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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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WWH NM Internal

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!

WWH NM EntranceWWH NM InternalWWH NM Sonography Room

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.

HB2 Round Two: 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

This week marks our return to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals as we take on the fight over House Bill 2 in New Orleans. Whole Woman’s Health is once again fighting to prevent the omnibus House Bill 2 from taking full effect to bar hundreds of thousands of women from accessing necessary health services.

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Photo credit: Jennifer Whitney/The New York Times via Redux

We are taking in this history of back-and-forth (along with many deep breaths) as we return to New Orleans and the 5th Circuit. We are interested in what this panel of three judges (two of which previously supported HB2) has to say. Will they continue to claim that a 600-mile round trip is a perfectly manageable hoop to jump through to access healthcare? We certainly hope not.

5th Circuit Meme

We go forward this week with determination and hope that Texas women and families are not ignored. We also remain thankful for the support of our allies NARAL Pro-Choice TX, Progress TX, ACLU TX, the TX Freedom Network, and all of the abortion funds, activists, reporters, and supporters, as we continue to stand strong in our resolve to protect safe and legal abortion health care.

Andrea Ferrigno on Being Forced to Close Our Doors in McAllen Once Again [VIDEO]

Yesterday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the provisions of House Bill 2 that have decimated abortion access in Texas to a mere 8 clinics for a state of over 26 million people. Last month, we were able to reopen our McAllen clinic after getting an injunction in our first trial, restoring access to the people of the Rio Grande Valley even if it was short-lived. MSNBC did a video segment on our clinic’s reopening and how important it was, and released it today after we were forced to shut our doors again. You can watch it here.

Our Corporate Vice President, Andrea Ferrigno, worked tirelessly to get the clinic back up and running again, and wrote a statement today on having to close the clinic again. Here is her statement:

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Whole Woman’s Health Corporate Vice President Andrea Ferrigno (MSNBC)

Good morning, my name is Andrea Ferrigno and I am currently the Corporate Vice President with Whole Woman’s Health where I’ve worked for over a decade offering holistic abortion care. However, I have not always held this position. I actually began my career in Reproductive healthcare over 15 years ago working with a provider that offered obstetrics, gynecology and abortion care in the Rio Grande Valley for over 40 years where our clinic is located today. This location being a landmark for comprehensive healthcare is why I felt so thrilled about Judge Yeakel’s injunction nearly a month ago. I was passionate about returning to my community to personally facilitate re-opening our clinic that had to previously cease providing abortion services in October, 2013 – all direct byproducts of House Bill 2.

At that moment, it was and still is important to me to be on the ground to directly help women and families in the Rio Grande Valley access safe, professional abortion care.

The first day we reopen our doors in McAllen, we helped over 20 women; it was astounding to see the faces and hear individual stories of how they were connected to our clinic. How Whole Woman’s Health has remained a vital staple in that community. It was refreshing and inspiring for us to us to do our due diligence to keep providing the care that the valley so desperately needs and deserves.  And every week since the injunction, nearly 30-40 women have visited our clinic in McAllen.

Seeing firsthand what HB2 has done, not only to our clinic, but to the women of the Rio Grande Valley and all of Texas is absolutely infuriating. I’ve worked directly with women from the valley for nearly a month and I hear their stories. I have explained the Texas laws to them through their confusion. They have acknowledged our staff and physicians and expressed appreciation for us continuing to fight for their health care options as well as remaining in their communities despite the legal interference.

What we have to remember is that even though 6 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 no matter what community you are located in.

That is the reason why we, at Whole Woman’s Health, are committed to this fight.

I am so proud and honored to be able to work with a team of skilled staff, physicians, nurses, and volunteers who respect every woman’s experience, values, family and community. It’s a shame that our Texas politicians can’t do the same. In the end, it’s hurting thousands of Texans and perpetuating a cycle that eliminates empowerment and prevents women and their families from planning and choosing what is best for their lives, and this harassment has to stop

Thank you for the opportunity to share on behalf of the women that we serve.

