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“It is my fundamental philosophy that patients are emotionally, mentally, morally, spiritually and physically competent to struggle with complex health issues and come to decisions that are appropriate for them.” - Dr. George Tiller

Four years ago Dr. Tiller, an abortion provider in Wichita, Kansas, was murdered. Today we remember his courageous and compassionate work as both a health care provider and a women’s health advocate.

This past weekend was the Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) Activist Leadership Institute. Being one of those selected across the country from the tons of applications, we experienced a whirlwind of information and workshops to be better organizers, activists, orators, and framers through the context of future abortion providers. At the end, as a “charger,” we discussed what our ideal 2016 would be in bout 10 minutes. Stuff in the circle is what we want. Stuff outside the circle is stuff we want to get rid of. 
Apparently there was a lot of agreemtn on - men having babies and safe (implied) sex.
Hell yeah. 2016 is looking awesome.
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This past weekend was the Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) Activist Leadership Institute. Being one of those selected across the country from the tons of applications, we experienced a whirlwind of information and workshops to be better organizers, activists, orators, and framers through the context of future abortion providers. At the end, as a “charger,” we discussed what our ideal 2016 would be in bout 10 minutes. Stuff in the circle is what we want. Stuff outside the circle is stuff we want to get rid of. 

Apparently there was a lot of agreemtn on - men having babies and safe (implied) sex.

Hell yeah. 2016 is looking awesome.

40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the historic Supreme Court decision that ensured a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion. Unfortunately, since 1963, federal and state legislators have worked very hard to chip away at that right, decreasing access for women throughout the United States through restrictions on insurance coverage; waiting periods; and mandatory, medically unnecessary ultrasounds to name a few. The most significant of these is the Hyde Amendment, which keeps Medicaid from paying for terminations, leaving the poor and marginalized, those often at greatest risk for unplanned pregnancy, with the worst access. In the last couple years, we’ve even seen attacks on birth control. As future physicians, I believe it is our responsibility to be scientists in the face of ideology and stand up for the health and rights of our patients and communities. 

On this day, I’d like you all to take just a little bit of time to read about the current attacks on reproductive health in the U.S., and the new restrictions that have come into effect even in just the last year. Texas actually defunded Planned Parenthood and Mississippi is on a crusade to make sure the state’s last abortion clinic closes its doors as soon as possible. This anniversary post on Mother Jones is a fantastic summary, including great research from the Guttmacher Institute, and here’s another post on five states we need to be watching in 2013. In case your interested, here’s some up to date Pew Forum polling.

Today, I encourage you all to take action in support of reproductive health and rights:


  • Tell your legislators and President Obama how you feel, and visit This is Personal for additional info ways to be involved. 
  • Contribute to Not In Her Shoes a tumblr voicing that no one can walk in another woman’s shoes but her and no one else can describe her personal experience. 
  • Check out the 1 in 3 Campaign, which brings stories and faces to the 1 in 3 women who will have an abortion in her lifetime.
  • Get involved with Medical Students for Choice at your school or create a chapter if there isn’t one already.
  • Consider holding an event on women’s health this semester to educate your classmates on this important issue.
Not into reading today? I’ve got graphics!
Please stand with me in saying we should treat reproductive health care like health care, by respecting women’s decisions in the face of their own unique realities. Take a moment today to be thankful that our obstetric wards aren’t flooded with self-induced, septic abortions as they were pre-Roe v. Wade, but also to realize that our past may come around to be our future if we don’t take action!

Dear Mr. Akin, I Want You to Imagine...

Dear Todd Akin,

I am writing to you tonight about rape. It is 2 AM and I am unable to sleep here in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am in Bukavu at the City of Joy to serve and support and work with hundreds, thousands of women who have been raped and violated and tortured from this ceaseless war for minerals fought on their bodies.

I am in Congo but I could be writing this from anywhere in the United States, South Africa, Britain, Egypt, India, Philippines, most college campuses in America. I could be writing from any city or town or village where over half a billion women on the planet are raped in their lifetime.

Mr. Akin, your words have kept me awake.

As a rape survivor, I am reeling from your recent statement where you said you misspoke when you said that women do not get pregnant from legitimate rape, and that you were speaking “off the cuff.”

Clarification. You didn’t make some glib throw away remark. You made a very specific ignorant statement clearly indicating you have no awareness of what it means to be raped. And not a casual statement, but one made with the intention of legislating the experience of women who have been raped. Perhaps more terrifying: it was a window into the psyche of the GOP.

You used the expression “legitimate” rape as if to imply there were such a thing as “illegitimate” rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.

When you, Paul Ryan and 225 of your fellow co-sponsors play with words around rape suggesting only “forcible” rape be treated seriously as if all rapes weren’t forcible, it brings back a flood of memories of the way the rapists played with us in the act of being raped — intimidating us, threatening us,muting us. Your playing with words like “forcible” and “legitimate” is playing with our souls which have been shattered by unwanted penises shoving into us, ripping our flesh, our vaginas, our consciousness, our confidence, our pride, our futures.

Now you want to say that you misspoke when you said that a legitimate rape couldn’t get us pregnant. Did you honestly believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, that some mysterious religious process occurs and rape sperm self-destructs due to its evilcontent? Or, were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us? It would seem you were saying that getting pregnant after a rape would indicate it was not a “legitimate” rape.

Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are on your bed or up against a wall or locked in a small suffocating space. Imagine being tied up there and imagine some aggressive, indifferent, insane stranger friend or relative ripping off your clothes and entering your body — the most personal, sacred, private part of your body — and violently, hatefully forcing themself into you so that you are ripped apart. Then imagine that stranger’s sperm shooting into you and filling you and you can’t get it out. It is growing something in you. Imagine you have no idea what that life will even consist of, spiritually made in hate, not knowing the mental or health background of the rapist.

Then imagine a person comes along, a person who has never had that experience of rape, and that person tells you, you have no choice but to keep that product of rape growing in you against your will and when it is born it has the face of your rapist, the face of the person who has essentially destroyed your being and you will have to look at the face every day of your life and you will be judged harshly if you cannot love that face.

I don’t know if you can imagine any of this (leadership actually requires this kind of compassion), but if you are willing to go to the depth of this darkness, you will quickly understand that there is NO ONE WHO CAN MAKE THAT CHOICE to have or not have the baby, but the person carrying that baby herself.

I have spent much time with mothers who have given birth to children who are the product of rape. I have watched how tortured they are wrestling with their hate and anger, trying not to project that onto their child.

I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.

Why don’t you spend your time ending rape rather than redefining it? Spend your energy going after those perpetrators who so easily destroy women rather than parsing out manipulative language that minimizes their destruction.

And by the way you’ve just given millions of women a very good reason to make sure you never get elected again, and an insanely good reason to rise.

#ReasonToRise

Eve Ensler
Bukavu, Congo

So well written. So strong, and hell to the yeah.

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