University of Chicago Posts Online Abortion Guide

Kelly Lawyer
By Kelly Lawyer | July 9, 2014 | 3:55 PM EDT

University of Chicago (UChicago) recently published an online abortion guide "providing resources to improve access to abortion." It appears to be the first of its kind, detailing all aspects of the abortion process.  The guide's welcome page states its purpose is to provide "pregnant persons" with the help they need in making a decision and receiving the best care possible.

The page further cites a disclaimer so that people of opposite genders - those who relate as the opposite gender - should not be offended by the use of female pronouns:

"While this guide may refer to 'women' when discussing study results or use female pronouns in some instances, we recognize that individuals seeking pregnancy counseling or abortion may not identify as women. We encourage readers to keep this in mind and provide sensitive counseling and care."

"Follow the patient's lead with how they refer to themselves, and reflect their chosen language. How a patient identifies and presents their gender does not dictate what kind of abortion or follow-up care they require, including family planning."

"All people have a right to quality, holistic health care that acknowledges their identity before, after, and during an abortion process."

On the "abortion referral" page, students can learn how to find abortion clinics and how to "navigate" pregnancy care centers and religious affiliated hospitals.  The guide cites pregnancy care centers "can impact the experience of seeking abortion care" and "sometimes [pregnancy care centers] look like medical clinics or have similar names, but are often established by individuals who oppose abortion. A number of CPCs exist in Illinois and the confusion they can cause by their presence and practice can lead to delays in care for an individual who wants to consider abortion."

The guide further references a 2006 study by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), claiming that 87% of the 20 pregnancy care centers interviewed  provided "misleading information" to clients.

The page also touts abortion doctors explaining how they knew the abortion industry was their ultimate calling in the section "Why I Provide Abortions":

Dr. Willie Parker: "Whereas many of my colleagues had to become comfortable providing abortions, I grew uncomfortable not providing them because of my faith. For me, it became this conviction of compassion in a spiritual sense of the deepest level of love that you can have for another person, that you can have compassion for their suffering and you can act to relieve it."

Anonymous Chicago OB/GYN: "I have always known I would be an abortion provider, even before I knew I would be an OB GYN. When I was 16 years old my 14-year-old sister was sexually assaulted and found herself pregnant. My parents knew about the assault but my sister chose not to tell them about the pregnancy. She decided to have an abortion. The local Planned Parenthood did not have office hours on days we could miss school, because of a lack of providers. I had only had my driver's license for a few months when I drove further away from my hometown than I had ever been. We were so scared. I held her hand during the whole drive and I silently vowed to do everything in my power to make sure that other people's sisters did not have to experience a drive like that."

The abortion guide is simply the next step in UChicago's efforts to push pro-abortion options for students.  According to a January 2013 article in the Chicago Maroon, the Ryan Center, a University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) clinic, "provides abortions for students and community members with affordable payment plans. The cost of an abortion at the Ryan Center is typically between $350 and $1,500, depending on the stage of pregnancy. But the service is fully covered by most insurance policies, including U-SHIP, UChicago's default health-care plan for students, making it virtually free for most. For those patients for whom the procedure's costs remain a barrier, the Center also collaborates with two national abortion funds and various donors to further mitigate the cost."

Assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology Amy Whitaker, of the Family Planning and Contraceptive Research Department, estimated that the clinic treats about one student a month choosing to get an abortion at the Center.