In Honor of Dr. Mildred Hanson

Dr. Mildred ‘Millie’ Hanson was the first MD I ever worked with – my first job in the field in 1989 was as a staffer at Planned Parenthood on Ford Parkways in St. Paul, where she was the medical director. A feisty Norwegian and a fierce advocate. She did the first abortion I ever saw and I gently excused myself from the room mid-procedure and fainted in the hallway. 

She was forward thinking, one of the first women doing work in abortion care in the country. She is the one who discovered laminaria when she was visiting Japan and she brought back a suitcase of it the USA to introduce to the NAF community here for cervical prep. 

She was an expert technician in abortion care, especially 2nd trimester abortion. Everyone still to this day learns the “Hanson” technique when they are training. She was outspoken, super smart, a leader, a spitfire and a great example to many of us. We give thanks for her example, for her making trails for many of us to follow in and for her work with thousands of women over her many years in the field. 

Amy Hagstrom Miller

President & CEO of Whole Woman’s Health

Trust. Respect. Access.

Today we, along with our coalition partners NARAL Pro-Choice TexasACLU of Texas, the Texas Research Institute, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Progress Texas, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and the Texas Freedom Network, are at the Texas State Capital for Advocacy Day: Trust. Respect. Access.

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We’re working with Texans from across the state to ask their legislators to support policies that restore trust in Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, to restore respect for health care professionals, and to restore access to safe, timely abortion care.

In addition to our advocacy day, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of the Trust. Respect. Access. website: trustrespectaccess.org. Here you’ll find more detailed information about our campaign, how legislative ignorance impacts Texans’ ability to provide and access necessary healthcare, and ways we can come together and move toward a better Texas!

Whole Woman’s Health is committed to changing the conversation around abortion, building a movement for reproductive freedom and pushing for more proactive rights. Texans have endured tremendous political interference and it’s eroded access to quality healthcare across the state.

In 2013 and for nearly a decade before, extremist Texas politicians lied. Today we unveil the beginning of our proactive policy work and begin a strategic roll back of some of the most restrictive policies on reproductive healthcare affecting thousands of Texas families.

- Amy Hagstom Miller, Founder & CEO of Whole Woman’s Health

So, what exactly does Trust. Respect. Access. mean?

1. We Trust Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, including the timing and spacing of their children. 

2. We Respect healthcare professionals’ medical and ethical judgment about the care each patient needs. 

3. We work to guarantee Access to safe, timely abortion care for all Texans. 

About time!

Extremist politicians have gone too far in restricting access to reproductive health care in our state. Texas can do better. And we can start today.

Whole Woman’s Health Serving the Twin Cities for Three Years!

Tomorrow we will not only be celebrating Valentine’s Day, but also the Third Anniversary of Whole Woman’s Health of the Twin Cities! We are still just as honored to have the opportunity to be a part of this community as we were when we opened our doors three years ago. Whole Woman’s Health of the Twin Cities offers a level of service that is reflective of the caring, supportive nature that you find in this Nordic, “we all do better when we all do better” community. Among some of the services we offer:

  • Full spectrum gynecological care including contraception, conception planning, well woman visits, preventative care counseling, STI exposure, and more
  • Walk-in Emergency Contraception for only $20
  • First trimester surgical abortion from 4 to 14 weeks
  • Medication abortion from positive pregnancy test to 10 weeks
  • Second trimester abortion in one or two-day procedures up to 24 weeks

And because we’re Whole Woman’s Health… it’s not just what we do, but how we do it. That’s why we also provide holistic care services like the following:

  • Financial aid options for women in need, especially those travelling from out of state
  • Acceptance of private insurance, including new insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act
  • Private care for women and families facing fetal anomaly or fetal demise of a wanted pregnancy, including private rooms and modified counseling
  • Multiple sedation options for improved relaxation
  • A soothing environment that supports emotional as well as physical well-being

Bonus! Our Doctors and staff are the best (and we’re not just saying that). Here is our Medical Director, Dr. Carrie Terrell:

As for our other physicians:

  • All are credentialed at major hospitals in the area including the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Regions, United Hospital, and St. John’s and St. Joseph’s Hospitals.
  • Several of our doctors are on faculty at the University of Minnesota and play an active role in training medical students and residents.
  • Our primary gynecological provider is a nurse practitioner on faculty with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

We’ve also been very fortunate to build relationships with the organizations who truly make Minnesota a better place for women. Just last month we he held a SOLD OUT joint  screening of the film Vessel along with Pro-Choice Resources, one of the oldest abortion funds in the country! And every year our team looks forward to rockin’ it in the Bowl-a-Thon (this year’s team name: The Wandering Mirenas!). We also have team members serving on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota and our clinic participates in the NARAL escort program (also if you haven’t – thank a clinic escort. They show up at 7am when it’s below zero and block our patients from the demeaning harassment of the anti-abortion protesters). Honestly though, at the end of the day it’s always about our patients. And while everything we’ve written is true, sometimes our patients just say it best. So we’re going to say cheers to three great years and leave you with this letter we received several months back from a woman we cared for.

