Our mission: Trust Women opens clinics that provide abortion care in underserved communities so that all women can make their own decisions about their health care.
Even though Roe v. Wade still stands and abortions remain legal, women must have access to abortion providers to truly make reproductive decisions for themselves.
Lack of access is a serious problem for women living in the Midwest and South. Nearly 96 percent of counties in the Midwest and South have no abortion provider compared with 80 percent of counties in the rest of the country. More important, almost half of women in the Midwest and South live in those counties, again compared with a national average of 34 percent of women in counties without an abortion provider.
In April 2013, Trust Women opened the South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita, Kansas, in the building where Dr. George Tiller once practiced. Dr. Tiller was assassinated in 2009 and at that time had been Wichita’s sole abortion provider. In September 2016, Trust Women opened the first new abortion-providing clinic in Oklahoma in more than 40 years in Oklahoma City.
Since opening, we have dealt with regular protests, multiple false complaints from anti-choice organizations to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts and had 18 vendors refuse to contract with us because of our work. Despite these obstacles, we remain committed to helping women and providing them with high-quality health care. Trust Women has the experience and the know-how to navigate hostile environments and oppressive policies to open clinics in under-served communities.
WHAT WE DO
- Network of Physicians: Across the country, there is a shrinking number of clinics and facilities willing to provide abortion care. Many of these clinics have been open since 1973, and their physicians are well past retirement age.
o We combat this problem by building a network of physicians to provide reproductive care. Many clinics in smaller or hostile markets rely on doctors who travel to clinics to provide care. We have expanded the model to provide physicians for a whole system of clinics.
o We help clinics and physicians fight legal challenges, provide them with messaging, communications and advertising support and help with administrative staff support. We firmly believe doctors should be free to be doctors without worrying about political and legal attacks.
- Navigating Forceful Opposition: We choose to work in states that have some of the most extreme legal restrictions, the most vocal opposition groups and generally inhospitable climates. This is where millions of women live, and it’s where women face difficult decisions every day. We simply want to provide care for them.
o Legal Counsel: For the past five years, an increasing number of laws have passed at the state and local levels restricting abortion access. These laws are designed to shut down clinics and further restrict access. In addition, our clinics face a higher degree of scrutiny from state and local agencies on top of the numerous restrictions abortion providers face. This means we must maintain a robust legal team and consult with them often.
o Renovation Costs: 29 states currently require abortion facilities to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center (ASC). These requirements go far beyond what is necessary to ensure patient safety, and renovations necessary to meet ASC standards are costly. For our Wichita clinic, we spent almost $200,000 to comply with various state codes and laws. In addition, at every clinic we open, we must spend money on security systems, privacy fences and other safety features to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff, expenses other health care providers do not face.
o Dealing with Opposition Tactics: An unfortunate portion of our work also includes dealing with harassment from anti-choice organizations. We regularly monitor their activities outside our doors and online. We work to ensure patient and staff safety and privacy.
- Local Advocacy: We advocate on behalf of our clinics: to protect them from future attacks, to entrench them in our communities and to educate the public and correct false information. Abortion is a taboo subject, but one in three women in the United States will have one in her lifetime.
o We work to open up the conversation around abortion and partner with a variety of community organizations:
Kansas – Pro-Choice America NARAL, Kansas NOW, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Wichita League of Women Voters, Wichita YWCA and the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center.
Oklahoma – Cofounder of Take Root at Oklahoma University, OK Coalition for Reproductive Justice, Planned Parenthood of Central OK and OK Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
o Canvass Program: We use a door-to-door program to identify supporters in the area. One of our biggest challenges is finding new voices in these communities. Face-to-face outreach is the most effective way to garner new support as well as break the taboo of talking about abortion. With our coalition partners, we create and implement a community outreach campaign through events, phone banking and canvassing in all the communities in which we do work.