Former Clinic Worker: Jenny Higgins

Jenny Higgins was pro-choice when she wrote the following in the book Abortion under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice. To my knowledge, she still holds a pro-choice position. However, her remarks highlight the flaws of abortion clinics

“The underfunded structure of services at the clinics meant that I rarely had the time or resources to give women the clinical or psychological care they needed or deserved. Counseling sessions were strictly time constrained, sometimes allowing only 5 minutes per patient. I had to rush women out of the procedure room within minutes – sometimes seconds – of their termination so that we could quickly prepped the room for the next patient. This hustle meant another missed chance to provide follow-up counseling, or assistance to help these women avoid future unintended pregnancies.

Also, I was disillusioned by the general dilapidation of the clinic, the dated medical equipment, the revolving door of staff, and other indications of a clinical setting with inadequate resources. Instead of serving as a reproductive rights midwife of sorts, helping women realize their own self-efficacy, I felt like I was forced to provide rushed and inadequate care, which, by way of shoddy counseling, may have been contributing directly to women’s for contraceptive adherence in the future.

In a second challenge to my previously held beliefs, clinic worker forced me to face the reality of abortion as a real human calamity. It was hard to ignore abortion’s underbelly of loss when so many patients exhibited deep and, at times, almost bottomless sadness, distress, or anxiety. Even though these women were trying to make the best decision for themselves, such certainty of choice couldn’t entirely remove the psychological injury.”

Jenny Higgins “Sex, Unintended Pregnancy, and Poverty: One Woman’s Evolution from “Choice” to “Reproductive Justice” in Krista Jacob. Abortion under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice (Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2006) 34 to 35

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Author: Sarah

Sarah is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.

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