What are your gender pronouns?
She, her, hers
Where are you from?
I’m from Iowa City, Iowa.
What’s your specialty or area of expertise?
Gynecology, family planning, abortion care.
What first inspired you to become a doctor?
My father was a general practitioner, so I gained insight from his experience, and that motivated me to consider a medical career. Other things that pointed me in that direction were: a positive hospital experience as a child after undergoing surgery for a painful bout of appendicitis, a love of science, and an appreciation for the ability to work with my hands. Also, I was influenced by a summer job in college providing cleaning services for the elderly, which involved listening to their medical problems and helping connect these clients to community social service resources.
What story about one of your patients most sticks with you?
I’ve been providing abortion care for over 20 years, and what stands out to me is how common abortions are. I’ve had the privilege of serving patients from all walks of life, all ages of the reproductive spectrum, all socioeconomic backgrounds, a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds, all sorts of religious backgrounds, and diverse political backgrounds.
What current policy issue especially motivates you to be an advocate?
I’m an advocate and activist because reproductive health care is so important when it comes to empowering people to have control over their own bodies, health care, and lives. Abortion care is an important part of basic health care. I believe abortion is normal and moral. I’m especially motivated to advocate for my patients whenever legislation is passed that is anti-science, and harms, rather than helps, them. I’ve served as a co-plaintiff in many lawsuits to help protect access to safe, quality abortion care. We were victorious in Iowa in defending evidence-based telemedicine abortion care and more recently against the 72-hour waiting period, which would’ve required a medically unnecessary extra visit to a clinic to receive abortion care.
Who is your social justice hero?
There are multitudes of heroes among my colleagues and throughout the civil and women’s rights movements. Anyone who’s been marginalized and stands up for justice despite the personal risks involved inspires me to do my part as well. However, Rosa Parks’ story really speaks to me. Not only did she perform a public act of defiance and bravery, but she also worked steadily behind the scenes to advance civil rights. We similarly need very well-rounded strategies, resilience, and courage to continue to advance human rights and dignity.