Dominika Seidman — a doctor and professor at the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences — wrote a piece for Salon saying that "having an abortion can be transformative."
Here's the paragraph containing her sentiment:
Giving birth can be transformative. Having an abortion can be transformative. If we don't give people the opportunity to pursue the decision that is right for them, we're compounding their trauma and creating new obstacles to recovery and wellness. Our job as doctors who provide abortion care — whether we meet patients at a shelter, clinic, hospital or anywhere else — is to provide them the care that is right for them, with compassion and free from judgment.
What are the details?
Seidman began her piece by criticizing the state of Louisiana for arguing to the Supreme Court last year in order "to save a law that would severely limit abortion access" and also convince the high court "to rule that abortion providers and clinics no longer have the standing to challenge abortion restrictions on behalf of their patients."
She then described her job with UCSF working "with pregnant people our healthcare system has cast aside. These individuals are experiencing incarceration or homelessness, have substance use disorders or significant mental illness." Seidman added that their "trauma runs deep, back to childhoods in the foster system or nights living on the streets. When they've tried to engage in care, they've been ignored or poorly treated. Their kids have been taken away by a Child Protective Services System steeped in a long history of racism. They've left their belongings in a tent on the street to go to the doctor, knowing their things might be vandalized or stolen, only to be berated for being late or forced to wait for hours."
Seidman insisted that when it comes to the "pregnant people" she assists, she stays out of their decisions regarding whether or not to continue their pregnancies.
She then detailed the experiences of two women she worked with — one who chose abortion and another who gave up her child for adoption. The woman who aborted her baby decided to do so after learning she would be in jail for longer than expected and wouldn't be able to be with her other kids at home.
"We talked regularly to ensure that the abortion was what she really wanted," Seidman noted. "It was an incredibly emotional and intense decision for her. I saw her a year later and she was thriving, back with her kids, and working as a counselor at a substance use recovery program. She talked about how the abortion was so important for her own recovery and made her a better parent."
More from her piece:
Another patient with a substance use disorder came to us when it was too late for her to have the abortion she wanted. We helped her plan around an adoption. The entire birth center rallied around her, and she had one of the most beautiful births I've ever seen. An experience that could have been weighed down with stigma and judgment was surrounded by love and support.
Seidman concluded by noting that it's "my job to challenge restrictions to" her clients' "reproductive autonomy" — and that "the Supreme Court should continue to allow people who provide abortion care to stand up in court on behalf of our patients, as yet another essential way we provide care that puts our patients first."
How did others react?
Believe it or not, not every comment on the Salon piece agreed with Seidman:
- "'Having an abortion can be transformative.' In other words, abortion is not a regrettable but sometimes justified choice, but actually a good thing? Something to be celebrated? Some sort of line has been crossed here."
- "Let's talk medical science: I do not see how you can justify terminating a child with a unique human DNA, often a heartbeat, brainwaves, and if late enough it can feel pain."
- "Bizarre that this author went on for the entire article without ever mentioning the second person involved with this decision — the human life that will be terminated if abortion is chosen."
- "Uh...pregnant 'people'?"
- "This doesn't seem to be about logic or about rights of the unborn. There seems to be an emotional commitment on the part of many pro-abortion advocates to ignoring such matters; the only view is that abortion is fine and dandy and any questioning of this view is right-wing. I'm a socialist and atheist. I want an open debate with a commitment to evidence and reason on all sides."