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Doctors and nurses offer help on TikTok to abortion providers

(CNN) — After the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade, medical professionals across the country are using their TikTok accounts to show their support and offer help to obstetricians and gynecologists who may face increased demand for abortion care in states where the procedure remains legal.

To the beat of a song by The Chainsmokers with the lyrics “if we go down, then we go down together” (if we fall, we fall together), professionals from all fields of Medicine are listing their skills that can help in this matter .

Dr. Pamela Mehta, an orthopedic surgeon in California, said she was not surprised by the court’s decision, but “it felt like an unexpected blow in that this made it official that we have literally gone back in time and our own daughters have fewer rights than our mothers and grandmothers have.

Mehta posted the first of a series of videos on the social network shortly after the decision was announced.

Mehta believes that health care has been in crisis in recent years with the pandemic and now with the Roe decision. Everyone has to help each other, she said, and while she doesn’t perform abortions herself, she has skills that could help other providers.

“I know how to operate, I know how to help with surgery. I can stitch up incisions, I can scrub floors, I can bring coffee to my OB-GYN colleagues, and I thought, ‘What can I do to help my OB-GYN colleagues?'” So that’s what made me post that video, because I’ve seen a lot of videos of non-professionals offering their homes and a safe space to come to and I thought, ‘Well, what is the ability I can give to gynecologists- obstetricians and patients?’ And that’s the skill set I can offer.”

Mehta’s video was soon joined by one from Dr. Betsy Grunch, a neurosurgeon from Georgia.

“I saw Pam’s video and I talked to her and we wanted to collaborate on a combined video to try to express, you know, our support for not only women, but also our medical community and how we can try to express how we care about them. and how we’re there for them and how we can support women’s health and, you know, just represent our belief that we all need to be supportive during this time,” Grunch said.

Other medical professionals joined the trend, such as Hayley Wombles, a traveling nurse from Illinois; Lauren, a certified nurse anesthetist from Alabama, and Jess, who claims to be a former nurse currently working in clinical research in Ohio. Grunch says hundreds of duets have been made from his video.

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All of the health workers CNN spoke with are offering their skills to help their colleagues in states where abortion is still legal.

But experts say it’s unclear whether they could face legal risk in their home states.

In Connecticut, state attorney and representative Matt Blumenthal sponsored a bill designed to protect people who provide an abortion or receive support to obtain the procedure in the state and are then sued in another state.

“It would depend on the circumstances, but it certainly can happen,” he said, about whether health workers could face legal trouble in their home states.

“Although it is clear that states have the power to impose liability for conduct that occurs outside their limits, it is not clear how far that power goes or all the circumstances that determine whether it has that power in a specific case,” he said.

Rachel Rebouché, interim dean of Temple University School of Law, said current abortion laws “are not directed at patients or the people helping them right now,” but there is a chance that states can use civil penalties to target out-of-state providers who perform legal abortions.

“It’s an area that changes very quickly,” Rebouché added.

Broader concerns for the future

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said it had not reviewed any of the videos posted on TikTok but supports expanding the types of doctors who can provide abortion services.

“People are already having to leave their communities to access care, because access is already limited for many people, and we expect this to get worse,” ACOG member Dr. Nisha Verma said in a statement. “The annulment of [la sentencia del caso} Roe restringirá aún más el aborto para las personas de todo el país, especialmente para nuestras poblaciones más marginadas, por lo que será fundamental que ampliemos el grupo de médicos que proporcionan una atención al aborto segura y eficaz. Permitir que el personal clínico avanzado proporcione atención al aborto nos permitirá satisfacer las necesidades de más pacientes de forma segura y eficaz con altas tasas de satisfacción de los pacientes”.

Una de las preocupaciones que comparten los trabajadores sanitarios entrevistados por CNN es la sobrecarga de los proveedores en los estados que todavía permiten el aborto.

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“Sigo a muchos profesionales de la Medicina en TikTok y fue inspirador para mí ver a tantos de ellos con una actitud de, ‘Hey, sabemos que varios estados que todavía están permitiendo abortos médicos, van a estar abrumados”, dijo Wombles.

