Today we lost someone important.

Yesterday, we received a letter of resignation from one of our clinic doctors:

“Thank you so much for fighting the good fight. A big part of me is sorry I’m not in there with you but I have to do what’s right for me at this point.” 

“I have loved my work with WWH and have found it extremely fulfilling. I have also loved working for you.” 

“I am also worried about the uncertainty of my employment status in Texas. Will I get admitting rights? Will the government pull something else that makes it impossible for me to work there? Will the clinic close despite everyone’s best efforts?”

Like so many physicians in Texas that perform abortions, our doctors are understandably worried about their employment and the future of their field in the Lone Star State in general. As Whole Woman’s Health Founder and CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller put it, “Legislative and organizational uncertainty led to us losing a talented, young physician to another state.”

To settle the questions about the future of our company would require providing a clear and concise answer about what exactly we plan on doing. We cannot offer this; even we don’t know what the end results of these efforts will be.

We truly hope that this is the last time we lose another staff member because of their being no perceivable light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, our focus is contingency planning and combatting the bad parts of this bill. 

77 days left. 

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16 comments

  1. Melissa Young

    Dear Clinic Doctor,
    Thank you for all that you have done for females in Texas. We needed you then, and we need you now. Go in peace to do more good work in another state – helping women through their abortions during one of the most trying times in their life. Take with you the comfort and experience you have acquired here, in Texas. You will be missed, but we are awaiting your return, soon, very soon.
    – Melissa Young, a native Houstonian, and a Pro-Choice Texas Women

  2. Tina Sutherland

    I wish you comfort and success in your new part of life. I would only ask that you pass on to other professionals the idea of working in this field. It may not sound like an attractive field to go into, but you have found rewards, please tell them. We needed you and we need them.
    Thank you.

  3. iamsamiam

    I’m a heavily pro-choice Texan/Austinite who was protesting at the capitol, so my critique of this isn’t coming from the other side. My problem with this “blurb” is that it sounds to perfectly synchronous with the narrative. I’m not saying that this doctor didn’t resign, and didn’t resign for the reasons stated, I’m saying it sounds suspect. Why give up when the question of “admitting rights”, which isn’t even an issue for several months, and what the government may or may not do in the future sounds like a VERY WEAK argument from someone who at one point made the very pivotal (and brave) decision to become a physician who performs abortions in a conservative state, such as Texas.
    This more sounds like one of the scare-stories that came from several of the “blue shirt” women who re-told the old urban legend about the girl who changed her mind about getting an abortion at the clinic and was then assaulted, anesthetized and forced to receive an abortion by clinic staff (thus her choice taken away, and a ghost story to scare young girls from thinking about ever going to an abortion clinic). The “blue shirt” of course saying that she-herself was the victim of this assault.
    Like the departing doctor in the above story, the fictitious victim of the abortion clinic assault, both stories align perfectly with particular narratives. If this doctor really did depart for those tenuous reasons, while others bravely stay, then good riddance; you’re in the wrong business.

    • wholewomanshealth

      Understanding the admitting rights process is key here. The fact of the matter is that obtaining privileges is a very lengthy and time-consuming process in itself, and every single hospital facility in the state has different onerous requirements that physicians have to comply with in order to obtain those rights. 76 days may not be enough time at all, and that’s if you qualify with a facility that’s within 30 miles of the clinic that the doctor is performing procedures at. Hospitals in Texas risk a lot when providing an abortion doctor with admitting privileges to their facility, including losing Medicaid funding from the state of Texas.

      This post is not part of the “ghost story” narrative. This, like all of our other posts to come, is our real story. It may sound like we’re trying to use intimidation or scare tactics, but it’s the reality of it: if any of our clinics can’t get admitting privileges in the next 76 days, we can’t operate that clinic anymore. Getting these privileges takes a very long time, if they’re even granted to us at all. This doctor’s fear and eventual leaving of our facility was very real, and those quotes are verbatim from her letter of resignation.

      We applaud all of your support and fighting for women’s reproductive rights in Texas. We encourage you to keep having that voice.

      • Juliana Gonzales

        Texas Physician,
        We appreciate all you have done for our communities and families. I understand your need to do what is right for yourself and your career and wish you had not been put in the position of deciding.

        If I could impose another favor, after so many generosities you’ve given already– please continue training your colleagues in abortion care. Empower someone else to carry the torch for a while.

        Thank you.

      • tootertotz

        Thank you for your reply on this comment. I have a question that I have struggled for an answer when asked. First, I am whole-hearted supporter of women’s rights, including the right to choose what to do with her own body. When people ask me why the clinics will have to close in the face of the HB2 restrictions rather than cease performing any abortions, I have no reasoned and supported answer. I would love a way to handle that question, if you can explain it to me. Thanks a bunch and keep fighting the good fight!

      • wholewomanshealth

        Absolutely. The problem with HB2 is that it puts up a lot of hurdles for clinics in Texas, specifically with the hospital admitting privileges portion of the bill and the ASC regulations portion of the bill. One is designed to make it much harder for our physicians to find work and to be able to see patients in Texas, the other is designed to bankrupt us. Here is an infographic we made that explains this in much better detail:

      • Tootertotz

        Thank you for the reply and infographic. I don’t think I did a good job of clearly asking my question. The trouble I am running into is being able to explain why the clinics that provide more than abortion services are going to close under the restrictions rather than cease performing abortions. I have followed closely and understand the impossible provisions laid out by HB 2. Throughout, one of my talking points has been that rural and low-income women are going to lose access to affordable women’s health care when the clinics are forced to close. That, to me, makes this bill a clear attack on women but I haven’t been able to counter when asked why they would close instead of caving to the requirements. Bear in mind, I understand the costs associated with ASC standards and how that coupled with admitting privileges being near impossible to get with the 30-mile proximity provision. I am encouraged that you have been able to make strides in possibly getting admitting privileges for the providers. And beyond that, I am happy to hear that cases are already in the works to bring this to the courts. We can hope the courts have more sense than our legislators and follow the lead of the ND court.

        If you would rather, please feel free to email me privately. Thanks again!

      • wholewomanshealth

        Oh! We understand now.

        The short answer for us is simply that we’re an abortion provider. We provide safe, compassionate, affordable abortion care, and have only recently started offering the other services to our patients. That, and if we were to stop performing abortions and just offer the other services, we would be unable to stay open financially, even if we were government funded (the state of Texas doesn’t provide funding to places that offer these kinds of services either).

        I hope this answers your questions.

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