USA PERSONAL HISTORIES: Dr Warren Hern, Dr Matthew Wynia, Dr Caitlin Bernard


Dr Warren Hern

Dr Warren Hern opened a clinic in Boulder, Colorado, where he has been providing abortions since 1973, the same year Roe v. Wade was decided. He shares his story of being on the front line of the fight for legal abortion in the US for nearly half a century, and his experience of being targeted by violent anti-abortion thugs the entire time. WATCH THE VIDEO


It’s bad medical practice not to prevent an obstetric emergency before it happens

Dr Matthew Wynia

Some ob-gyns in US states with bans on legal abortion are agonising over whether to prevent an obstetric emergency before it happens − knowing it will happen if they do nothing − or wait until the emergency does happen and then do what they should have done already and hope they are still in time to save the woman’s life. This radio report tells some of their stories.

The risk factors have changed because it is not only the risk to the woman’s life involved, it is the risk to the lives of the doctors concerned, who fear they could be sentenced to life in prison if they provide emergency obstetric care – care that has never been labelled an abortion, because it is done in order to save the woman’s life.

Dr Matthew Wynia, director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, University of Colorado, published an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine in September calling for physicians to take a stand against these laws, when necessary, using civil disobedience. He said on the programme: “I have seen some very disturbing quotes from health professionals essentially saying, well, look – it’s the law. We have to live within the law. And if the law is wrong and causing you to be involved in harming patients, you do not have to live to that law.”

Another says: “There’s actually a long history of civil disobedience around abortion.” Henry Morgenthaler in Canada crossed the country opening illegal clinics and going to jail, for example. But as the discussion continues, differences between the past and the present as regards the consequences of civil disobedience emerge. All the same…

SOURCE: National Public Radio, by Selena Simmons-Duffin, 22 November 2022


She made headlines for providing abortion care to a 10-year-old.  Now she’s fighting to protect patient privacy

Dr Caitlin Bernard

Weeks after Roe v. Wade was overturned, Dr Caitlin Bernard made national headlines when she disclosed that she had provided an abortion to a 10-year-old girl who had been raped. That attention landed Bernard in the middle of an investigation by the Indiana Attorney General into whether she had “properly documented” the abortion and if she had violated privacy laws. Now he is seeking other patients’ medical records as part of his “investigation”. Or perhaps call it “harassment”, because he has continued his “investigation” even after she proved she had properly documented the abortion and that she had not violated patient privacy laws when she told reporters about it. In a statement after she left the court, she said:

As a physician, I never imagined that I would be in the position to engage in a legal fight to protect the rights of women and girls to not have their private medical records released for political purposes. But nonetheless, I feel strongly that this fight — the fight for physicians to compassionately provide abortion care to every single person who needs their care and their patients to access safe, legal abortion care, free from fear of criminalization — is worth waging.

SOURCE:, by Jennifer Gerson, 22 November 2022 + PHOTO by Kaiti Sullivan/The Washington Post/Getty Images