Abortion Provider Appreciation Day 2023: Celebration in the Face of Adversity

March 10, 2023

Written by Rohini Kousalya Siva, AMSA National President-elect & Board of Trustees Reproductive Health Project Liaison,
Rohini is a 4th year medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School

Abortion Provider Appreciation Day 2023: Celebration in the Face of Adversity

March 10th marks Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the courage and commitment of healthcare providers who offer abortion care. Especially in the wake of post-Roe V. Wade, abortion care providers have increasingly faced scrutiny, violence, and legal hurdles, for providing an essential healthcare service. Today, we honor their work and acknowledge the challenges they face. 

On this day, we pay homage to Dr. David Gunn and countless other abortion providers who have fought and those who continue to fight for access to abortion care. On March 10, 1993, Dr. Gunn was murdered by a white supremacist anti-abortion extremisthe was the first provider to be killed solely for his work as an abortion provider. Beginning in 1996, as a way to honor his life and work, and all of the courageous, compassionate people who provide abortion care, March 10 became the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. Dr. Gunn’s compassionate and empathetic care brought in patients from near and far to him. He saved countless maternal lives. 

Let us be clear, in recognition of the universal human right to bodily autonomy, abortion care is a fundamental human right, as is access to the full range of sexual and reproductive healthcare. Indeed, abortion care is a regular and essential aspect of reproductive healthcare. The decision to have an abortion should be made by the individual, and they should be able to consult with their healthcare providers, free from coercion or stigma. 

Abortion providers are essential. Yet, they face a constant onslaught of attacks from anti-abortion extremists and so-called pro-life supporters. It is important to note that there is significant and documented overlap between the anti-abortion movement and the networks of white nationalists and white supremacist Christofascists here in the US and in Europe. These are the networks of anti-democratic, authoritarian movements that are fundamentally the grassroots movements of the authoritarian white nationalist political forces that are pushing through anti-abortion state laws, in spite of the fact that legal abortion access is broadly supported by majorities of state populations. The violence directed at Dr. David Gunn – and Dr. George Tiller, and so many other abortion providers – is the violence of fascism: it is the enslaver violence of white supremacist heteropatriarchy; it is the masculinist violence of misogyny and misogynoir, it is the genocidal violence against trans and gender expansive people, and against Indigenous women and girls.  

Despite threats, violence, and numerous challenges, abortion providers continue to persevere and provide care for their patients all while advocating for progressive change. I draw inspiration from the likes of Dr. Jane Hodgson who through a 50 year career provided abortions despite legal risks and is the only person to have been convicted in the US for performing an abortion in a hospital. I honor Dr. David Gunn and Dr. George Tiller, who each lost their lives to anti-abortion violence. I am inspired by the countless generations of women in every culture in every society throughout most of human history who provided all necessary care for pregnant people – doula care, midwifery care, abortion care, and post-pregnancy aftercare. I look towards our current-day abortion provider and reproductive rights advocates, Dr. Susan Robinson, Dr. Willie Parker, Dr. Colleen McNicholas, etc. As a future abortion care provider, I plan to be a fearless and passionate proponent of the right to access abortion care. I start that today with the American Medical Student Association by my side.

If you are also devoted to this cause, please join us in championing reproductive rights education through our Reproductive Health Project. This project works to support and nurture this nation’s future abortion providers and abortion justice advocates. Through education, clinical skills-building, and advocacy training, we champion abortion care access and help to enact the vision for Reproductive Justice. We recognize that standard medical education is both inadequate in providing abortion care training, and problematically oriented toward perpetuation of white supremacist heteropatriarchal worldviews. In response, our project seeks to do our work in alignment with and following the moral vision of the Reproductive Justice Movement

In honor of Dr. David Gunn and all abortion providers, we recognize the importance of their work.
We at AMSA commit to support their efforts to ensure that there is safe and legal access to abortion care. 

If you or your AMSA Chapter want to get more involved in advancing abortion care access and reproductive justice, the AMSA Reproductive Health Project can support you with free Manual Vacuum Aspiration training, contraception lectures, advocacy skills training, etc. Visit the AMSA Repro Project for more information.

To get further involved with AMSA, please sign up for our annual convention, Future Physicians for Change from June 15-17, 2023 in the great city of Phoenix, AZ. Looking forward to meeting fearlessly passionate leaders who will drive and cultivate an environment of learning, advocacy, and compassionate care for all. 


Action Items from the AMSA Reproductive Health Project: 

  • Visit & Share – 2023 AMSA Art & Appreciation for Abortion Providers Project 
  • AMSA Reproductive Health Research Medical Students Survey on Education & Training Opportunities:
    We invite all US Domestic Medical students to complete the following survey by March 15, 2023 – please click here.
  • Papaya Workshops for Medical Students – Virtual and in-person Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) clinical skills training opportunities – Learn More
  • CHECK-OUT our Thank You to Abortion Providers REEL on Instagram @AMSAnational

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