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Opinion

On Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, I appreciate Colorado

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by Benedict Landgren, Colorado Newsline
March 11, 2024

As a Colorado OB-GYN and abortion provider, every week I see patients who are fleeing states hostile to their autonomy, where politicians seek to control their individual choices and their bodies.  

So as we celebrate Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, I want to extend my appreciation to the state of Colorado for continuing to support abortion care providers like myself.

I also want to express appreciation for my patients. It is the greatest privilege of my life to be trusted with their care and to learn from their stories. I became an abortion provider because I saw the difference it makes in somebody’s life to access safe, compassionate and comprehensive reproductive health care.

Expressing gratitude for my patients is not just a gesture — it is a reaffirmation of their agency and humanity in a society that often seeks to diminish both. It is a declaration that their voices matter, their stories matter, and their decisions matter.

My patients come from all walks of life, each with their own unique stories, hopes and dreams. What they have in common is their thoughtfulness, love for their families, and courage to access the care they need, even in the face of social stigma and political barriers. 

Whether they arrive with confidence or with understandable anxieties, I am committed to meeting them where they are, and providing them with the care and support they need to make the health care choices that are right for them.

For my patients who hold anxiety, it’s most often due to prevailing misinformation about abortion care and worry about being judged by their loved ones and community, or even by their health care providers. They sometimes feel compelled to justify their decisions to me, and explain how they are fleeing abusive relationships, pursuing their education, or striving to provide for their families. 

I let my patients know that I trust them, and encourage them to trust themselves. I hope to validate their reasons for accessing care and remind them that they are the experts on their lives and their situations.

I am proud to give this encouragement no matter what choice they are making for themselves and their pregnancy. However, trusting my patients does not mean leaving them to navigate their decisions alone. I always make sure my patients have access to accurate information and comprehensive support — whether it’s clarifying medical details or exploring all available options.  

I am committed to empowering my patients to make decisions that align with their values and goals, whatever that choice may be. More and more over the past few years, I see the barriers and challenges faced by those who must travel across state lines or from overseas to access a safe and legal abortion.

Bans on care only serve to exacerbate the stigma surrounding abortion and infringe upon individuals’ rights to make personal medical decisions. When people have to leave their communities to obtain care, they experience added emotional stress, incur more expenses, and fear criminal penalties. I am so grateful to be in a state that trusts individuals to make informed decisions about their own bodies and lives, without arbitrary political interference. 

Colorado has an amazing network of supportive doctors, practical support organizations, and community members that pull together to support these patients who experience the toughest circumstances.

So today, and every day, let us not only celebrate the work of providers but also uplift the resilience and courage of those who entrust us with their care. Your trust is the greatest gift, and it is an honor to stand by your side. 

To the elected leaders, organizations, storytellers, and advocates who have helped make Colorado a safe place for abortion access, I extend my deepest gratitude for your ongoing work toward a future where every person can access the care they need, without fear or shame.

This story is republished from CO Newsline under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.