In the Texas State Capitol Dome or Statehouse Building

Our Statement on Today’s Texas Senate HHS Committee “Hearing”

“Today, overzealous politicians and extremists orchestrated a politically motivated hearing, serving as yet another incessant attack on all Texas abortion providers in order to end safe, legal abortion care by any means necessary. Although Planned Parenthood continues to be at the center of these attacks, today during biased testimony other providers like Whole Woman’s Health were mentioned. It is clear that these heinous attempts are now aimed to broadly discredit safe abortion care in the entire state of Texas.”  

– Amy Hagstrom Miller, Founder, President, and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health

Speaking out against the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee Hearing regarding alleged illegal activity occurring at Planned Parenthood.

Statement from Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health on Today’s Supreme Court #HB2 Stay

“Today I truly breathe a deep sigh of relief  as the the Supreme Court of the United States protected our three Whole Woman’s Health clinics in West Texas and the Rio Grande Valley from shutting their doors by partially blocking components of Texas’ omnibus anti-choice law, HB2.

I just can’t stop smiling since I heard the news an hour ago – all this work, all this time, and all this uncertainty for my team and the women that we serve. Always knowing that we stand on the right side of history, yet always being careful not to hope too much. But today we did it. We kept Texas’ clinics open. Calling my team in McAllen and my team in Fort Worth just now was so rewarding – to tell them that the clinics will stay open, and that the jobs they love so much serving women will be there for them next week and beyond. They were cheering.

As you know this law, which was recently upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court, would have had a catastrophic impact on women and families across the state of Texas. We’re relieved that the high court has, once again, prevented anti-choice politicians’ from pushing safe and affordable abortion care entirely out of reach for the women in these communities.

Let me be clear: these restrictions have nothing to do with protecting women. HB2 is anti-choice legislators’ thinly veiled attempt to make abortion unavailable and unaffordable by closing down clinics. Today’s ruling only reinforces the fact that requiring every abortion clinic to turn into a surgical center is both excessive and medically unnecessarily.

We understand that these court decisions are changing the status of this law from  day to day. We are committed to ensuring that Texas women know that abortion is still LEGAL and, despite anti-choice lawmakers’ best efforts, it is also still available. If women have questions about where they can go to end an pregnancy, I would encourage them to call our newly established hotline at 1 (877) 833-9190.

We are emboldened by the Court’s decision, but know that this fight is far from over. We will continue to stand with the women of Texas to ensure they have access to affordable abortion care when they need it. As my staff just said to me when I called them an hour ago – we will be here no matter what, we get knocked down and still we rise. We are in it for the long haul, and today is a really good day!”

 

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An Announcement from our CEO – Meet Whole Woman’s Health of Peoria!

Whole Woman’s Health is pleased to announce that we have opened a new clinic location in Peoria, Illinois! We will proudly be carrying forward the work done here for 40 years by the staff and physicians at National Health Care of Peoria. When the National Health Care team called us earlier this year to let us know that they were interested in selling the clinic after one of their owners had passed away and the remaining owner was ill, we were honored that they would choose Whole Woman’s Health to work with in crafting a succession plan that would work for their team and for the many women they serve here in Peoria. It didn’t take long after we first came to visit – in what is called the heart of Illinois – for us to become impressed with this tight-knit team and beautiful clinic.

As mentioned, Whole Woman’s Health of Peoria is in the heart of Central Illinois, about 180 miles Southwest of Chicago and 190 miles North of St. Louis. We are members of the National Abortion Federation, The Abortion Care Network, and we are a licensed Pregnancy Termination Center by the state of Illinois. We provide quality abortion care to 16 weeks and are staffed by board certified Ob/Gyn physicians, nurses, and a phenomenal leadership team.

All of us at Whole Woman’s Health are truly honored to take the legacy of National Health Care forward into the future and to keep access to safe, quality, independent abortion care a reality for women in Central Illinois.

Later this week, right here on this blog, we will introduce you to Margaret, our fearless leader here in Peoria who has been at this clinic for over 40 years. We are honored to have her help in this transition and to lead Whole Woman’s Health of Peoria as we get established here to continue to serve this wonderful community.

Cheers form the heart of Illinois, where access to safe abortion will remain for many, many years to come! It’s Margaret’s legacy and Whole Woman’s Health’s mission.

– Amy

Whole Woman's Health of Peoria Square

Whole Woman’s Health Responds to the 5th Circuit Ruling on Texas HB2

Texas women and families suffered a blow today when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit took away essential health care for all Texans.  Their decision once again will push abortion care out of reach for too many Texas women.

 After taking nearly 6 months to rule, the 5th Circuit has issued its opinion and, as expected, it is a near-total loss.  The injunction we received from the Supreme Court against every part of the law is to be lifted, with two minor exceptions, specifically related to Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen. At this time we are still analyzing the decision to see if the relief granted to Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen will allow us to keep our doors open.

 The decision doesn’t take effect immediately – we have approximately 22 days before it does so.  All Whole Woman’s Health clinics will remain open for this time period and we will go up to the Supreme Court on an emergency basis in the meantime.

