Advocating for Patients as a Medical Student

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed to many systemic problems throughout the realm of healthcare. However, one issue that was well-known before the pandemic is access to abortions throughout the United States. As soon-to-be medical professionals, we have a responsibility to advocate for our current and future patients. We can do this by calling our representatives within Congress and urging them to support pieces of legislation.

One of these pieces of legislation is H.R. 1692, which is entitled the “Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2019.” If passed, this act would require full coverage for a range of pregnancy-related care, including abortion, regardless of what type of insurance coverage they have. To read the full text, click here.

To call Congress and voice your support of H.R. 1692, you can use the following script, but also consider these nine points.

  1. Choose your words wisely and be respectful.
  2. Add your own words, even if you do use a script – Representatives want to hear your story.
  3. Call congressional offices directly or through the switchboard. If you do not have the direct number, you can reach U.S. representatives by calling 202-225-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to the individual office. If you do not know the names of your members of Congress or want the direct line to their office, you can look up your members here: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/
  4. Let them know that you are a constituent – by telling them the city and state you are from.
  5. Know your facts. Have the basic information about your topic in front of you when you call. You should be able to specifically describe the topic you are calling about and what you think your legislator should do.
  6. Note your expertise, mention your professional experience with the issue you are calling about.
  7. Be brief – keep your call short and to the point.
  8. Be timely – if the vote on your issue is imminent, the aide is much more likely to pay attention to what you say.
  9. Consider calling the local office – in your district or state.

Sample Script:

“Hello, my name is [insert your name] and I am your constituent from [insert city and state]. I am calling to ask [representative’s name] to support pregnancy-related care nationwide. The prevention of having pregnancy-care paid for by all types of insurance coverage, including Medicaid, has negative health impacts on families.  Investing in a full-range of care can significantly improve health outcomes for everyone and can increase our country’s economic and social well-being.

Please vote ‘Yes’ on supporting full-coverage pregnancy-care in H.R. 1692. Thank you for your time and for considering my request for your support.”

Links referenced in the article:

http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

*All views are my own and do not reflect the views and values of American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine.

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