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‘Overturning Roe [v. Wade] and attacking trans people is going to harm the healthcare system overall’

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D. Ojeda is a Senior National Organizer for the National Center for Transgender Equality.

They spoke about the close relationship that gender-affirming care and abortion have within the healthcare industry, and they explained how anti-transgender and anti-abortion rights legislation leave everyone, but especially transgender people – vulnerable within healthcare.

Just as a note - this conversation took place after the Dobbs draft decision was leaked but before the official ruling in June.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words.

D. Ojeda: The healthcare system created a way that treated trans and nonbinary people and then quite frankly, beyond, you know, gender identity, and looking at more intersectionally – black and brown folks who are also queer and trans people – it created a way to “other us” from white cisgender heterosexual populations – in assuming that that is the default, and also that we need specialized care because of it.

But if this attack on abortion happens, that can mean disasters for other services, you know, cis people also need gender affirming care. There's a lot of issues with pregnancy that happens, you know – the choice of whether or not to save yourself over the potential birth complications you get, you know, all these things are also related to access to abortion.

"So, if those clinics are impacted because overturning this decision, there are going to be a lot of trans people out there who don’t know where they can seek services where they feel safe."
D. Ojeda

And it's really the othering of – assuming that, you know, abortion isn't going to impact everyone. That's the problem because overturning Roe and attacking trans people is going to harm the healthcare system overall.

I mean, I think there are cis people who don't really realize how interconnected all these issues are – even if you don't feel like this is going to apply to them, it's going to. It's going to impact them. It's going to impact everybody.

So, a lot of trans people rely on health care services that also provide abortion care.

Creating trust with a medical provider and creating trust with a clinic takes a lot of time and effort.

Trans people have to educate their doctors, oftentimes. They have to be the expert of their own health care. They also have to go through so many barriers when it comes to access to gender-affirming care to begin with.

Having to do that over again with a new clinic is a lot, and then on top of that – because they don't provide those services to begin with, especially like abortion care, you know – it's hard to trust whether or not a medical provider is going to be on their side.

There’s this common practice that happens called “gatekeeping,” where providers will try to create more barriers for trans people to get the services they need, and that's a very, very real issue – especially in rural and red states and in states like Missouri.

So, if those clinics are impacted because overturning this decision, there are going to be a lot of trans people out there who don’t know where they can seek services where they feel safe.

And that is definitely going to harm the relationship that healthcare services have with trans people, you know, they, as an industry, they already make our lives difficult to begin with.

Abigail Ruhman is a reporter and afternoon newscast anchor for KBIA. They are working on a special series, and have produced for KBIA's Missouri on Mic and Missouri Health Talks in the past.