Preparing for Your Abortion

At Whole Woman’s Health, we provide the best medical care and a range of reproductive healthcare. Abortion care is our specialty, with outstanding physicians and trained, caring staff. You will be well cared for while you are with us, and we provide a follow-up appointment 2 weeks after your abortion, to make sure you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally well enough to continue your regular activities.

Whether you choose to have a medication abortion at home or an in-clinic abortion, there are some things you can do beforehand to care for yourself post-abortion. With either procedure, you have the control to make this the experience you want it to be. We are here for you.

It should be noted that abortion is a very safe, common procedure and many women are able to resume regular activities in just a day or two following an abortion.

If you opt for a medication abortion, you’ll take the first pill (mifepristone) at the clinic. You’ll take the next set of pills (misoprostol) at home, 24-48 hours later. Most people will begin bleeding and cramping within about 1-2 hours of taking the misoprostol. The heavier bleeding and cramping typically lasts for 4-6 hours and most people will pass the pregnancy during this time.

In the case of a medication abortion, you have the choice of being in the comfort of your home, in the company of a friend or family member, or perhaps with a partner. Maybe your bedroom is your cozy place, or maybe you’ll want to be in your living room with the fireplace going. This is an abortion on your own terms, and can be a very empowering experience.

If you opt for an in-clinic abortion, your experience at home afterward will be a little different, but you’ll still want to prepare to recover once you get home. During your in-clinic procedure, we are still catering to you and want to make it a relaxing, comfortable place for you.

We’ve put together a checklist of the things you’ll want to have:

  • A support person who is aware of your situation, and can give you a ride, if needed.
  • Phone
  • Be within a one-hour drive of an emergency room
  • No obligations
  • Maxi pads (not tampons)
  • Thermometer
  • Plenty of fluids and light snacks
  • Ibuprofen and Tylenol

You’ll receive a similar checklist, along with a packet of information, to take home so you’ll know exactly what to expect while you’re at home.

In any case, consider this a time to practice self-care and spoil yourself a little! In additions to the checklist above, perhaps you’ll consider a few extra treats for yourself such as:

  • A few TV shows or movies to binge-watch
  • Your favorite snacks
  • A good book
  • A heating pad
  • Magazines
  • Cozy items: favorite blanket, warm slippers, fluffy pillow
  • Comfy clothes + underwear that will fit a maxi pad
  • Tea
  • Journal
  • Aromatherapy/essential oils

Don’t forget that 2-4 weeks after your abortion, you’ll have a follow-up appointment to make sure the procedure and healing went as planned. If you have any questions during this time, don’t hesitate to call your nurse at the number provided to you during your appointment.

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Signs of Quality Care

At Whole Woman’s Health, it is our philosophy to maintain a holistic approach to healthcare. We understand that women experience medical issues with their whole selves, often including their families, their religion and beliefs, their history, and their dreams. We listen to women, trust women, and are here to guide them through their choices.

As part of our mission, we provide quality care that women deserve. But, what exactly does quality care mean? What does it look like?

Quality care is:

Patient-centered

Each woman must be at the center of her own healthcare decisions. Being patient-centered means each visit is customized for that patient and her needs. We are here for every step of the way, and we trust women to make the best healthcare decisions for their bodies, families, and lives.

Welcoming

No matter which Whole Woman’s Health clinic you visit, you’ll notice our signature purple walls, empowering women’s quotes and photos, down to soothing aromatherapy diffusers. On top of our inviting atmosphere, our medically trained and licensed staff is ready to help you in any way possible.

Non-judgmental

It is our mission to serve women and improve women’s health and happiness in the communities surrounding our clinics. No matter the situation, we are here to help and will never judge. No one gets pregnant to have an abortion, and every day, good women have abortions.

Educational

Whether you have questions about the abortion procedure, birth control, the recovery process, emotions, anything you can think of, we are here to educate and inform our patients and their loved ones with medically accurate information.

Supportive

We are here to offer support for our patients in many ways: through counseling and guidance, funding assistance, and further recommendations. Outside of the clinic, we are taking steps to improve abortion access in the communities and states in which we serve.