To the staff of Whole Woman’s Health – 

My husband and I terminated a carefully planned and much wanted pregnancy for medical reasons. We definitely did not come to this decision lightly but we did come to it out of love. And even though the decision was made out of love, that was by far the hardest day I have ever had to face. I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Your staff treated us so gently and I can’t thank you enough for the level of dignity and respect we were shown. I appreciate all of the accommodations you were able to make for us – the private room, allowing my husband to sit beside me and hold my hand during the procedure, making arrangements with the funeral home for cremation – all accommodations that no other clinic was willing or able to make. I feel so fortunate that your staff was there for us during this time and I am so grateful to Whole Woman’s Health for the incredible consideration we were given on such an emotionally trying day. Thank you for all that you do.

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WWH of Fort Worth is OPEN!

Ft Worth Waiting Room

We understand that in northern Texas it can sometimes be confusing as to what resources are available when it comes to reproductive health or when you are considering terminating a pregnancy. That’s why we would like to take a moment to highlight our Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth clinic. Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth has been in this community for over five years and we are thankful each and every day for the ability to serve the residents of the DFW area and the women who travel long distances from places like Wichita Falls and Abilene to see us.

Our team considers this work that we do a calling. At Whole Woman’s Health clinics, we provide holistic care — meaning we acknowledge factors impacting our head and heart, in addition to our physical body. These factors may include our relationships with our families and significant others, employment concerns, health barriers, or religious and moral feelings. All of our staff – from your first phone call or the Patient Advocate who guides you through your appointment with us, will take the time to explore any questions or concerns you might have. This level of care is provided only at Whole Woman’s Health, and it is the level of care you deserve. 

We are proud to offer compassionate, patient-centered care. That means you are at the forefront of your medical decisions. If you need to schedule an appointment, know someone who might, or simply have a few questions, please don’t hesitate to call us! Our EmpowerLine takes the time to answer the questions that matter most to you, whether they be about scheduling, pricing, or the procedure. We also screen every caller for financial assistance, as we understand money is often the largest barrier to prevent someone from accessing needed abortion services.

At Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth, we are able to see patients for a range of services surrounding reproductive needs, pregnancy termination, and emotional well-being, including:

  • Free, Walk-In Pregnancy Testing
  • Ultrasounds
  • Pregnancy or Abortion Options Counseling
  • Birth Control Prescriptions
  • Surgical Abortions and the Pill Abortion
  • Sedation Options for Comfort
  • Options for Shorter Appointments or Private Rooms

If you have questions about any of the above. Or would like to schedule a time to visit with us in our clinic, please don’t hesitate to give us or visit our website. We are here for the women of Fort Worth and northern Texas!

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Whole Woman’s Health Turns 12!

Today marks twelve years since we first opened our arms to the women of central Texas, and expanded in our other communities across Texas, Maryland, Minnesota, and most recently New Mexico. Since that first January in 2003, our patients have continued to be the focal point of all that we do and will continue to be our most important priority in the coming years.

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Our Whole Woman’s Health counseling area in 2003. We’ve come a long way y’all. No filter!

We also want to extend our gratitude to our physicians, staff, management, colleagues, partners, allies, family and friends. They have been with us through the big wins and the hard losses, and have supported us in preserving reproductive health to keep abortion safe and accessible. Without them, we would not have come as far as we have.

So raise a toast with us to honor our supporters, and join us in our journey to serve our communities in 2015 and beyond!

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A Look into Whole Woman’s Health of New Mexico

It is hard to believe it have been just under two years since HB2 first reared its head, but that’s how long Whole Woman’s Health has been standing up for the women in Texas in fighting the unnecessary and onerous legislation that has changed the landscape of abortion care in the Southwest. Through filibusters, clinic closers and repoenings and closures again, Fifth Circuit rejections and Supreme Court interference, we continue to give all we have to protect the human rights of the women in Texas.

