Abortion Prevention Was Part of My Job Description

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As a third year medical student, I rotated through various medical specialties. Everyone's favorite was Obstetrics and Gynecology as that meant our first chance to deliver a baby. What a privilege to share in a family's most ecstatic experience! 

During the OB-GYN program, I also rotated through the prenatal ultrasound department. Watching a 10 week fetus, about the size of a small olive, performing acrobatics was truly awesome. That tiny fetus swimming so gracefully in the amniotic fluid affected me in a big way. 

 

 

I ended up choosing Gynecology as my specialty as I bonded with women patients so easily and gynecologic surgery was pure fascination. Applying to residency programs, I was confronted with a crucial decision. Northwestern University, for example, clearly stated that residents were required to perform abortions. I remembered that spinning “olive” and just said “no”. This decision did not spring forth from religious conviction, but from my love of living things. I am the sort who tries to escort the spiders and wasps out of the house instead of stepping on them. I'm concerned about factory farm conditions of food-source animals. I respect the potential of the fetus while it develops in its mother's uterus. 

During my career as a Gynecologist I never performed an abortion nor prescribed a drug which would induce an abortion. My daily job description, in between surgeries and procedures, was to listen to patients contraceptive needs and work with each to choose and reinforce a method in accordance with her family planning. With careful choice and follow-up, contraceptives prevented unwanted pregnancy. That is the best abortion prevention of all. 

Two or three times in my entire career that contraceptive failed and a patient came into the office to confirm her positive home pregnancy test or to find out why her period was late. I listened, I asked her wishes, and I referred her accordingly. I did not insert any bias into my counseling. 

It was her, and only her, decision.