Navigating healthcare isn’t easy, and every state has their own laws and regulations for clinics, making it difficult to know if you’ve ended up in a place that works for you. Ultimately, it comes down to the way a medical facility makes you feel. Trust your gut, ask questions, and go with your instincts.

The Top 10 Reasons Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend Should Open

1. There are only 6 abortion clinics in the entire state of Indiana.

This means some women must drive more than three hours to receive abortion care. Distance creates an additional barrier for women who need care, especially when you consider other possible factors such as the cost of gas, arranging for a ride, scheduling childcare, or taking time off work, among others.

2. Political interference should not stand in the way of a woman’s access to safe abortion care.

Politicians like Mike Pence continue to push prohibitive legislation that prevents women from accessing the abortion care they need. Indiana is classified as “extremely hostile” to abortion rights, having passed new laws in recent years to burden women seeking abortion and force clinics to close. In 2014, some 95 percent of Indiana counties had no clinics that provided abortion care and 66 percent of Indiana women lived in those counties. Indiana now has only six clinics open to serve women in the state, dropping from 10 in 2011.

3. When women are denied the ability to choose what will happen to her body, they lose freedom.

Denying women the right to choose an abortion is a slippery slope to denial of other care including birth control, emergency contraception, and even proper prenatal care. When women can choose what happens to their bodies and when, they can also choose what’s right for their futures, their families, and themselves.

4. South Bend deserves the best in medicine, including the full range of reproductive health options for women.

“Whole Woman’s Health will provide access to services crucial to women’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being, thus filling a critical gap in reproductive health care in the South Bend community. When we deny a woman the ability to choose what will happen to her body, we take away her freedom to make decisions that are best for her and her family. We must ensure the rights of our community members to have a child, not have a child, and to parent children in a safe and healthy environment. If we focus only on the former, we perpetuate reproductive injustice at the expense of women, children, and families in our community.”

-Carmella Vizza, Leader of Indivisible Indiana District 2

5. Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance provides abortion care with dignity, respect, and compassion.

We are a group of women’s clinics providing comprehensive gynecology services, including abortion care. We are committed to destigmatizing abortion and creating safe spaces for all people, whether it’s within our clinics or in the communities where they live.

6. Each woman should be at the center of her own healthcare decisions.

We trust women to make decisions for themselves and their families. We are here to support them in what can often be a challenging time in their lives. It is our philosophy that each woman must be at the center of her own healthcare decisions, and we are proud to be a woman-owned, woman-centered, progressive business.

7. Treating each patient individually will better serve women and improve women’s health and happiness in communities where there is access to quality care.

It is our philosophy that treating each woman holistically — honoring her head, heart, and body — will better serve women and improve women’s health and happiness in our wider communities. We enter communities where we are needed the most, and we strive to raise the standard of care by offering compassionate, quality care, while also working to remove barriers to reproductive care.

8. When women have control of their healthcare, society wins.

It has been proven over many years that when women have access to birth control, the economy and the job market thrive. Results are similar when women have access to abortion care – they are able to plan their futures, which determines how they participate in society. When women have a choice of when or if they want to become a parent, they can also make choices about higher education, careers, travel, etc.

9. Whole Woman’s Health Alliance is dedicated to eradicating shame and stigma surrounding abortion care.

We remain to be a strong advocate and community pillar wherever we have clinics, becoming the voice of women’s reproductive justice in many communities where the state has attacked the women’s healthcare system, by decimating it and creating an environment that forces women to potentially take desperate measures. We pride ourselves in eradicating the stigma surrounding abortion as well as ensuring that all women have safe, affordable access to abortion care.

10. Good women have abortions.

The people we serve come from all walks of life – from young college students to teenagers to professional women to stay at home moms; from religious folks and spiritual people to women struggling to figure out what they believe; from women with insurance to women who have no health care safety net and need financial support. The fact is, there is not just one kind of woman who has an abortion. Abortion is a normal part of women’s reproductive lives and nearly 40% of American women will have an abortion by the age of 45. We understand that no one gets pregnant to have an abortion. We also understand that facing an unplanned pregnancy and choosing abortion involves all the big things in women’s lives – examination of identity, life, death, sex, religion, family; your dreams and your aspirations.

