“Once you get into abortion work, everything else pales into insignificance”
Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, held annually on 10th March, gives us the opportunity to celebrate our dedicated abortion providers who work tirelessly to make choice a reality for women. Wherever in the world our providers work, we know they have to confront stigma and opposition to deliver services. But what’s it really like to be on the frontline of abortion service delivery?
Caroline Gazet, Marie Stopes UK Clinical Director
“As the Clinical Director of Marie Stopes UK, I have seen many women and each story is different. There is no one type of woman who experiences unwanted pregnancy. We see everyone from victims of rape and abuse to women who know there’s a fetal abnormality. Some are very well educated, others are illiterate, some are Muslim, others are Catholic, some are young, others are in their 40s.”
“I began my career in the field of sexual health. I remember working alongside an incredibly passionate doctor who introduced me to women coming in for an abortion and I started to really see the need for it. My father was a surgeon at the time but had never discussed abortion with me until the day I told him I was thinking of doing it for my job. Then he looked me in the eye and said it was one of the best decisions I would ever make.
Everyone who works in abortion clinic has a real passion for it and the main reason is because we know it makes such a difference to each woman we see. Once you get into abortion work, everything else pales into insignificance.”
“The day of the medical abortion I was scared which is normal but the lady at the clinic made me feel so so safe and I’ll forever feel grateful for that… Having the abortion was the right decision for me and I’m so grateful that we have resources like Marie Stopes to guide us through this path. — Rhea, UK “
When Marie Stopes UK’s new Medical Director, Jonathan Lord (pictured left), first started working as a consultant in Cornwall, abortion provision looked very different to today. He said: “At that point we weren’t doing things well, women had to come to wards as there was no medical abortion, let alone the option of doing it at home. It became clear that we could improve things so easily that it put a spring in my step. I began to think, if we can achieve this locally, we can do it nationally. I got more involved in the Royal College and NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines. People don’t realise how important abortion services are to over half the population and what a difference you can make.”
He adds: “From seeing it as peripheral, it dawned on me that this was a group of women that I could so easily help. I felt it was the one area where I could make the most difference to people’s lives.”
We believe in every client’s right to determine their own future and make choices about their body and their life. Whether that means using contraception to prevent an unintended pregnancy or choosing to end a pregnancy through a safe abortion — the choice is yours.
Through our #SmashAbortionStigma campaign, we have spoken to women about their abortion experiences. Every story is unique. Every woman special. Every situation different.
But in all the stories, one thing was clear: the heroic role played by the healthcare providers performing this crucial, sometimes lifesaving procedure.