Today is International Women’s Day and to celebrate and honor women the BBC show Up All Night hosted a discussion with women from all over the world, including our CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller who represented the United States! I have pasted a link below for you to click on and listen to the great discussion they had.
Yesterday, Whole Woman’s Health along with NARAL Pro Choice Texas and the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, held a briefing at the Capitol to publicize the impact that cuts in family planning and restrictions on access to abortion care services have had on women in the state of Texas. Representative Jessica Farrar also revealed her intent to file a repeal bill to eliminate the forced 24 hour waiting period between an ultrasound and their procedure.
There has been a lot of press about the briefing and the repeal bill. I have pasted below links to a number of articles that are covering this story along with a link to Capitol Tonight which aired lastnight and featured clips from the briefing and an interview with Dr. Grossman and Dr. Potter from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.
Bridgette Dunlap discusses and analyzes the pro life reaction and publicity of patient death in Maryland.
CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen goes back to where the landmark Roe vs. Wade case began to look at abortion in Texas today.
Our CEO and Founder, Amy Hagstrom Miller was recently invited to speak at the capitol for the 40th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision, which made it legal for women and families to seek safe, private abortion care in the United States. Amy’s speech motivates us, and reminds us to keep our energy and spirits high, as we fight for many more years of reproductive freedom.
“Thank you for inviting me here today. I am honored to be among my fellow Reproductive Freedom Fighters on the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade. We abortion providers often find ourselves reminding our opposition that abortion did not start with Roe V Wade. Safe and legal abortion started with Roe v. Wade and that is truly something to celebrate.
I have worked in women’s health clinics for the past 24 years delivering the care, compassion and respect women deserve. I am humbled by the stories I hear, I am amazed by women’s depth and power and I am truly blessed to have my life’s work in this field. Before I get all revved up, I’d like to take a moment to thank the men and women who work at Whole Woman’s Health and all the other abortion care workers who are here today. This is group of fabulous women and men who deliver impeccable care to women day in and day out. These are the folks that make choice a reality for women every day. Please wave your hands up in the air so we can see you – and take in the cheers that you so deserve.
So, when you are an abortion provider in Texas it is bit hard to “celebrate Roe.” This 40th anniversary gives me pause. To me, Roe is not enough. Roe is just BASIC. And the rights Roe brought us still do not exist for all. So many poor women are left behind. So many women are still shamed. Providers are still stigmatized. The public discourse is plagued by simplistic dualism that begs for more complexity, for more nuance; for embracing the grey, the ambiguity, and the depth of feeling that people in our culture have about abortion.
Women do not come into my clinics saying “I would like to exercise my civil right to have an abortion”. That is not how women experience this powerful and personal decision. Providers know that; and the women we serve know that. It is time for a more open and honest conversation about abortion in this country. It is time for us, the people who support the women, to break the silence and talk about abortion. Don’t let those “pop shots” people hurl into conversations go unaddressed.
- When people say to you “I don’t believe in abortion” what if you said “Most women never think they will need an abortion until they do. You could be that woman someday.”
- Or if you hear “I am pro-choice but I’d never have an abortion” what if you said “No one gets pregnant to have an abortion, it is not something anyone plans on. Part of being prochoice for me is to be sure that I do not contribute to the stigma that surrounds abortion.”
As I’ve said, Roe is not enough. So I ask myself, as someone from the next generation carrying our work forward for the next 40, what do we want our future to look like?
My life’s work is to end the stigma around abortion in this country.
As you know, in Texas we have endured more than our fair share of legislation targeting abortion providers and the women of Texas who we serve. These laws are seldom in the true interest of the health and safety of women and are one of the most damaging products of the stigma around abortion. These regulations arise out of a political agenda designed to make abortion almost impossible for practitioners to provide and for women to access. They make false assumptions about a woman’s capacity to understand what it means to be pregnant, and to make a sound moral choice on her own.
We know that women are the right and moral decision makers for the most fundamental of choices – whether or not to give birth and whether or not to parent. Throughout time women have made decisions to control their own fertility. Women have always had abortions. Sometimes the available choices are safe, sometimes they are not.
In the United States since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 more than 48 million women who have chosen to have safe, legal abortions. 40% of women in the USA will have an abortion by the age of 45. And nearly all those women have one or more loved one support them through their abortion.
That is a lot of people.
So, why is stigma around abortion so successful? Who benefits from shaming women? Why does the shame persist and silence pervade when so many people share the abortion experience?
Most of the time these 48 million women are silent.
Most of the time the loved ones who helped them with their abortion don’t talk about it either.
In fact, the pro-choice majority is often silent.
Most of the people talking about abortion in our society are anti-abortion.
And This has to change.
We need to talk about our beliefs and act like the majority that we are.
Good women have abortions.
Good people provide abortions.
As abortion providers, we can often feel and be looked at as the “radical fringe of the pro-choice movement” – even among our friends and supporters. We do the tough work of abortion rights – we deal with all the things pro-choice people don’t want to talk about and that our opposition is very focused on. The reality is, however, that without us there is no choice. Without providers, the right to abortion is just an idea – it is just something on paper that means nothing to women in actuality.
My dream for the next 40 years after Roe is that the people who provide abortions will be seen and respected as the Human Rights Workers that we are and that women who seek abortions will know that they are not alone.
Speak up and out, we owe it to Roe and this 40 year legacy.
Do not let anti-abortion rhetoric go unchallenged.
Do not allow our opposition to hijack the moral high ground.
I’d like a world where no woman comes into my clinic thinking she is the only woman she knows who has had an abortion. Thinking she is the only Christian who had an abortion. Thinking she is the only good mother who had an abortion.