Yes, We Want It: A Response to ‘The Abortion Memo’

 

The following was written as a response to David Brooks’ editorial, “The Abortion Memo”, which was published in The New York Times on February 1st.

I am The Director of Clinical Services at Whole Woman’s Health and support the management of our clinics in Baltimore, Minneapolis, Peoria and soon to be South Bend. As someone who has worked my whole career listening to the hearts and minds of women and families and ensuring they have to access safe, compassionate abortion care, I have some comments and questions for David Brooks and his “Abortion Memo.”

First, it’s always refreshing to have a man tell women how we should act and feel in regard to our rights, reproduction and fertility.  And though women are always a favorite scapegoat, abortion (and by extension, women) are not to blame for the polarization of all of American politics.

You assert that Democratic donors “want to preserve a women’s right to choose through all nine months of pregnancy.” This is directly out of the anti-abortion handbook (and Donald Trump’s mouth) – and you are smart enough to know better. A woman doesn’t have the right to “choose” through all nine months. She has the right to obtain an abortion in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy only if the fetus has health issues incompatible with life, if the pregnancy threatens her life, if she was raped, etc. (you know, what it says in the Roe v. Wade decision). And there are a grand total of about 3 places in the entire country that she can go to have this procedure done. So guess how many women even have that “choice” in reality?  Very few.  Even in the 2nd trimester, most states have passed such restrictive laws that there is no reality to that choice. When was the last time you were pregnant with a desperately wanted pregnancy and the fetus had Trisomy 13 and would absolutely die and you didn’t have the money or resources to get to Colorado and stay for 4 days and take off work and find care for your kids and pay for a hotel room and buy a plane ticket and so instead you had to continue your doomed pregnancy, walking around for the next two months hearing people congratulate you while carrying a fetus that is dead or soon will be? STFU! If this is what you call us “having our way” then yes, we want it.

And the age old, “don’t worry about Roe because the issue will just go back to the states.” Who cares about the tens of thousands of women in more than half the states where abortion would be illegal (see travel concerns listed above) who are totally screwed? You assert that “…states would hammer out the sort of compromise the European nations have, legal in the first months, difficult after that.” Guess what, that is the system we have now except the “difficult” part exists in the first months too, especially for poor women or women in rural areas (see travel concerns listed above). Even for abortion in the “first months,” 87% of counties in the US have no abortion provider. If demanding access to basic health care in our own communities is “having our way” then yes, we want it.

Then here comes the argument about advances in medicine and “babies are now viable outside the womb at 22 weeks.” I would argue that is a huge overstatement which doesn’t address the fact that just because a fetus is potentially viable at that gestation that it will actually survive and survive to grow into a healthy child. It doesn’t address the disparities in health care and the fact that survival that early is unlikely unless you are white, live in an urban area with a trauma one hospital and have excellent health insurance. Even then the odds aren’t good. That is actually all beside the point. Even if a fetus is viable or “cognitively active” does that now mean women who are pregnant become human incubators who forfeit their human rights and bodily autonomy? Hello Handmaid’s Tale! If claiming basic rights that men have had since the dawn of time is “having our way” then yes, we want it.

Mr. Brooks’ argument is essentially that women should just take one for the team. As if we haven’t been thrown under the bus, scapegoated and subjugated for centuries…we should just keep doing that a little bit longer. Thanks for the thought, but no.

Celebrating 15 years of Whole Woman’s Health!

February 3rd marks 15 years since we’ve been helping women, and our very first patients were in Austin, Texas, where our story began.

During these 15 years, we’ve opened clinics to provide quality care in the communities that needed us most – the communities where abortion access is limited. Our goal has always been, and will remain to be, to raise the standard of care where women need it the most.

Our care revolves around each patient, offering customized, quality care from the time a patient calls us for an appointment to the time they leave one of our clinics. We cater to the needs of each patient, from faith and spirituality to financial and emotional support.

