Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, medical professionals across the country are using their TikTok accounts to show support and offer assistance to obstetricians and gynecologists who may face increased demand for abortion care in states where the procedure is still legal.
Set to the lyrics “if we go down, then we go down together” by the Chainsmokers, professionals from various fields of medicine are listing the skills they have that can be used to assist in that care.
Dr. Pamela Mehta, an orthopedic surgeon in California, said the court’s decision did not surprise her, but “it did feel like a sucker punch to the gut in the sense that this made it official that we have turned back the clock and our daughters have fewer rights than our, you know, their mothers and grandmothers have.”
Shortly after the decision was announced, she posted the first of a series of videos on the social media app.
Mehta believes that health care has been in crisis in recent years, owing to the pandemic and now the Roe decision. Everyone needs to help each other, she says, and while she doesn’t perform abortions herself, she does have skills that could benefit other providers.
“I know how to scrub in and assist in surgery. I can suture up incisions, mop floors, and bring coffee to my OB-GYN colleagues, and I wondered, ‘What else can I do to help my OB-GYN colleagues?’ “she stated. “That’s what prompted me to post that video because I’d seen a lot of videos of laypeople offering their homes and a safe space to come to, and I thought, ‘Well, what is the skill that I can give OB-GYNs and patients?’ and that’s the skill set that I can provide.”
Dr. Betsy Grunch, a Georgia-based neurosurgeon, quickly joined Mehta’s video.
“I saw Pam’s video and spoke with her, and we wanted to collaborate on a combined video to try to express our support not only to women but just to our medical community and how we can try to express how we care for 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.
Hayley Wombles, an Illinois-based travel nurse, Lauren, an Alabama-based certified registered nurse anesthesiologist, and Jess, an Ohio-based clinical researcher who claims to be a former bedside nurse, all joined the trend. According to Grunch, her video has been used in hundreds of duets.
All the medical professionals with whom CNN spoke offer their expertise to assist their colleagues in states where abortion is still legal.
However, experts say it’s not clear if they might run afoul of the law in their home states.
Attorney and state representative Matt Blumenthal of Connecticut sponsored a bill to defend those who perform or receive assistance for performing abortions in the state and are later sued in another state.
In response to the question whether the healthcare workers might run afoul of the law in their home states, he said, “It would depend on the circumstances, but it’s certainly conceivable.”
“While it’s clear that states can impose liability for conduct that takes place outside of their borders, it’s not clear how far that power stretches and all the factors that determine whether it has that power in a particular case,” the author said.
The current abortion laws “don’t address patients or the people helping them right now,” according to Rachel Rebouché, interim dean of Temple University School of Law, but it’s possible that states could use civil penalties to target providers in other states who perform legal abortions.
Rebouché continued, “It’s a fast-changing area.”