Why I march: Dr. Shepherd speaks out

This past Saturday heralded a revolution.

That seems like a strong term, but the impact the Women’s March on Washington had on me as a woman, mother, daughter, and physician felt just that strong. This past year has been an interesting one to say the least, but my work as an obstetrician/gynecologist still drives my passion. As a women’s health provider, I have learned that women’s health issues are many times sent to the back of the line when it comes to research, technology, and funding. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it has not deterred my desire to educate, empower, and enhance the lives of my patients.

Saturday, January 21, was historic for many reasons — but not for the causes that we all marched for. Unfortunately, these have been around for many years. It was historic because our marching became a global event as the rest of the world joined in. I have never been more energized by those surrounding me as we stood in solidarity for what we believe in. Violence or contention was not in the vocabulary, just our voices calling for equality as well as equity. Equity in our health, careers, and freedom from being victimized for our race, religion, sexual preference, or genitalia!

I have seen women denied surgery, contraception, or even well-woman exams because they were not covered by insurance. These are the moments that came to mind as I placed one foot in front of the other on the Mall last weekend.

To deny women the ability to make sound decisions when it comes to their bodies … this is why I raised my fists in the air to show my disdain.

I had the pleasure to march with my residents, who spent hours upon hours in the hospital for their training in order to provide women with exceptional care. To think that they might have to fight policies and politicians in order to perform abortions or insert IUDs is appalling to me. I’m sad that I cannot give them a glimmer of hope in the fight for women’s rights.

Every day that I go to work, I speak to so many women who balance being a mother, wife, and having a career with various life hardships. I marched so that whatever I can do to ensure their reproductive health is complete and exceptional. My quest to embolden my community has just begun, and I hope to inspire more women along the way.

Connect with me on Instagram (@jessicashepherdmd) and Twitter (@JShepherd_MD)!

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