Show and tell: What I learned about timing an op-ed pitch

Anna Shchetinia, a PhD student in population health sciences at the Harvard Chan School

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Who I am: Anna Shchetinina, a PhD student in Population Health Sciences at the Harvard Chan School.

What I created: I recently published an op-ed that called attention to restricted abortion access and the shortcomings of emergency care provision. My piece specifically focused on how such restrictions impact mental health.

Why it matters: The conversation about abortion access has been primarily focused on unplanned or unwanted pregnancies, with little said on the health risks and outcomes experienced by people with wanted pregnancies who may need an emergency abortion. In my op-ed, I use storytelling and the latest evidence to talk about the mental health consequences experienced by those whose emergency abortions are delayed or denied while they are losing a wanted pregnancy.

What I learned: Success requires more than a well-crafted piece. Timing, for example, is crucial. It’s also crucial to consider where the op-ed can have the greatest influence, not just where it can be accepted. The timing of my op-ed coincided with the 2022 US midterm elections. Although abortion access was a hot topic in the election, election-season media overload made it challenging to find the right platform.