the face of increased barriers to providing women with access to safe and legal reproductive health care.

“The past year has proven to be one of the most challenging for abortion access. Toxic political rhetoric and increasingly burdensome state laws have paved the way for increased targeting of abortion providers. The courage of these physicians and those that support them cannot be overlooked, which is why this year we are honoring all ’voices of courage,’” said Jodi Magee, President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health. “The benefit celebrates everyone who has been integral in the fight for women’s reproductive rights, including the ongoing efforts of the many advocates, supporters, and physicians across the country to ensure that every woman can make her own decision about what’s best for her family. At a critical moment for women’s health, we recognize those who are taking a stand.”

As providers prepare for the historic ruling expected next month in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the event will help raise awareness of doctors’ role in efforts to protect and expand access to high-quality care. Since 2006, Physicians for Reproductive Health has hosted an annual benefit to honor physicians who – in addition to providing evidence-based care to their own patients – have gone above and beyond to advance abortion access at the local, state, and national level.  The event will be transformed this year into a gala benefit that celebrates all voices of courage – physicians as well as the important advocates that support them.

Two awards are given every year, the William K. Rashbaum, MD, Abortion Provider Award, which honors a physician who provides outstanding abortion services and serves as an inspirational leader; and the George Tiller, MD, Abortion Provider Award, which recognizes a physician early in his or her career who provides abortions while demonstrating courage in the face of adversity.

“It is an honor to be part of an event that raises awareness of those who work daily to ensure women can access the reproductive care they need,” said Benefit Host Olivia Wilde. “The stakes have never been higher for women, and in the year 2016, women shouldn’t have to overcome so many hurdles just to access the reproductive care that is best for them. I commend the work of physicians who make it their life’s work to guarantee reproductive health care access to all women who need it across our nation.”

This year, Dr. David Grimes will receive the William K. Rashbaum, MD award for lifetime achievement. A provider, researcher, author, teacher, and advocate, Dr. Grimes’s medical career began in 1972 – just prior to the Roe v. Wade decision. Dr. Grimes spent many years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helping to chronicle the public health benefits of legal abortion and in recent years, he has led international research on abortion and contraception for a World Health Organization Task Force. A pillar in the reproductive rights community, Dr. Grimes has used his training and background to provide expert testimony to Congress and state and federal courts, worked with lawmakers to ensure regulations are grounded in science, and educated many others through his writings and online. Based in North Carolina, he has been a clinical professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine since 1998 and a fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research University of North Carolina since 2000 where he trained medical students and residents in abortion. Dr. Grimes recently published a book, Every Third Woman in America, which documents the impact of safe and legal abortion in America.

Dr. Colleen McNicholas will be honored with the George Tiller, MD award for outstanding courage in hostile and challenging environments. A tireless advocate for reproductive access, Dr. McNicholas provides abortion care at Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Recently, conservative lawmakers put pressure on the University of Missouri to revoke the hospital privileges that allowed Dr. McNicholas to provide care in Columbia, leaving St. Louis as the only clinic in Missouri that is able to provide abortion. She also travels to Kansas to provide abortion services in Wichita, the city where Dr. Tiller worked tirelessly for decades, drawing the attentions of Troy Newman and Operation Rescue.  Dr. McNicholas teaches at Washington University, serves on committees of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists at the national and state levels, and travels frequently to Washington, DC, and Jefferson City to raise awareness about abortion restrictions that affect her patients. Dr. McNicholas is a catalyst for change. She started a Medical Students for Choice chapter as a medical school student and when Missouri passed a three-day mandatory waiting period law that raised costs for her patients, she helped found the Gateway Women’s Access Fund to assist them.  She was recently featured in the June issue of Marie Claire magazine.

“Although abortion is technically legal, individual states are going to greater and greater lengths to restrict access to abortion for all women—a trend that hasn’t been discussed nearly enough,” said Physicians’ Board Chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood. “Right now, there are bills moving or proposed in 24 states that restrict legal reproductive care, question the knowledge and abilities of trained physicians, and threaten women’s health. At a time when there is so much coverage of political opinions on abortion, we must listen to and respect the advice of the experts who know the facts: the physicians who provide reproductive care.”

Proceeds from the benefit will support Physicians’ programs and members in the continual fight for reproductive rights, including the Partnership for Physician Safety – a new program to support providers in crisis situations – and the Leadership Training Academy, a program that prepares physicians across the country to become lifelong leaders in reproductive health advocacy. These initiatives foster a community of physicians who will work throughout their careers to protect and advance comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care.

Tickets are currently available and can be purchased on the Physicians for Reproductive Health website. For more information, or if you are interested in covering the event, please contact Margy Levinson at margy.levinson@berlinrosen.com or 646-335-0441.


On the Supreme Court Steps, Our Doctors Are Proud Abortion Providers

Doctors at the Supreme Court RallyToday, during the oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, hundreds of reproductive rights supporters rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States. As our colleagues at the Center for Reproductive Rights argued the case inside, speakers from all backgrounds–elected officials, college students, reproductive justice advocates, spiritual leaders, and abortion providers–stood up and said: Stop the sham. 

As our Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow Dr. Pratima Gupta said: “When we stand against these sham laws we are standing up for women who have the least access to care, who face the most discrimination, and who are least likely to be able to travel to the only open clinic that may now be hundreds of miles away. We need to ensure that ALL women, no matter their zip code, have access to the care they need and deserve.”

You can watch the entire rally, which features speeches from Dr. Gupta, our board chair-elect Dr. Willie Parker, and Leadership Training Academy alums Dr. Sara Imershein and Dr. Bhavik Kumar, on YouTube.

Finally, we would like to share a wonderful video that was submitted as part of our “Why I Provide/Why I Support” project by Vanessa Cullins, MD, MPH, MBA, who is Vice President for External Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In this beautiful video, she talks about why she provided abortions as a physician and why she supports all abortion providers and all women who seek abortion care. Please watch it and share with friends and loved ones.

If you’re feeling inspired, please send us your own video. Read more about the project here

Add Your Voice as a Provider or Supporter: Submit a Video

If you are a medical professional, we want you and those you know to raise your voice in support of access to safe and legal abortion care by participating in our “Why I Provide/Why I Support” video project.

We’re collecting short videos (a minute long or less) that illustrate why you are proud to be an abortion provider (or, for those who don't provide, why you support those who do). This is a chance to lift up the voices of and stand in solidarity with those who ensure that patients can access the care they need.

We are hopeful that these combined efforts, and many others across the next few months, will give us a number of high quality, articulate, and inspiring statements we can air on our website and on YouTube to encourage more of our community to speak out proudly and assertively in support of abortion providers.

Need inspiration? Take a look at our video, "Why I Provide."

We hope you will join us! Questions? Email us at communcations@prh.org.

Click through for instructions and tips >>

Doctors Share Their Stories, Call on Supreme Court to Stop Sham Laws

Physicians is proud to file 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.”

Read excerpts from the brief here, or download the entire brief here.

For more than 40 years, the Supreme Court has said the constitution protects a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health and family. Physicians calls on the Court to reject political schemes and sham laws that prevent women from acting on these personal decisions.