Honoring, Celebrating, and Loving Abortion Providers, Today and Every Day

March 09, 2024

Honoring, Celebrating, and Loving Abortion Providers, Today and Every Day

Written by Jeff Koetje, MD, AMSA Reproductive Health Programming Strategist

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 the Dobbs decision in 2022, abortion care providers have increasingly faced threats, intimidation, violence, and legal repercussions 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 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. Through his work, he provided life-affirming and life-saving care to those who needed an abortion.

Abortion Provider Appreciation Day is a day – as good as any – for those of us who work on the AMSA Reproductive Health Project to reflect on the meaning of our work, in relation to the work of those whom we honor and lift up today. The AMSA Repro Project has a primary purpose of enriching the abortion provider training pathway by supporting and nurturing future physicians who are interested in and/or committed to providing abortion care as part of their clinical practice. Additionally, we engage with any and all future physicians who are interested in learning how to more effectively use their social, professional, and political power to advocate for reproductive health and rights, in alignment with the framework(s) of the Reproductive Justice Movement. While our project is, at the highest level, a project of undergraduate medical education and training about abortion care and family planning, it is also, at its core, a project that seeks to make a meaningful contribution to the projects of reproductive freedom, reproductive justice, and collective liberation. 

Because of this core commitment to making a positive contribution toward reproductive justice, we seek, first and foremost, to be aligned with and accountable  to those who have been and are most directly targeted by intersecting systemic oppression(s) in a white supremacist, cis-heteropatriarchal, colonial-capitalist, eugenicist, imperial carceral state, and to those who are the moral, ethical, and political leaders of the movement for Reproductive Justice: Black women and femme; Indigenous women and femme; queer people; those who experience economic, environmental, and political deprivation; and those who are subjected to colonizing/imperial forces.

As a project oriented toward supporting future abortion providers, we seek to fill in some of the (many) gaps and address (many of) the inadequacies in standard medical education around abortion care and family planning, through our programming, which always seeks to bridge knowledge, reflection, and organizing for action. We know that standard medical education around abortion isn’t just inadequate, it is also deeply flawed. The culture of medicine and medical education is still rooted in white supremacist heteropatriarchy, which shows up in so many ways, including on-going stigmatization of abortion (and, by extension, of abortion providers) within the House of Medicine.

The AMSA Repro Project honors, celebrates, and loves abortion providers; and we honor, celebrate, and love future abortion providers and those just getting started in their practice of care. We are incredibly lucky to get to work with some amazing abortion providers who also happen to be AMSA alumni and former national leaders. Dr. Aliye Runyan, Dr. Avanthi Jayaweera, Dr. Kelly Thibert, Dr. Alison Case, and Dr. Devki Joshi: we hold you with all the love in our hearts and with the warmth of a thousand hugs. The way you show up for people needing abortion care inspires us to show up for the work necessary to ensure that there will always be a well-trained professional available for every person who needs an abortion,  no matter when, no matter where, no matter why. Today, and every day, we appreciate you and every abortion provider.

Check out & share our Celebration of Abortion Providers & Educators Instagram Reel

Explore the AMSA Reproductive Health Project
Find news, tips, tools, opportunities  & more!

Sign-up Here for AMSA Repro Project Updates