El video de TikTok fue su forma de decir que estarán ahí para ayudar, para ir a cualquier clínica, para aprender lo que sea necesario y que están ahí para apoyar, dijo.

“Publiqué ese video porque va a haber una demanda abrumadora en los estados que todavía ofrecen los procedimientos y van a necesitar ayuda, van a necesitar anestesia, van a necesitar cirujanos, van a necesitar personal auxiliar”, dijo Lauren, quien accedió a hablar con CNN con la condición de que su apellido no sea publicado, para proteger su privacidad. “Va a ser abrumador”.

En los estados donde el aborto es ahora ilegal, la gente está perdiendo la esperanza, dijo.

“Quería recordarles que los profesionales de la salud no estamos aquí para preguntar o juzgar. Estamos aquí para defender a nuestros pacientes y atenderlos en lo que necesiten. Y quiero que sepan que nosotros, como profesionales de la Medicina, estaremos ahí y haremos todo lo posible para que sigan teniendo acceso”, dijo Lauren.

Preocupación por la salud de los pacientes

Además de la sobrecarga de trabajo de los proveedores, los profesionales de la salud dijeron a CNN que temen que la gente intente abortar de forma insegura y que la mortalidad materna aumente en Estados Unidos.

Los expertos en atención sanitaria declararon a CNN que temen que la posible prohibición generalizada del aborto empeore la crisis de mortalidad materna en Estados Unidos, y afirman que la reducción del acceso mediante el cierre de clínicas, el establecimiento de límites gestacionales tempranos o la prohibición total del procedimiento puede provocar más muertes relacionadas con el embarazo.

Según una hoja informativa de 2021 de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), cada año se producen en el mundo unos 73 millones de abortos inducidos.

La OMS afirma que, cada año, entre el 4,7% y el 13,2% de las muertes maternas pueden atribuirse a abortos inseguros. Aunque el problema es peor en las regiones en desarrollo, la OMS calcula que 30 mujeres mueren por cada 100.000 abortos inseguros en las regiones desarrolladas.

Jess, que, al igual que Lauren, no quiso que se informara su apellido, está preocupada por la mortalidad materna.

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“Mi principal preocupación es que Estados Unidos tiene la tasa de mortalidad materna más alta de un país desarrollado, y afecta en gran medida a la comunidad afrodescendiente e indígena. Les afecta de forma desproporcionada”, dijo. “Para mí, esta es una decisión [de la Corte Suprema] which is from a very privileged point of view, it’s from a decision that you know, it’s based on someone’s beliefs that shouldn’t be imposed on others”.

Civil and reproductive rights groups have said the decision to vacate the Roe v. Wade is an attack on communities of color and will leave millions of black and brown women without access to abortion care.

Maternal Mortality Rate Rises in Black Women, Study Says 0:54

An overwhelmingly positive response

The five medical professionals reported receiving an overwhelmingly positive response to the videos they posted online.

“The comments I have read [en sus publicaciones actuales] They’ve been very supportive,” Jess said. “Just saying thank you, and I think it’s giving the public a general sense that, especially women, a lot of us are with them and a lot of us are fighting and a lot of us We understand that it is a woman’s choice.

He has received some negative responses from people with different opinions, but decided not to respond to them.

Grunch said that while he hoped people on both sides of the issue would react to his video, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s really inspiring to see people so motivated to support us,” he added. “I think in our country we’re known for responding to decisions like this with violence, with, you know, anger, and the beauty of the response was really sincere.”

Like Jess and Grunch, Mehta said the response to her video has been overwhelming. After posting the video of her, she said there has been “a whole flood” of women in health from across the United States who have said they are going to help in any way they can.

“The response has been an overwhelming feeling of solidarity, compassion and togetherness,” Mehta said. “It’s been overwhelming, overwhelmingly supportive and positive. And the OB/GYN community is, you know, the doctors over there saying, ‘Thank you so much for this.’ They support us and we count on their support”.

–Carma Hassan of CNN Health contributed to this report.

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