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  1. Join our Board of Directors!

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    Mabel Wadsworth Center (“Mabel’s”), an independent, feminist healthcare provider based in Bangor, Maine, is seeking applications for the Board of Directors.  During this critical time for abortion access and transgender healthcare, it is important that we have a dynamic group of folks to help ensure Mabel’s vitality as we serve our community. The Board of Directors works to strengthen and promote our mission and values, ensure financial stability and growth, and strategically plan for Mabel’s future. Ours is a three pronged mission “to provide healthcare using a feminist model focused on sexual and reproductive health through education, advocacy, and clinical services.”  You can learn more about us at mabelwadsworth.org.

    If you are interested in joining Mabel’s board, please respond to the four questions below. We are committed to inclusion and accessibility for all. We offer many ways to answer the application questions. Written, video and audio answers may be emailed to mabelbod@gmail.com. If you would like to speak with a board member, that can also be arranged by emailing the address above. Please remember to include your name, town you live in, telephone number, and preferred method of contact.  A general description of board responsibilities can be found HERE

    Mabel’s is wholly engaged in the ongoing fight for reproductive justice, including dismantling white supremacy and oppressive systems within the nonprofit and health care industries where we operate. We welcome applicants of all genders & backgrounds, especially first-time Board of Directors members. If you have experience in anti-oppressive work, especially reproductive justice and abortion advocacy, anti-racism, and transgender inclusion, we hope you will share that with us. 

    Thank you for your consideration!

    1. Please describe your interest in serving Mabel’s. Discuss your understanding of our programs, values, and mission, particularly as they relate to anti-oppressive work.
    2. There are a variety of ways to support Mabel’s work. What specifically interests you about board service? 
    3. What relevant experiences or skills might you bring to this role? What relationships (with organizations, communities, or key stakeholders) would you bring to this position? 
    4. What is important for us to know about you as we consider your application? We’d love to hear about any characteristics, identities, affinities, or lived experiences you would like to share with us that inform your understanding of the world or might add to our shared approach to leadership. 

     

  2. Rally Remarks by Aspen Ruhlin (they,them)

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    I want to thank everyone for being here with us today to rally and fight for abortion access. While the looming loss of Roe is devastating, it is important to remember that Roe was never enough. Roe is the floor, and it is a rickety floor that has failed many people. Marginalized people especially–poor people, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, trans people, and people in rural communities–have fallen through the cracks of the protections to abortion provided by Roe. When it comes to abortion access and Reproductive Justice as a whole, we deserve a house where people have stability, protection, and support to make decisions around reproductive health.

    SisterSong Women of Color Collective defines the Reproductive Justice framework as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. Abortion access is one vital piece of that. We do not have Reproductive Justice when children are unjustly removed from loving homes by a foster system built on white supremacy. We do not have Reproductive Justice when the nearest abortion clinic is hours away and you can’t get a ride. We do not have Reproductive Justice when Black women are three times as likely to die in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum as white women because of racism at the hands of healthcare providers that are supposed to be caring for them. We do not have Reproductive Justice when trans people like myself are excluded from conversations around pregnancy, abortion, and birth. We certainly do not have Reproductive Justice when there is a formula shortage and no support for people to feed the babies they have.

    I want to talk about trans people and abortions. Trans people, binary and nonbinary alike, have abortions. We also continue pregnancies and parent. Framing abortion access and everything around pregnancy and birth as only being for women is both inaccurate and harmful. We lose nothing by being inclusive, and in fact gain so much by honestly representing these issues. I have had people argue with me, “But Aspen, the anti-abortion people are targeting women, that’s why we need to focus on only cis women!” I have a couple problems with this. People who oppose abortion access aren’t fine with trans people having abortions, they just don’t see us as we are. They see people who can get pregnant as women. Why would you want to join them in their transphobia? Further, why would you let those who do not see pregnant people as people decide how you talk about abortion? Whether or not anti-abortion politicians consider the impact of abortion bans and barriers on trans people, we are still impacted, and we deserve to be a part of the conversation as people who have abortions.

    You will notice that I do not call people who oppose abortion access “pro life.” This is because it is a misnomer. You can not be pro-life while devaluing the lives of pregnant people and people who have, had, and will have abortions. People who are pregnant are not walking incubators. They are people. Regardless of whether they are terminating or continuing a pregnancy, they deserve autonomy and control over their bodies. If you do not support abortion access, then you do not see pregnant people as people. In the words of Viva Ruiz of Thank God for Abortion, “We are already the miracle of life.”

    We have to fight abortion stigma. No more shaming people who have abortions. No more shaming people who have multiple abortions. No more shaming people for not doing what you would do to prevent pregnancy. When we’re talking about abortion, we need to say abortion. It’s not a bad word, because it’s not a bad thing. Abortions are normal, essential healthcare.

    Speaking of stigma, we have to stop insisting that no one is pro abortion. I am pro abortion! I am pro abortion the same way I am pro home birth, pro hospital birth, pro gender-affirming care, pro thyroidectomy, and pro insulin. I am pro people getting the healthcare they need.

    We need to guarantee access to abortion for everyone who needs it without barriers. We need to challenge any and everyone who opposes abortion access. Look at their actions, not just their words, and make them uncomfortable. We need to challenge ourselves to grow and learn. We need to help people get to clinics to get the care they need, or support them in accessing safe self-managed abortion with medication abortion if that is what they need. 

    Abortion is our right. Let’s act like it.

  3. Hot Girl Summer Fundraiser and Playlist

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    by: Eva Weitman

    Eva Weitman is a former Mabel Wadsworth Center employee and current supporter. 

