Friday, March 10, marks National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, and there are a number of ways we can support them.
Indeed, there has never been a more urgent time to advocate for the important work of abortion providers. Anti-choice legislators are relentlessly crafting bills that specifically target doctors who provide abortions. For example, Utah’s governor is expected to sign a bill mandating that abortions could only be performed in hospitals. This would effectively ban abortion clinics throughout the state. In Wyoming, a bill that criminalizes providers who perform abortions is set to pass the governor’s desk. And states like Kansas are targeting telemedicine providers. These attacks on abortion providers infringe on not only health care but also patient-provider relationships.
However, this has always been the modus operandi for anti-abortion legislators and activists. Indeed, beyond these bills, attacks on clinics and providers are ramping up. In 2021, assaults against abortion clinic staff and patients rose by a whopping 128 percent. The National Abortion Federation reported that there was a 600 percent increase in stalking, a 163 percent increase in suspicious packages, a 128 percent increase in protesters forcibly entering clinics, and a 80 percent increase in bomb threats. This was prior to the reversal of Roe — which has undoubtedly led to the abuse being heightened. In fact, a provider in Iowa recently explained: “Now, it is outright harassment. It is outright intimidation. There’s this new addition, this faction of hardcore extremists who are screaming at the top of their lungs and using intimidation, tactics, threats — anything they can think of.”
This year’s National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day marks 20 years since Dr. David Gunn was murdered by Michael Frederick Griffin. Griffin was described by the New York Times as a fundamentalist Christian and was praised by the Christian terrorist group Army of God as “the awesomest greatest hero of our time.” Anti-abortion extremism has been linked to other religiously influenced domestic terrorist activities, such as the Jan. 6 insurrection.
This is why it is imperative that we protect the work of abortion providers. Below is a list of ideas for how to celebrate and raise awareness. Make sure to use the hashtag #CelebrateAbortionProviders if you post on social media!
- Host a postcard party and create thank you notes for abortion providers. You can download and print this postcard.
- Write a letter or an op-ed to your local newspaper about why we must support abortion providers.
- Order needed items from clinic wish lists.
- Send a plant or flower to your local clinic. Find a provider.
- Donate to independent clinics.
- Ask your city to recognize Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. Access the toolkit created by Abortion Care Network, National Institute for Reproductive Health and the National Network of Abortion Funds.
Attacks on abortion and abortion providers are a threat not only to health care and gender equality but also for democracy and the separation of state and church. We can bring awareness and advocacy for them this week — and every week.