My OBGYN Won’t Do Abortions. That’s Why I Chose Her.
Earlier this week Mommyish Editor Shawna Cohen wrote “Want An Abortion? Good Luck Finding A Willing Doctor In The U.S.” She reported on a new survey published in Obstetrics and Gynecology that shows only 14 percent of OBGYNS perform abortions.
See, I chose my doctor precisely because she doesn’t do abortions. I’ve been with her for almost 15 years now and she’s seen me through thick and thin. She’s delivered both of my children. I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say I’d take a bullet for her. I found her through a friend and I’ve since had many other friends sign up with her. We all talk about how much we love her. Some of them keep using her as their doctor even after they’ve moved far away. With her Jamaican accent and unbelievable bedside manner, she puts everyone at ease whether they’re going through a routine Pap or hard labor. Whether my friends and I have gone through miscarriages, genetic abnormalities, STDs or unplanned pregnancies, her gentle ease has guided us. She gives us straightforward advice about sex, marital communications and breastfeeding. She’s the best. And she doesn’t do abortions, as a matter of conscience. She doesn’t believe that they are right. Neither do I. I have, of course, friends who have had them and I understand the difficulty of being in a situation where you feel abortion is the best thing to do. But I believe firmly that all human life is sacred and I want a doctor who shares that view when the going gets tough.
I’d never even thought about OBGYNs doing abortions but it was my mom or my sister back in my home state who suggested I ask prospective doctors if they do them. For me, it’s important that a doctor have a major commitment to taking care of my life and the life of my unborn child. I have heard so many stories from women who switched doctors because their doctors didn’t share their values or views on this issue. You don’t realize how much of a problem it is until a situation arises.
One of my friends had to flee the practice she had been going to — and I don’t use those words lightly — because they wouldn’t stop pressuring her to end the life of her son who has Down syndrome. Her pregnancy was already harrowing, she was as anxious as any first-time pregnant mother would be and nervous about having a child with special needs. The pressure to abort was way too much, though. She finally found a practice mid-pregnancy that supported her belief that having Down syndrome was not a capital offense. Her son is awesome, by the way.
Another friend was livid at how a doctor made her return from vacation to test for genetic problems because an initial test showed there might be some. But he wouldn’t tell her why she had to return. It was her first pregnancy and she was freaked out. Turned out he insisted she return so quickly because she was nearing a deadline for an abortion. She was livid because had she known that was the reason, there’s no way in hell she would have come back since there’s no way in hell she’d have an abortion.
My own husband’s mother switched doctors when she was pregnant with him because her first doctor recommended abortion on account of her age. (Fun side note: this is how my husband came to be delivered at the same hospital as President Obama!)
My doctor, on the other hand, is almost a relic from a bygone era. She’s the sole doctor in her practice. When I was hospitalized while pregnant with my first child (car accident), the nurses all told me how much they loved my doctor and they said that she’s the doctor that other doctors and nurses go to. She’s that good.
I want a doctor who affirms the sanctity of life at all stages. I don’t want someone who I have to fight against if I find out that my child is not genetically typical. My doctor is a wonderful blessing in my life. A loving but no-nonsense woman who has performed surgery on me and seen me from singlehood to motherhood. I trust her in part because I know we share the same values on the sanctity of life. She said it well when I first got pregnant: Now I have two patients. That’s what I’m looking for in a doctor.