Abortion is personal. Our work is to honor women. Making an abortion decision is a time when a woman acts with intention. When she chooses a path for her life and the direction she will travel. This is powerful stuff and it deserves our respect and support. We need to speak up and challenge assumptions about the “kind of woman who has an abortion”
Our Whole Woman’s Health clinics offer an Oasis from the stigma and shame surrounding abortion in our culture, from the voices and the judgments of others that often make it difficult to sit quietly and contemplate a big decision. In our clinics we have a moment to affirm that women are good, to affirm that women are moral and kind, and to affirm that women are not selfish. We can witness her dreams and her desires and affirm that she is put on this Earth to see them out and to act on her own gifts. Let’s make sure all women hear these messages both inside and outside our clinic doors.
Everyone here knows and loves a woman who has had an abortion.
She is you, me, your mom, your sister, your colleague, or the woman in the pew next to you at church.
We are all good women, and we are not alone. Thank you for your support on this remarkable day! Here’s moving beyond Roe!”
Whole Woman’s Health is happy to announce that we’ve added a second location in downtown Minneapolis. We’ve started seeing patients in our new medical office, located on 8th St and Chicago Ave, where the Meadowbrook Women’s Clinic was located, across from the Hennepin County Medical Center. Our new location has many perks, including an extremely private facility located inside of a medical office building, state of the art medical equipment, and a veteran staff who are highly trained and prepped to provide the compassionate brand of care that Whole Woman’s Health is known for.
We will continue serving women in our 5th street location, at 5th and Nicollet Mall, as well. You will now have more options – with more physicians, a better range of appointment times and days, and an efficient schedule for shorter wait times. For more information on our new location, give us a call at 612-376-7708.
Addresses: 825 S. 8th St. #1018 Minneapolis, MN 55404
33 S. 5th St. 4th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Being faced with an unwanted pregnancy can be difficult, no matter how old you are. Part of our job is to guide women through the tough realization that they have to make a big decision, for themselves, their futures and their families – not to make it for them. The most difficult phone calls to answer in these terms are the ones we receive from minors. These are the phone calls where we usually start from zero. These are the patients who are sometimes used to being told what to do, who suddenly find themselves having to make a big, adult decision. We often become the reference point for raising money, how to approach your guardians, how an abortion is performed, what steps to take if they wish to raise the child or put it up for adoption. Sometimes they call out of desperation. They know they don’t want a child, but they can’t tell their father or mother; they have no way of contacting their legal guardian; they’ll be kicked out of the house; they were already kicked out of their house and have nobody to sign the parental notification forms, and so on.
Though we do a lot of advocating and spend a lot of time on these special cases, sometimes it’s difficult to go the step further to helping them through the legal process of obtaining a judicial bypass, if they need one. This is why organizations like Jane’s Due Process are so important to making choice a reality for women.
What does Jane’s Due Process do?: Jane’s Due Process is free, legal representation for minors in Texas wishing to get judicial bypass for their abortion procedure.
(Wait, but what is a judicial bypass?: A judicial bypass is a legal procedure that essentially allows a judge to sign the parental notification paperwork instead of a parental guardian. This is done through a short court process, where the judge will ask you a few questions about your living situation, and determine if it qualifies you for a judicial bypass. Judicial bypass or parental notification are the only two ways for anybody under the age of 17 to obtain a safe, legal abortion procedure.)
How does the whole thing work?: You will be matched with an attorney who will guide you through the process, step by step, give you appropriate legal advice, as well as attend the court session with you. They understand that the court system is new to minors. Researching the option can be dangerous for some teenagers that are under strict surveillance at home. Jane’s Due Process exists to even the playing field for minors wishing to advocate for themselves, and obtain access to a legal court procedure that may otherwise be unattainable or intimidating for some minors, without assistance.
How do I get in touch with them?: You can read more about Jane’s Due Process by going to their website: (http://www.janesdueprocess.org/), or calling them at 1-866-www-jane
Their purpose is *not* to encourage minors to have an abortion, or to make a decision for teenagers. The purpose of Jane’s Due Process is to simply strengthen the voices that might otherwise be silenced. JDP is here to assure that not one woman – no matter her age – is forced to give birth to a child if she does not want to.
To all of the teens reading this: There are people out there who understand that being classified as a teenager should not strip you of the ability to responsibly shape your own future. Your own fate is always in your own hands – both Whole Woman’s Health and Jane’s Due Process are here to help ensure that.
We have some great news! This weekend, a team of WWH-ers helped pack up and move our Fort Worth location. We have successfully moved from 1717 South Main and set up shop on 3256 Lackland Road.
Our new building comes with a private parking lot, which means protestors will no longer be allowed to step foot past the public sidewalk. This will be such an excellent change for both our patients and staff, as they dealt with a lot of aggression in close proximity at the old location.
We’ll now be changing the world, one woman at a time from 3256 Lackland Road in Fort Worth, TX. As always, walk-in pregnancy testing, options counseling and ultrasounds for those in need are available from 8-5pm, Monday through Saturday.
We look forward to serving women in the Fort Worth area in our new building which has been fully renovated to meet Whole Woman’s Health’s high standards, and our warm and welcome personality!
- Whole Woman’s Health
Above is a picture of the woman who founded, built and now runs the chain of health clinics that has changed countless numbers of women’s lives, called Whole Woman’s Health. She’s an inspiration in all ways, a joy to be around, a seasoned vet in the field of abortion care and an all-around no-nonsense, determined and independent woman. That’s why she’s being honored next week at Texas’ Reproductive Equity Awards, hosted by the Lilith Fund. Past honorees include Sarah Weddington, Emily’s List and Jane’s Due Process.
Come celebrate with us next Thursday, as we toast to this strong woman who has made waves in the field of reproductive healthcare.
Event details can be found here:
More information on the event and how to buy tickets can be found here:
We hope to see you there!