Exactly 21 years ago, an abortion protestor outside a Florida clinic yelled, “Don’t kill any more babies!” before shooting Dr. David Gunn three times in the back, making him the first doctor murdered by a movement perversely calling itself "pro-life." Since then, seven more abortion providers have been killed, and many more attacked, threatened, harassed and otherwise made to feel unsafe enough they regularly wore bulletproof vests to their jobs, which were to provide women with health care, reproductive rights and sometimes, sorrowfully, a safe, legal way to terminate a pregnancy. Last year, states passed or proposed 300 laws restricting their ability to do so; as part of that trend, Texas' last two rural abortion clinics just closed. To honor Dunn and the many others who put their lives on the line each day to make reproductive freedom possible, March 10 is National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. For doctors, it means "we can't forget the things that have happened." For patients, activists and other women, it means sharing their stories and chipping away at shame and stigma - "the biggest weapon in the other side’s arsenal" - to ensure they won't happen again.
“Everyone who does the work we do can’t forget the things that have happened, and the people who have been murdered and attacked,” says Dr. Christopher Estes, an abortion provider in Florida. “But I don’t let it stop me from doing what I do.”