The Longest Shortest Time

Episode #115: The Scarlet A (UPDATE)

SPOILER ALERT: A version of this episode first ran in February 2016. The last segment of this show contains an update about Pratima. If you’d like that to remain a surprise, listen to the episode before scrolling down in this post!

Pratima’s dad was an obstetrician. When they spent father-daughter time together, he was always getting called away to deliver a baby. Pratima swore to herself she’d never be a doctor. And *definitely* not an OB-GYN.

But that’s exactly what she became.

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Pratima loved the variety in women’s health. One day she might be helping a woman with birth control; a few years later, she might be removing that same woman’s ovarian cyst; next, maybe she’d assist that woman through a pregnancy. And somewhere along the way, there might be an abortion.

Turns out, 60% of women who have abortions are already moms. But only 14% of OB-GYNs in the United States offer this service.

Pratima is one of the few doctors who both delivers babies and terminates pregnancies—a job combination that gets stigmatized even in the medical community.

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Four years ago, Pratima gave birth to a baby of her own. But it wasn’t her first pregnancy; the first one ended in abortion.

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Tune in to this episode to hear what it’s like to be an OB-GYN who performs abortions, and a mom who has had one herself.

Pratima’s News
Pratima’s son Nehru is four now, and looking very grown up!

In the year since we last spoke with Pratima, she’s had a couple big changes in her life. First, she’s pregnant with her second child. Also, this:

Pratima ran for political office … and won! She’s now Vice Chair of San Francisco’s Democratic County Central Committee. Our update in this episode will catch you up on what that means, and how voters reacted to this mom of a preschooler on the campaign trail.

Resources for Pregnancy Termination
Of course, we all know that Planned Parenthood offers abortion services. Pratima says that if you want to find an OB-GYN who performs abortions, the best thing to do is ask your primary care physician or insurance provider for a recommendation. Because of the risk involved in this line of work, OB-GYNs don’t often publicly list abortions as a service that they provide.

If you’re looking for more information about abortions, Pratima recommends Guttmacher for research and Rewire for reproductive health policy and journalism that is accessible to a general audience.

Resources for Women Who Want to Run for Office
Feeling inspired by Pratima’s story? You’re not alone. Pratima tells us that since the 2016 election she’s received lots of requests from women seeking advice on how to launch political campaigns. Here are some organizations that support female politicians:

* Emerge America is a training program for Democratic women. This is the program that helped Pratima.

* The National Federation of Republican Women offers a campaign management school.

* Ready to Run is the same idea but nonpartisan.

* The She Should Run Incubator is another nonpartisan group. It offers online courses, and even has a Parents’ Course with activities you can do with your daughter.

* And make sure to check what’s going on in your home state; there are tons of great local organizations that support women in politics, too!

Anything new YOU’RE doing lately?
Maybe due to the current political climate? Or some other big shift you didn’t see coming? Tell, tell!

Pratima family photos: Molly DeCoudreaux
Supreme Court photo: Mike Morgan

Our sponsors for this episode are Total Wireless, Squarespace (code: LONGSHORT), Sun Basket and Kopari