We understand that women in need will jump through hoops and literally go the distance to obtain a necessary abortion. In October of 2014, we opened the doors to our newest health center, Whole Woman’s Health of New Mexico, in response to HB2 as a way to keep access available for the women of west Texas and to expand access for the women of southern and northern New Mexico. While we are honored to continue the fight against obtrusive Texas state government, we would like to take a moment to welcome and introduce you to the newest member of our Whole Woman’s Health family in Las Cruces, New Mexico!

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Whole Woman’s Health of New Mexico has been open for just three months, and might I say, we’re already smitten! And, how couldn’t we be? The space is clean, fresh, and bright. The team is whip smart, kind, and non-judgmental. Our New Mexico friends and allies are friendly and supportive of each other. We simply could not have chosen a better place to take root or a better group of people to deliver our distinct model of holistic, empowering healthcare to the region.

We <3 the scenery surrounding our new clinic in #LasCruces #NM! #nofilter

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

Seriously. #nofilter

The Organ Mountains are breathtakingly beautiful, and lucky for us we have the best view right outside our front entrance. The people in Las Cruces work to lift each other up for the good of the community and we are honored to be working side by side. You see this everywhere… in the assortment of local organizations who work hard to enrich the Las Cruces and El Paso area. Our local staff from New Mexico and El Paso form a great team at Whole Woman’s Health of New Mexico!

#womenarepowerful #WWHNewMexico #empowerment #LasCruces

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

Our full time Patient Advocates hold post-graduate degrees and have aspired to work in setting that gives the opportunity to provide support within their community (remember that thing I said last paragraph about the amazing people here?). Our Administrator is one of the most encouraging women in Southern New Mexico, which seems like an overstatement but is actually quite the opposite, and our nurses combined have been working in abortion care for over 30 years and hold backgrounds in holistic medical care. Talk about a perfect fit for delivering our mission! And, we haven’t even gotten to our Medical Director, Dr. William Richardson:

“Everyone wants a job where they can feel they are helping people. Where it is unique. Where they feel useful and where they feel the people who they help are grateful and appreciative. Working in abortion fulfills all of those things.”

- Dr. William Richardson

#shucks

In these past three months we have just begun. Right now we are able to provide first trimester surgical and medical abortions, conscious sedation, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, options counseling, and in-town referrals for medical care and support. But make no mistake, we are working feverishly to expand our services to include the full range of gynecology care, STI testing, and abortions to the second trimester. Currently our EmpowerLine is able to screen all callers and offer financial assistance and soon we will be accepting New Mexico Medicaid and private insurance for payment.

Our dream is for Whole Woman’s Health of New Mexico to be the place where Las Cruces women and women in the surrounding rural communities, as well as the larger El Paso/Juarez metroplex can go for their comprehensive reproductive health care and abortion care needs in a space that is uplifting, supportive, kind, non-judgmental, and a reflection of their home, not just their neighbors. And of course, we are humbled to be the safe haven for Texas women as that state government continues to make healthcare access almost impossible.

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Reflections After HB2’s 5th Circuit Court Hearing

From the thoughts of our President & CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller, following today’s 5th Circuit Court hearing on House Bill 2:

Amy Toti brief media post 5thI am very encouraged by today’s hearing. I feel like the judges paid strong attention to the evidence we put forward in district court. I feel they understood the health and welfare of the women within our Texas communities. I feel judges Elrod and Haynes particularly understood that the health and welfare of women, especially in the Rio Grande Valley, need extra protection, because having to travel upwards of 250 miles endangers women’s lives. The state’s case was extremely weak in retrospect of the undue burden perspective that it’s not a big deal for women to travel from the Rio Grande Valley to San Antonio.

I am not hopeful that we are going to get a ruling in our favor but am hopeful we showed that women are disproportionately affected by these medically unnecessary laws.

It’s sad that we have to turn to the courts to fight this battle, but Whole Woman’s Health will do what it takes to do right by the women who need us across Texas.

This battle is far from over, we won’t stop fighting until justice is served for the women of Texas.

We will anxiously be awaiting the Fifth Circuit Court’s decision and actively preparing to mobilize either through the legal process or in our communities to keep our doors open.

No matter what, we will continue our work to de-stigmatize abortion and women’s decisions, through education and mobilization.

And we will continue to remain open to serve women in the Southwest with our facilities in San Antonio and our new clinic in Las Cruces, New Mexico.