 All Texas abortion clinics are now, once  again, subject to politically imposed,  medically unnecessary requirements—requirements that are so onerous that they leave me no choice but to officially close the doors of every remaining abortion clinic in the state, leaving only a handful of ASC’s located only in the major metropolitan areas leaving thousands of women without access in the largest state in the continental USA.

 Politicians put a road full of unnecessary hurdles in front of every woman in Texas who has decided to end her pregnancy.   For nearly one million Texas women, the repercussions of this ruling  will be devastating.  Ending a pregnancy will mean traveling at least 300 miles and overcoming needless hurdles such as additional costs, childcare, time off, and immigration checkpoints.  This is simply unacceptable.

 It’s bad enough that the politicians that we—the people of Texas—elected to protect and represent our communities have turned their backs us, and now, the justice system has too. But let me assure you, Whole Woman’s Health remains committed to supporting women and families across the state.

 Whole Woman’s Health will fight to provide the full spectrum of reproductive health services, including abortion care, in a caring, holistic, and safe environment.

No matter what the outcome of this case is, Whole Woman’s Health will continue to remain open to serve women in the Southwest with our surgical center facility in San Antonio and in our New Mexico clinic, which serves the women of New Mexico and West Texas.

 We are invigorated by the outpouring of support that we continue to receive not only from Texans, but from people across the country. We are more determined than ever and will stop at nothing to preserve Texas women’s access to safe abortion care—and that includes taking this battle to the United States Supreme Court.

 Texas, we stand with you and ask that you continue to stand with us.  Stand with us as we fight back.  Stand with us as we join with others to build lasting power and create the change that will bring back our health care.  If we stand together we can  turn our state into one that respects our health and our decision-making.

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Top 10 Times WWH Spoke Out Like a BOSS (with gifs!)

We at Whole Woman’s Health are vocal. We’re vocal about abortion care. We’re vocal about stigma. We’re vocal about terrible anti-choice legislation and their sometimes-but-not-always equally terrible legislatures.  And, we’re vocal about keeping quality reproductive health care available in our communities. We’re so vocal in fact, our CEO started a new non-profit so we can continue to be vocal while also educating others about the space where abortion provision and abortion stigma meet.

This post is not about that though, it’s about the ten moments this legislative session where our Whole Woman’s Health posse vocalized our expertise and spoke out. We testified for and against bills, on behalf of our company and on behalf of fabulous coalition partners, in front of a human rights panels and at health conferences. See? Vocal.

Below are our ten favorite Whole Woman’s Health quotes from these past few months, in no particular order (and with gifs)..

“The current Woman’s Right to Know Act includes a mandate that forces medical providers to give their patients medically and scientifically inaccurate information, notwithstanding the doctor’s medical judgment or ethical obligations to his or her patient. This interference directly contradicts the physicians’ Hippocratic Oath to do no harm and allows lawmakers and special interest groups with no medical expertise to dictate to doctors how to practice medicine.”

Andrea Ferrigno, Corporate Vice President of Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 708 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition. April 22, 2015

“Particularly because of the safety of abortion care, requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges is neither medically necessary nor reasonable.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against NM SB 437. March 3, 2015.

“While HB 1648 may have the intention to bring the very serious matter of coercion to the surface, this bill not only perpetuates the widely debunked and dangerous myths about abortion, it also makes inaccurate assumptions about the decision making process women undergo when facing an unplanned pregnancy as well as the professional guidelines providers adhere to when offering this medical care.”

Fatimah Gifford, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 1648 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition.

“Speak up and out, 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 person comes into my clinics thinking they are the only person they know who has had an abortion. Thinking they are the only Christian that has had an abortion. Thinking they are the only good parent who has had an abortion.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, speaking at the Annual Meeting of the Abortion Care Network.

“Studies that contain inaccurate data should not inform the practice of medicine, nor should they be the basis of legislation.”

Fatimah Gifford, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 1648 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition. April 29, 2015.

“I share their frustration and pain on a personal level, because it is impossible to ignore this injustice. We have to remember that even though 11 months ago HB2 shuttered our doors; it did nothing to take the need away. Texan women still sought abortion care yesterday- as they will continue to do today, tomorrow, and in the future as it is needed, no matter what community you are located in.”

Andrea Ferrigno, Corporate Vice President of Whole Woman’s Health, speaking a the Nuestro Texas Women’s Human Rights Hearing. March 9, 2015.

“Misinformation does not promote women’s health or safety.”

Fatimah Gifford, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 1648 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition. April 29, 201 8.

“It is clear to me that some law makers in this country and in this state do not value health care in the same way as I do, as a fundamental human right.”  

Jane Laine, former Clinic Administrator of Whole Woman’s Health of the Twin Cities, testifying against MN HF 607 and 787. March 4, 2015.