But our patient-centered care model isn’t just about the experience inside the clinic. With the help of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, we also work to change the culture and conversation around abortion, with an end-goal of eliminating the stigma that surrounds such a common, necessary procedure.

Even 45 years after abortion was legalized, it remains to be a lightning rod issue in our country. While a vast majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal, many politicians are still trying to close clinics.

Since 2003, we’ve testified and served as the plaintiff in at least five different cases taking on laws that aim to strip abortion access to those who need it. After our Supreme Court victory, the Whole Woman’s Health decision has been used to reverse similar anti-abortion laws in more than 8 states, restoring women’s health and access to quality care.

After 15 years of helping women, we’re proud of the work we’ve done and the care we’ve been able to offer across the country. We owe a giant thank you to our doctors, nurses, staff, allies and supporters who’ve helped us make our accomplishments possible.

There’s still much change to be made, but we’re willing and ready to pave the way to greater abortion access in the days and years ahead. No matter the obstacle, our patients and their families remind us of why we’re here, and we’ll continue to be here to help those who deserve quality abortion care.

If you’d like to help cover the cost of an abortion for one of our patients, please consider making a donation to the Stigma Relief Fund today.

Whole Woman’s Health Alliance Denied Application to Open Abortion Clinic in South Bend by Indiana State Department of Health

January 10, 2018 – (PRESS RELEASE) Despite five months of accurately responding to every request for information from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), last week Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA) was denied its request for a license to open a clinic providing quality abortion care to women in the South Bend community. The ISDH denial did not have substantive merit and it seems the Department is confused about the facts.

 Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, a non-profit organization, announced in October 2017 her latest endeavor to open a new women’s health clinic that will provide quality abortion care in South Bend, Indiana.

 According to ISDH, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance has until January 23, 2018 to file an administrative appeal with the Department.

 “We are determined to move forward and we are committed to offering high quality care in South Bend,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance. “For nearly 5 months, we have complied with every single request from the ISDH and have worked directly with them to ensure that we would soon be able to provide quality care to the women and families of South Bend. The ISDH’s denial of our application is very unfortunate, and we are disappointed by what seems to be a misunderstanding on their part. We will absolutely appeal this decision and we look forward to clarifying the misinformation and moving forward without additional delays. Whole Woman’s Health Alliance remains committed to providing the care that this community deserves. We should not forget that good women have abortions – and the women of South Bend deserve access to compassionate, quality abortion care.”

 “I have lived and worked in underserved communities my entire life,” said Ed Liptrap, candidate for State Senate, District 11. “I wholeheartedly believe that when we limit people’s medical options for non-scientific reasons, there are long-term catastrophic consequences, including undermining trust in our government and medical professionals. With those experiences in mind, I find the Indiana State Department of Health’s decision to deny a license to Whole Woman’s Health [Alliance] disheartening. Making abortion care available only to those who can afford to take time off work to travel to another city will disproportionately affect our already underserved communities.”

 “As a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at a public university, I see every day what is at stake in my students’ abilities to get the reproductive care they need to lead empowered lives,” said Professor April Lidinsky, director and associate professor of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, IU of South Bend. South Bend is in dire need of women-centered health care that acknowledges the importance of women deciding whether and when they will become mothers. Every other direction women’s lives take hinges on reproductive justice. We need Whole Woman’s Health [Alliance] in South Bend for the good of ALL of us.”

2017: Year in Review

This year was a busy one for our staff and supporters! Looking back, it’s difficult to believe how much happened, but we’re excited to head into 2018 with enthusiasm and purpose. Here’s a recap of what we accomplished in 2017.

Celebrated 14 years of Helping Women

Whole Woman’s Health was founded in February 2003, in Austin, Texas. We are looking forward to celebrating 15 years in 2018!

Re-opened our Austin, TX Clinic

In July 2014, Whole Woman’s Health of Austin was forced to close due to Texas’ Omnibus Abortion Bill (HB2).

Nearly ten months after the historic Supreme Court victory in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision in June, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance of Austin opened its doors on April 28th. We continue to offer quality care at our original North Austin location on I-35.

