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Today is National Day of Appreciation For Abortion Providers, and I’m here to say thank you to the doctors and nurses all over the world who perform sometimes life-saving medical procedures in the face of great opposition.

  1. One in three women have abortions, despite a very real war to take away those rights and to try to shame women into forgoing the procedure. Abortion providers stand with those women.
  2. Providing abortions is a dangerous job. National Day Of Appreciation For Abortion Providers happens on the anniversary of the murder of Dr. David Gunn, who was killed by anti-abortion extremists in 1993. Seven more abortion providers have been killed since then. Abortion providers risk their lives everyday.
  3. Abortion is a necessary medical procedure for many women who cannot safely carry a pregnancy to term. Abortion providers provide a sometimes life saving service.
  4. Abortion providers respect and support the fundamental right of people’s autonomy over their bodies.
  5. Clinics are frequently swamped with protesters who yell vile things and try to intimidate patients and doctors. Providers walk past those people every day in order to perform those procedures.
  6. Providers practice in spite of the significant stigma attached to this medical procedure, and work to take some of that stigma’s power away.
  7. The doctors and nurses who perform abortions give women a safe (and legal) way to end pregnancy, as opposed to the extremely dangerous measures some women take out of desperation.
  8. They prioritize their patients’ health over national politics and rhetoric. They are good doctors. The Hippocratic oath isn’t conditional.
  9. They are vocal about birth control reform (some great examples of that here) and making sure women have access to birth control options.
  10. They follow the law, which states that abortion is legal in this country, despite the multitudes of backdoor workarounds that some legislatures instate to limit abortion access.

Feministing and Physicians for Reproductive Health both have great lists of ways to thank abortion providers, including sending cards, donations, and getting active in reproductive legislative issues. I would highly recommend reading this “Why I Provide” post, which features over 30 abortion doctors talking about their practices. Or you can share that card up top around to get the word out.

Either way: here’s my personal thank you. Thank you for providing necessary medical services that keep me safe, for standing up to the barrage of screaming voices that have politicized your career and my body, and for putting the care of your patients first. You’re brave, and you’re heroes.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images