I get feedback from our patients, and the common thread that people are surprised at the respect with which we treat them. Over and over, I hear how impressed people are that we’re friendly, we’re clean, we don’t make them feel like bad people for accessing (STI services, birth control, abortion services). I was surprised, when I started talking to folks, at how “you treated me like a real person” was such a huge theme, but this latest governmental insult really does provide some context. We (I say we, because like almost all of my co-workers and the vast majority of my patients, I’m a young woman) are pretty much screwed by our culture, with no protection at all. We brave the expense, judgment, health risks, variable efficacy, and endless hormonal experimentation of birth control OR we run the risk of pregnancy. If we become pregnant, we’re called murderers if we terminate that pregnancy or lazy welfare queens if we continue with that pregnancy and can’t afford the expense of raising a child all by our damn selves (some of us have the help of family or a partner, but if there’s anything I’m learning it’s that most of us are eventually on our own when push comes to shove). We can’t win. We’re demonized no matter what we do, and by our very existence as sexual beings we’re a social problem in some people’s eyes no matter what we do. So when the patients I talk to express their shock at being treated with respect by the staff I work with, I’m slowly learning not to be surprised. Because it really is a shock to go to a place where your decisions about your own body and your own choices are not some political punching bag or subject to a moral referendum. It really is refreshing to go to a place that’s friendly, and open, and treats your sexuality as the natural, healthy part of life that it should be. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of that, and I work every day to make sure that our space is safe for all women to have control over their lives in a culture that wants nothing more than to take that control away.