Testified Against Neil Gorsuch

On Thursday, March 23, Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO and Founder of Whole Woman’s Health and Lead Plaintiff in the historic Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt Supreme Court case, testified before a Senate committee on why we must stop Judge Gorsuch. (You can read her full testimony here).

Joined Lady Parts Justice League for a Beautification Project & Comedy Show in Fort Worth, TX

In May, our staff members joined forces with those on “The Vagical Mystery Tour” – Co-Creator of “The Daily Show” Lizz Winstead (who is also the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Lady Parts Justice League), Comedian and Actor Ian Harvie, and Comedienne Joyelle Johnson – for the “Don’t Mess With Access” comedy show, which benefitted Whole Woman’s Health and our advocacy organization, Shift.

The following day, Lady Parts Justice League volunteers, including Winstead, Harvie and Johnson, visited our Whole Woman’s Health Ft. Worth clinic location to plant shrubs outside and around the building. They also coordinated lunch for the entire clinic staff, that was provided by Deep Cuts Butcher Shop in Dallas.

Challenged Texas’ Senate Bill 8… and won!

In June, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 8, an ominous anti-abortion bill that would further restrict abortion access for Texans. In July, we joined other abortion providers in challenging SB8, particularly the portion of the bill that would criminalize the D&E procedure.

In November, we took Texas to court (again). After presenting our case, witnesses, and evidence, Judge Yeakel ruled in our favor.

Launched a NEW Website

In August, we relaunched our Whole Woman’s Health website that features a new look, branding, and better mobile capability. As we expand our presence into new communities, our web presence has become more and more important in our work.

Offered No-Cost Abortions to Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

At the end of August, Texas was hit by Hurricane Harvey, leaving many without homes. Many of the abortion clinics were forced to close during and after the storm, despite their best efforts to help their patients. We know the need for abortion care doesn’t stop during a natural disaster, so we offered no-cost abortions to those patients affected by the hurricane.

With the help of Lilith Fund, our own Stigma Relief Fund, and other statewide funds and practical support networks like Fund Texas Choice, we were able to complete 85 abortions and 12 consultations at no costs to the patient during the month of September. We used $50,905 to cover costs, and raised approximately $25,000.

Our Stigma Relief Fund works year-round to help cover abortion costs for our patients in need; donate to Stigma Relief Fund today.

Opened New Clinics in Charlottesville, VA and South Bend, IN

In October, we excitedly opened the doors to our 8th and 9th locations in Charlottesville, Virginia and South Bend, IN. Both communities are classified as extremely hostile to abortion rights. In fact, 78% of Virginia women live in a county with no abortion clinic. Our clinic in Charlottesville continues our mission to offer quality care where it is needed the most.

Launched Whole Woman’s Health Alliance

In October, we launched our non-profit, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (WWHA). WWHA is part of a nationwide initiative to combat abortion stigma. Our Austin, Charlottesville, and South Bend clinics operate under WWHA. End abortion stigma and donate to Whole Woman’s Health Alliance (link) today.

Joined Clergy Members to Bless our Clinic in Fort Worth, TX

In November, we hosted clergy members and activists into our Fort Worth clinic for a blessing. We sang, prayed, and members of our staff had their hands blessed for the work they do to touch women’s lives. It was a beautiful afternoon.

Painted a Beautiful Mural Outside of our Clinic in Fort Worth, TX

If you’ve been to our clinic in McAllen, Texas, you know our building features an empowering mural painted on the side. We wanted to bring that same feeling and community connectivity to our clinic in Fort Worth. Artist Angelina Villalobos designed and painted a vibrant, empowering mural along the fence for all of our staff and patients to enjoy. It’s gorgeous!

We Continue to Expand and Welcomed Many New Staff Members

2017 brought change behind-the-scenes at Whole Woman’s Health as well. As we continue to expand into new states and communities, the need for a bigger staff made itself clear, and we welcomed many new faces to our teams in our clinics, headquarters, and our EmpowerLine. It’s refreshing to work with so many people who share our passion to provide quality abortion care. We are looking forward to continuing our work in 2018!