DeShawn Taylor M.D. is a board-certified OB/GYN, clinical professor, women’s health and reproductive rights advocate, and owner of Desert Star Family Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Desert Star Family Planning offers fully integrated women’s health and sexual health services, including abortion.
As part of the substantial commentary Taylor provided to the amici curiae brief recently tendered to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban case, she shared an anecdote of being called into a hospital to attend a 22-weeks pregnant mother of 3 who was having cardiac failure. Dr. Taylor performed a life-saving abortion that almost instantaneously improved the mother’s cardiac condition, so that the mother was able to rejoin her family after just a few days.
“Abortion care saves lives;” notes Taylor, “It is simply part of the continuum of health care options that should be available, easily accessible, safe, and legal to those who find themselves pregnant, and it should be spoken about in that context. It shouldn’t be politicalized, and it shouldn’t be separated out from any other thing that a pregnant person might think about.”
Abortion providers contend with considerable opposition and barriers to provide abortion care, and Dr. Taylor has in her own words, “a trifecta of triggers for harassment:” she’s Black, she’s a woman and she provides abortion care. Though Dr. Taylor has provided abortion care for 20 years, private practice had not been something she considered.
Taylor comments, “I felt there was a way people should be treated when seeking abortion care. Over time working in various delivery systems, it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to create that working for someone else. That’s one of the reasons Desert Star Family Planning exists.”
Dr. Taylor and her staff have been intentional about cultivating a unique safe space for those who may have had negative experiences seeking health care. The practice recently added gender-affirming care to provide hormone therapy for transgender people who want to medically transition.
“All aspects of reproductive health care are intimate and vulnerable,” Taylor commented. “There are so many traumatic and oppressive experiences that people have obtaining reproductive health care in general, not just those seeking abortion care.”
While Dr. Taylor dreamed of being a brain surgeon as a child, she found her passion for women’s health during medical school, and she decided to become an OB/GYN.
Taylor notes, “It really wasn’t an issue whether I provided abortion care or not. But when I began my training, I discovered how polarizing it was, and with that came the realization that once you decide you’re going to provide abortion care then you’re automatically an advocate. You can’t just provide the care and you just can’t go to work…it’s something that must be a vital aspect of your life and that you care about.”
ABOUT Dr. DeShawn Taylor, MD, MSc, FACOG Dr. DeShawn Taylor, is a board-certified Gynecologist and Family Planning Specialist, Clinical Professor, and Reproductive Justice Advocate who established Desert Star Family Planning clinic in Phoenix in 2013 and founded Desert Star Institute for Family Planning, a non-profit organization for which she is the President, in 2017. Recognized in 2020 by the Maricopa County NAACP as a Trailblazer, Dr. Taylor is committed to providing a steadfast resource for comprehensive family planning and sexual health care, a safe and welcoming space for queer, transgender, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary people, and a hub for abortion training. She is a trusted thought leader on reproductive justice who shares her expertise with various national, state, and local boards, committees, and programs. She has co-authored academic publications and appeared in local and national television, print, and digital news media, including Rewire News, Huffington Post, ABC 15, NBC 12, the Arizona Republic, SELF Magazine, and Bloomberg News. Dr. Taylor was conferred the Doctor of Medicine degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. After completing post-graduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at King/Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, she completed the Fellowship in Family Planning at the University of Southern California where she was also conferred a Master of Science Degree in Clinical and Biomedical Investigations.
Contact: DeShawn Taylor, M.D., M.Sc., FACOG
Email: [email protected]
SOURCE Desert Star Family Planning