On Monday morning, the Supreme Court made the momentous decision to overturn Texas’s HB2 law. The highest court in the country decided that Texas’s TRAP laws placed an undue burden on women seeking an abortion. However, there is still work to be done in Texas and many other states. One of the biggest obstacles facing women and the abortion clinics that seek to serve them is a lack of abortion providers. This is not a new problem.
Twenty-three years ago, our founder Jody Steinauer was a medical student at University of California San Francisco. She, like thousands of other medical students, received a mailing which included the following “joke”:
Q: What would you do if you were in a room with Hitler, Mussolini, and an abortionist and you had a gun with two bullets?
A: Shoot the abortionist twice.
Sadly, this “joke” has become somewhat true and timeless. Since 1993, the year Medical Students for Choice was founded, eleven people have been murdered due to anti-choice violence. Three of those murders happened last year in Colorado Springs, CO. According to National Abortion Federation, besides the eleven murders previously mentioned, “Since 1977, there have been […] 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 185 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at abortion providers.” From 2014 to 2015, death threats increased from one to 94. Given these grim statistics, coupled with the lack of education and training available to future abortion providers, it is no surprise that the number of abortion providers in the US has dropped drastically.
This is exactly why Jody started MSFC. She knew, as did abortion opponents, there is no choice without trained and willing providers. This is why medical students around the world have sought out MSFC for education materials, training, and funding for externships. This is why medical students have founded their own chapters on their medical school campuses across the US and around the world. This is why MSFC stands up in the face of opposition.
Medical Students for Choice fights not just for the right to an abortion from a trained medical provider, but also the rights of medical students who want a comprehensive education on reproductive health care. We exist not just for the women with unintended pregnancies, but also for the doctors who counsel them. We work every day for women who want an abortion for whatever reason they choose, and for the providers who will keep them safe. Without providers, there is no choice. Without education, there will be no providers.