“The record in that case reveals that many hospitals require an applicant for admitting privileges to meet a minimum admission requirement, which our physicians in Texas could not meet because the incidence of patient complications is so rare at Whole Woman’s Health clinics. This “Catch 22” makes it abundantly clear that these types of requirements have nothing to do with women’s health and safety—they are simply a disingenuous effort to cut off access for safe, legal, critical health care for women who have made the decision to end a pregnancy.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against NM SB 437. March 3, 2015.

“Texas women and men deserve accurate information in all areas of their healthcare, as dictated by the medical profession and sound science.”

Andrea Ferrigno, Corporate Vice President of Whole Woman’s Health, testifying against TX HB 708 on behalf of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition. April 22, 2015

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“…you made a difference in my world.”

Dear Whole Woman’s Health Staff:

I was in your care while making one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I don’t remember anyone’s name – the day is a bit of a blur – but I wanted to thank you all for making such a difficult day that much less difficult by providing me (and the other women) with such a supportive, safe, gentle, and loving environment. Thank you.

I’m so glad I had the option of coming to you. I know your jobs must be difficult but rewarding and I wanted to let you all know that you made a difference in my world.

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Positive snaps from the EmpowerLine

Meet Emily: Your abortion navigator and all-around helpful person

When we talk about abortion providers, stories usually center around the physicians, administrators, staff and volunteers who work directly with patients in the clinic. The abortion experience does not only happen within the walls of a clinic, though. What about the before? Or the after?

Our EmpowerLine team is the touchpoint for our patients and their support people in those before, during, and after spaces. Collectively we have over one thousand phone conversations each week with people all across the country regarding waiting periods, insurance and funding options, emotional needs, and more. The EmpowerLine is Whole Woman’s Health values of empowerment and holistic care personified, with a little quirk.

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A photo posted by Whole Woman's Health (@wholewomans) on

We sat down with Emily, one of our Women’s Health Advocates to talk about working in the EmpowerLine and the role of phone service within the abortion experience.

Why work in the EmpowerLine? Is there something to helping people over the phone?

I like the EL (EmpowerLine) because we can speak with people across the country with so many different situations. The stigma surrounding abortion makes it so people don’t know what to expect when they come into an abortion clinic. They have this image in their head that isn’t welcoming or good. It’s nice to put their mind at ease, to explain to them what they’ll be experiencing.

The more you know about what you’re about to go through, the more relaxed you’ll be. It’s nice to be able to dispel some of the myths that women have about abortions, e.g. not being able to get pregnant again. To be able to answer those concerns and then hear the relief, it’s very powerful. You can come into the clinic and receive support here, and that’s great, but you need to have support before as well.

Why should people call the EmpowerLine?

The level of advocacy that we have. The funding resources. We really do go above and beyond. For example, if they’re Catholic and having trouble reconciling that we’ll give them the information for Faith Aloud or Catholics for Choice. I like to think of us like a web.

We’re more than just a call center because we can talk through feelings, questions, concerns. It’s more than just setting up appointments. It’s beyond that. It’s more holistic. We may be speaking on the phone, but we’re developing personal connections. Often times people will call back multiple times, asking for us by name because we’ve developed those connections.

A lot of women will travel from really far away. They can’t come in and have extended counseling, or they don’t have the time etc., not everyone can just come in and take a day off or something to speak to a person. The EmpowerLine is only a phone call away and we always encourage people to call back with questions or concerns no matter how big or small. Women are busy. Sometimes you’re only able to make a phone call and so it’s important that there is someone on the other end who’s really listening.

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Emily sitting at her desk in the EmpowerLine

What kinds of conversations stick out in your mind?

The most meaningful conversations I have are with the people who have all the myths in their mind. They’ve only heard the anti-choice language, but they find themselves in need of our services. So I get to take the time and explain how abortion actually works – that this is actually a very safe, non-invasive procedure.

What changed for you when you started working in abortion care?

Before working here I didn’t realize how common [abortion] was. How one out of three women have an abortion in their lifetime. Most are mothers. We see patients who range from being children to their 50s. It’s not just teenagers, or poor people, or single people. I now think about it more as a regular part of women’s healthcare. It’s not this separate, like, fringe thing. It’s a healthcare service like any other. 

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One of the things that makes Whole Woman’s Health unique is our openness and support for people seeking second trimester abortion care..

There are so many different reasons why women have abortions further along in their pregnancies. Because until you hear their stories, you can’t pass judgement. It’s not a ‘oh, I just didn’t get around to it.’ I had one woman who spent months thinking she was going through menopause and it turned out she was pregnant. Or, there was a patient who was assaulted and in a state of shock for so long that she simply didn’t comprehend that she was pregnant. The people who have abortions further in their pregnancy have special situations. And money… the money chase. Sometimes money is the largest barrier between someone and the abortion they need. 

Anything else?

I like to be able to say that I work at an abortion clinic because abortion is not a dirty word and the more we say it the more it’s less hush hush. It’s not something to be ashamed of. I work here with pride. The more I share my knowledge with other people, the more that conversation happens and the more people get interested and it opens doors to other people. And that’s what needs to happen across the country. Conversations that are being had around abortion.

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