Our Statement on Today’s 5th Circuit Ruling

Crisis-01Our statement on today’s ruling from the 5th Circuit that will shutter most abortion clinics in Texas. 

“Today our hearts are broken on behalf of the women and families in Texas that have been left behind by this 5th circuit ruling. This afternoon, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the side of politics NOT women’s health. The courts left in place one of the most restrictive and harmful laws against women in the country.  What we have been fearing is now official: Texas faces a health care crisis, brought on by its own legislators.

Less than two weeks after reopening our McAllen clinic following an injunction by Judge Yeakel, we are once again forced to cease providing abortion care services to the women who need us most.  We are forced to suspend provision of abortion care in our Fort Worth clinic as well, where we were the only clinic open in that city since the law went into effect last November.

Politicians who were elected to ensure the safety and health of people in our state have turned their backs on the women and families who need us most.  It’s bad enough that they are meddling in every woman’s decision about whether or not to become a parent, but it’s unconscionable that those who will bear the burden most are poor women and young women.

Let me speak directly to the people of Texas: Politicians may have closed our clinics, but Whole Woman’s Health is here for you.  We are committed to supporting women and families in our state.  We are committed to providing abortion in a caring, holistic environment.

We ask that you stand with us and stand united. Make no mistake—we are more determined, bolder, and stronger than ever.  We will take whatever steps are necessary from here to preserve women’s access to safe abortion care in Texas.

As we continue this court battle, we will continue to remain open in our ASC in San Antonio. We will also be seeing patients soon in our Las Cruces, New Mexico clinic, which will serve the women of New Mexico, Mexico and now West Texas who lost a good clinic due to these onerous restrictions.”

You have four more days left to register to vote. 

Come Party With Lady Parts Justice

On September 27th, join Lady Parts Justice for their V to Shining V campaign as they host parties in every state across the US to call out anti-choice politicians for legislating against a woman’s right to access safe, legal abortion care! Lady Parts Justice was started by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s Co-Producer, Lizz Winstead, and it has state-by-state videos for you to watch and learn about what anti-choice laws have been passing in your state and what you can do to stop them. Texas specifically has a “Wrecking Ball” parody with Lady Parts Justice’s very own uterus puppet, Eunice.

Here are five reasons to join (from Lady Parts Justice’s website):

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 10.47.55 PM1. Because women decide elections and if we get together, blow this shit up in a smart and funny way, we just may be able to get folks to sit up, take action and reverse this erosion of rights.

2. Because neanderthal politicians are spending all their time making laws that put YOUR body squarely into THEIR hands.

3. Because extremist goon squads exist in EVERY statehouse in America and are sneaking in tons of creepy legislation. We’re staying on top of this shit so you can stay on top this shit.

4. Because you use birth control.

5. Because you like sex and it’s not all about having babies. Think about it, if it were there would be no room to stand.

Now, Lady Parts Justice is starting V to Shining V, a national party to make plans on how we’re going to take back what anti-choice legislators have taken from us in over 20 states across the country. Regardless of where you live, you can sign up to get a party kit of sweet V to Shining V gifts curated by Lizz Winstead herself to throw your own V to Shining V party with you and your friends!

Do you live in California, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, or Wisconsin? Perfect. All of these states are hosting public parties with local comedians, musicians, and opportunities with statewide organizations to help you fight back.

Now, here’s where Whole Woman’s Health comes in: do you live in Texas, want to party with us, see some great entertainment, and take down these anti-choice politicians that we’ve been fighting against in court? Join us on September 27th from 7:30-9:30pm for the official Texas party at Jo’s Coffee on South Congress with local comedians Maggie Maye, Daniel Webb, Genevieve Van Cleve, Julie Gillis and musical guests Burgess Meredith (acoustic set), Magna Carda, Elizabeth McQueen, and Nakia.

Austin,TX

V to Shining V Texas Party Banner (Ultraviolet, Lady Parts Justice)

Join us in any state you can for your own V to Shining V party, and if you’re in Texas, we’ll see you at Jo’s on September 27th!