Dr. Kelly Pfeifer flies from San Francisco, California to Overland Park, Kansas one weekend every month to perform abortions.
She says she donates her time for selfish reasons; she loves the work, people, and state. She even managed to catch a Katy Perry show after work once. Dr. Pfeifer likes to downplay her role and says she’s on a mini vacation, but her part-time work in Kansas is critical as there are only two full-time abortion doctors statewide.
When she’s not researching the opioid epidemic for a California health care foundation, Dr. Pfeifer performs abortions at a local Planned Parenthood in Kansas. She donates her services; the clinic only reimburses her for travel and stay.
Given the restrictive abortion laws in the state, it’s cumbersome to be a provider in Kansas compared to California, said Dr. Pfeifer. She added that it’s harder for the patients of course. In Kansas, a patient seeking an abortion needs to receive counseling and then wait 24 hours to get the procedure.
“In California, they could come and leave within an hour and here there are all these additional steps,” said Dr. Pfeifer. This is even more concerning for the patients who travel long distances due to the provider shortage, she added. Ninety-eight percent of Kansas counties have no abortion clinic.
“I live in a progressive state that allows me to be married to a woman — to lead a life without discrimination,” Dr. Pfeifer told ThinkProgress. “I am aware that a lot of people don’t have that privilege.”
Dr. Pfeifer is impressed by her colleagues caught in the political web. It can be dangerous to be an abortion provider in a conservative state.
But unlike her Kansas colleagues, Dr. Pfeifer is able to fly home, leaving the politics behind.
Full story at Think Progress.