When I talk to people back home in the US about this, I remind them that we are only one or two generations removed from women seeking out unsafe abortions in this country. I’ve met doctors who were practicing in the 1960s and 70s, before abortion was legalized here, and they tell me that same story of hospital wards being filled with bed after bed after bed of women with septic abortions, women who were bleeding and suffering the same types of complications that I’m seeing in Congo today.
I’m proud to be working with MSF in providing access to safe abortion, treatment for unsafe abortion, and contraceptive care. It’s an honor for me to be able to fight every day for women and girls, to help them get the high-quality medical care they need. I know that we’re preventing maternal deaths and suffering.
People often associate MSF with life-saving medical activities in times of war—the trauma surgery and other treatment of war-wounded people that we do—and I think that work is really important. But I also think that the work our field teams are doing to provide safe abortion care—even when it is risky to do so—is equally heroic, equally life-saving, and just as much a part of MSF’s mission. I know, from what I’ve seen with my own eyes, that providing safe abortion care saves women’s lives.