Our Doctors to Congress: Pass Legislation That Makes Pregnant Workers’ Rights Clear

Dr. Nancy StanwoodWhile today’s Supreme Court decision in Young v. UPS is indeed a victory for pregnant workers, and Physicians celebrates the outcome, we also call for further action by Congress to ensure all workers are protected. Our board chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood said:

“It is time for Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, so no woman has to choose between her job and a healthy pregnancy. As doctors, we give our patients the information they need to stay healthy and we count on employers to act as partners in helping their employees follow our medical advice.”

Read her entire statement here

Announcing the Newest Edition of Our Adolescent Health Curriculum

ARSHEPThe fifth edition of the Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Education Program (ARSHEP) curriculum is now available! ARSHEP is our nationwide educational initiative aimed at teaching physicians more about adolescent reproductive and sexual health. In 2014 alone, members of the 45-person ARSHEP faculty delivered nearly 100 interactive lectures and workshops to over 10,000 health care professionals across the country.

The latest curriculum consists of 20 modules—including three all-new topics—that offer comprehensive, evidence-based information about adolescent reproductive and sexual health care. Topics include long-acting reversible contraception; STI testing and treatment; caring for pregnant and parenting adolescents; pregnancy options counseling; caring for LGBTQ adolescents; emergency contraception; and physicians as advocates for adolescent reproductive health.

The ARSHEP curriculum is available free of charge: Order the entire curriculum on a flash drive, which includes PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and standardized patient videos. Simply email meded@prh.org today. Or, you can download individual modules from our website.

If you are a health care professional who works with adolescents or educates other clinicians, we hope you’ll find the fifth edition of the ARSHEP curriculum a tremendous resource. 

Celebrate National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers with Physicians

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Today is National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers, observed every year on the anniversary of the day in 1993 when Dr. David Gunn was murdered by an anti-choice extremist. Every year, we honor the courageous medical practitioners who provide this much-needed service and fight the stigma surrounding this safe, legal medical care.

How can you celebrate? Read our Leadership Training Academy Fellows’ stories about why they provide. Download and share our doctors’ messages on social media and say why you #AppreciateProviders. Make a donation to Physicians today in honor of your local abortion provider.

Also: Check out Dr. Kate Whitehouse’s Medium essay, Why I Provide Abortion Care, and Dr. Sarah Wallett’s Feministing essay, #Proud2Provide: Reflections on National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

Remembering Dr. Millie Hanson

Dr. Millie Hanson at the 2008 Rashbaum Awards

Dr. Millie Hanson at the 2008 Rashbaum Awards

“Providing abortion is as much a part of medical care as delivering babies and doing appendectomies and treating sore throats. It’s an integral part of medical care….It is not something that should be stigmatized. It should be a part of general and total medical care.” — Dr. Millie Hanson, in 2004

We are saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend and esteemed colleague, Dr. Mildred “Millie” Hanson.

Dr. Hanson began her career in 1959 as an ob/gyn resident at a Minnesota hospital, caring for women who were septic from illegal abortions and had fevers as high as 107. “If you saw the distress of the women who wanted abortions and saw the morbidity and mortality rates of illegal abortion, and the number of unwanted pregnancies, it was obvious that something needed to be done,” Dr. Hanson said.

Dr. Millie Hanson and Dr. George Tiller

Dr. Hanson at the Rashbaum Awards ceremony with friend and award presenter, Dr. George Tiller

Dr. Hanson was one of the pre-Roe doctors featured in our documentary, Voices of ChoiceYou can watch her interview and read a transcript here. In 2008, Physicians honored Dr. Hanson with our William K. Rashbaum Abortion Provider Award. She truly exemplified the spirit of the award, as a doctor who provided outstanding abortion services and served as an inspirational leader for colleagues, residents, and medical students.

Dr. Hanson noted that the harassment she and her colleagues experienced paled in comparison to what her patients encountered: “We experience some harassment…. It bothers my staff and me, but what I really object to is the impact on our patients.  When women are queried as to what was most difficult about their abortion — making the decision, pain during or after the procedure — they almost always say being exposed to the harassment.”

She believed that we all have to work to lift the stigma of abortion. In an interview from 2001, Dr. Hanson said: “Young clinicians must realize that abortion must be a part of mainstream health care. However, we have not yet erased the stigma that is attached to being an abortion provider.”

However, Dr. Hanson worked hard to eliminate that stigma: she devoted her career to speaking out, to championing reproductive rights, and to improving patient care. Observing a lack of providers in her area, she saw patients from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin as well as Minnesota.

She had seen the dark days, pre-Roe, and hoped for a better future for women and providers alike. “[Abortion] is a part of mainstream medical care, and I think when that kind of thinking becomes a part of our mission, as far as what we do as doctors, I think that then we will see the stigma removed.”

Today, Physicians President and CEO Jodi Magee remarked: “Millie was an ardent advocate and skilled practitioner who understood what seeking an abortion meant to a woman. Her recollection, in our Voices of Choice documentary, of a young woman who committed suicide, breaks my heart every time I see it. And it is clear it broke hers, still so many years after the incident.”

As we mourn the loss of Dr. Hanson, we must keep her memory alive by working to make her vision a reality. Thank you, Dr. Hanson, for being a champion of reproductive rights, an innovative practitioner, and a cherished friend and colleague.

We feel honored to have known her.