Charleston, West Virginia (AP) —Daniel Manes clasped the hands of hundreds of anxious patients lying on a table in an operating room that is currently empty. She recorded countless vital signs and delivered dozens of snacks to her recovery area, but she is now silent.
“It literally makes me sick, and we don’t know what their future will hold for them,” Manes said of residents who depend on West Virginia’s Women’s Health Center. .. “It’s a kind of broken heart that’s hard to describe in words. There are all these” what-ifs “. “
The waiting room was supposed to be full of patients for the last two days when the clinic reserved all slots for abortion appointments. but, US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade case Dominated it a few days ago State can ban abortionThe clinic was forced to suspend the procedure because state law in the 1800s prohibited the procedure. The ACLU in West Virginia filed a proceeding on behalf of the clinic and demanded that the law be declared unenforceable so that staff could resume the abortion immediately. Other states are at various stages of legal issues.
Nationally, clinic workers who have stopped abortion services are frightened and stressed as they pick up fragments and try to draw a path forward. At the West Virginia Center, the day after a historic court ruling, the beginning of a new reality for staff brought another kind of sadness to staff, one Manes said long after the first trauma of the decision. I said I would.
The first day is a conversation with a desperate patient playing in an inevitable loop in her head.
“I don’t think any of us can block it,” she said. “It’s always in our heads.”
Like many clinics that perform abortions, the facility did not provide daily procedures. A few days a week, I concentrate on regular gynecological treatments (cervical cancer screening, cancer screening) mainly for low-income patients. About Medicaid There is no other place to go. The determination to continue the work enlivened the employees.
Shortly after the decision was announced, Manes was one of the few staff members who was tasked with calling on patients to cancel their abortion appointments. On the contrary, she had never heard people speak with such fear.
All the staff have noticed that they are in crisis for days, but they and others are all over the country. I expected a few months’ decision. “I think you’re ready for now, but you’re never really ready until it’s a reality,” said Executive Director Katie Quiñones.
She saw the staff broke and sobbed. Some people called or answered the patient. Workers who spent their days off appeared, and some were still wearing pajamas to save their colleagues and provide support. Quiñonez encouraged everyone to take a break and often managed the phone himself.
She remembers that Friday forever as one of the worst days of her life. During the weekend, she hung up her phone, lay under a weighted blanket on the couch, ate junk food, and watched TV. That was the only way she could escape and deal with it.
When she and her staff returned to work, she postponed filling the empty slots from the canceled abortion appointment. Some patients still needed other services, but she wanted the workers to hold their breath. She told them to come late if needed. The clinic room was almost empty and remained dark and quiet.
But still, the phone rang.
Beth Fiddler was sitting at the desk behind the glass reception window of the clinic in the waiting room. She had no patients to check in, no Medicaid data to scan the charts, and no useful packets to distribute.
Instead, she answered the same question over and over and introduced a hotline or website to help the caller find the nearest out-of-state abortion provider.
“You guys will close soon, right?” No, the clinic is open to provide other services.
“Plan B-Can I get a” Morning After “pill? What about IUDs and other contraceptives? I will help you make an appointment.
“Are you sure I can’t make an abortion promise? Are there any loopholes as an exception?” There is no abortion service at this clinic.
Some callers have been rejected. Some remained stoic and others cried. Some responded hostilely, claiming that Fidler was wrong. She tried to be polite and empathetic — but the conversation was sacrificed.
“It’s frustrating to me. I’m already stressed and upset. I understand that I want to find a way, but there’s no way.”
As one of the first workers patients see, Fidler takes pride in welcoming and making people feel safe. She said it was annoying to just have to distract them and introduce them to the website.
“It’s as helpless as I feel about it, I can’t imagine how they must be feeling,” she said.
It’s quiet outside the clinic. There is no commotion for patients arriving at the parking lot accompanied by volunteers in pink vests. The only car is owned by staff and security guards.There are many owners across the street Anti-abortion organization It is vacant except for the big white cross.
A regular protester, a pastor with the sign “Jesus loves you,” prayed outside early in the morning, but the usual crowd of patients asking them to reconsider left. Some cars slow down as they pass. Workers recognize some as protesters’ vehicles and imagine that clinics are being monitored to prevent patients from arriving due to abortion.
Quiñones said workers know that there is a long way to go to recover from pain and that the next step will be difficult.
“Our staff needs space and time to handle this highly traumatic loss, and all the secondary trauma we are experiencing from all patients.” She said.
It’s hard to just work, but employees are dedicated to helping patients.
“We came on Monday, and I was like” OK, what am I doing now? “,” Said Kaylen Barker, who handles the clinic’s public message. “It’s hard to come back here and realize that we can’t get the life-saving medical care people need and we have to refer them to our website. That’s the best we can do right now. “
Barker came to the clinic as a patient during the fear of breast cancer 12 years ago. She took care of her when she had no other choice. She wanted to work in this place to help her save her, so she applied until she was finally hired. Knowing that she can help others like her, whether or not her abortion is planned, she says, “People are medical in a cozy space without prejudice or judgment. Deserves to receive. “
That’s why Quiñonez and her staff focus on keeping the clinic open. Abortion services make up 40% of clinic revenue, leaving a gap that could mean a layoff, but Quiñonez is determined to avoid it.
She encourages residents to move gynecological treatment to the clinic and she plans to offer new services. The clinic recently added a sex-verifying hormone therapy service in addition to the prevention and treatment of HIV. She hopes more programs will continue.
And donations are flooding the clinic’s abortion fund. Prior to this year, the fund’s balance never exceeded $ 50,000. One weekend after the ruling, they raised $ 75,000. The staff will use the money to help send people out of state for an abortion.
“Yes, we are tired, we are devastated, we are angry,” Quiñonez said. “But this isn’t over yet. I want to reassure people that this isn’t the end, even if it feels hopeless and dark now.”
After the abortion decision, clinic staff will work on trauma |
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