By Brittany Schall, 2018 Next Generation Fellow
My name is Brittany Schall and I am a third year medical student in San Antonio, Texas. I became a Next Generation Fellow with NARAL Pro Choice Texas toward the end of my second year, and it was the perfect transition from my role as co-president of our campus’ Medical Students For Choice organization. This was another way for me to still be actively involved in the reproductive justice movement.
As a future OBGYN and abortion provider, I am learning through the Next Generation program how to advocate on behalf of my future patients. Currently, I will be required by state law to lie to any patient seeking an abortion via the “A Woman’s Right To Know” pamphlet mandated by the state. Instead of discussing their wants and needs and realities of the procedure, I will be forced to tell them lies like “abortion can cause breast cancer,” “many women report feeling suicidal or having post-traumatic stress following the procedure,” and “having an abortion may cause future infertility,” when in fact science and medicine know these to not be true. I will also be forced to impose a 24-hour waiting period on my patients, ultimately because Texas wants to coerce women into carrying unwanted pregnancies to term. All of this is to say that legislators should not have a place in the patient-physician relationship, especially since they are not using evidence based medicine to back their policymaking.
During our Next Generation convening in February, we learned how to foster dialogue when faced with anti-choice rhetoric, how to speak eloquently and succinctly of our passions and purpose, and we also fostered a community of Texans that are fighting every day for reproductive justice, which restored my faith in humanity a tad bit. My hope is that we can force a change in the legislation to end the unjust burden placed on persons seeking an abortion and end the stigma surrounding this common medical procedure.