    A rollercoaster of a year has left me stronger than ever. A divorce, an abusive relationship, the unexpected death of my cat… all left me feeling hopeless. What I was looking for was someone nice I could find a connection with. What I have learned is that without accountability and regular communication, connection can be easily lost.  (Re: “Everybody Business” by Kehlani).

    In the hopes of trying something completely new and different, I reached out to an old friend who has always been sweet. I knew he was independent and driven and that’s what I see in myself. The connection was there. But before we even had intercourse, he asked to be “monogamous” or “exclusive”, or whatever word you want to use. I liked him and coming from my past monogamous relationships, that’s all I knew. I felt like we were on the same page.

    But then I found myself, yet again, compromising myself for a cisman. Sitting and waiting for his attention, waiting on his timeline. I felt that I was not allowed to speak to other romantic interests because loyalty is important to me. And as we continued to sleep together the communication continued to diminish. The sex was good, but with the absence of communication, assumptions and expectations are all that can be left for judgement. (Re: “20 Something” by SZA).

    I made time to talk, where we decided we wanted different things. We broke things off a week before a wedding we were going to attend together. I guess going to a wedding is a “big step” for some, but others? Not so much.

    During that week, we still had some intimate encounters because I felt connected again once we communicated. We decided we didn’t need to be exclusive to still enjoy each other’s company. Then, a day before the wedding, I was personally asked by the bride to attend. She has been supportive in my rough patch, and I was honored to still be included. So I went alone. To find him there… with another date, unbeknownst to me. (Re: “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo).

    Whatever the circumstances that brought him to make that decision, I am not a robot. Surprise, surprise, I was really hurt and took it personally. So, what does a scorned woman do when she feels disrespected? Find a hot sax player on the coast of Maine to have a steamy night or two with.

    That did happen, and that was fun, but my hurt feelings did not go away. Sex does not equal feeling heard or valid. I still hadn’t talked to this person I spent months talking to daily. I felt silenced. So in response, I made a pointed, jaded, spited Instagram post in the name of sexual liberation for attention (the same reason anyone uses social media) and to my amazement, in less than a week, I raised almost $1,000 for my local independent abortion clinic. (Re: “Nightmare” by Halsey).

    After the wedding, I was left feeling like a sexual object. I felt that was all I was seen for by this person I truly cared for on a deep level. I am completely comfortable with casual sex if there is communication. If you can make time to have sex, you can make time to talk. Both parties needs and expectations must be discussed. Advocate for yourself and ask if you feel your needs are being met. If not, do not compromise yourself. Validation starts from within. Sex can be good, but I have learned the best sex is when you feel most connected to yourself. You deserve the same effort you put in to be returned. (Re: “Say You’ll Be There” by Spice Girls).

    I feel my faith in humankind has been restored due to the love and support I have received for my fundraiser.

    From this experience, I have strengthened my boundaries and communication skills, as well as raised close to $1,000, more than the cost to cover the termination of an unwanted pregnancy, but I also lost a friend. I have learned that relationships can start with a strong foundation for communication, but without accountability and continuation of said communication, it doesn’t mean anything in the long run. No love is wasted and once again, I have gained strength from my heartache. (Re: “Thank You, Next” by Ariana Grande).

    If you have ever found yourself in a similar confusing place while dating, check out this playlist of empowering, unapologetic artists that helped me get through it: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5UYE2SdSo7GWbn8IFZEVgL?si=2c32cefc9ae04190

     

  4. Leadership Announcement

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    June 3, 2021

    Leadership Announcement from Board President, Aislinn Canarr (she, her):

    It is with a heart full of both sadness and joy that I share the news that Andrea Irwin will be stepping down as Executive Director of Mabel Wadsworth Center after six years of leadership. Andrea is the second-ever Executive Director in our 37-year history of providing exceptional client-centered reproductive and sexual health care, and educating and advocating for reproductive health, rights, and justice.

    Under her leadership, the Center invested in an ambitious three-year strategic plan that has guided us through significant change and new opportunities. Under her visioning and with the support of the board of directors and staff leadership team, Andrea has led the Center to a place of stability and growth.

    Under Andrea’s leadership, the Center:

    • Reckoned with its feminist identity and legacy to reimagine a more gender inclusive mission in alignment with our values, and now welcomes people of all genders.
    • Expanded clinical services to become the region’s largest provider for trans clients; and to offer a more holistic and comprehensive model of care for all, including primary care, mental health counseling, and client advocate services to help clients to enroll in health coverage and overcome other barriers to care.
    • Became a nationally known and respected leader in providing and advocating for trans-inclusive abortion care and other reproductive healthcare.
    • Prioritized abortion justice and relentlessly advocated for dismantling the discriminatory and racist Hyde Amendment and other restrictions that harm people who need abortion care; acted as lead plaintiff in ACLU lawsuit to restore state Medicaid coverage of abortion.
    • Spoke loudly and unapologetically about abortion in unexpected forums by lifting the voices of people who have abortions.
    • Strengthened Mainers’ access to abortion care by championing the enactment of new state laws to require MaineCare coverage of abortion care, and to allow nurse practitioners to provide abortion care, demonstrably increasing access for people struggling to make ends meet and in rural areas.

    Today Mabel’s is a nationally recognized feminist health center known for our exceptional abortion care, trans care, and other essential health services. As we have become a leading provider for LGBTQ+ care in Maine, Andrea’s commitment to social justice and centering the experiences of folks living at the margins, precipitated our work to prioritize racial justice and equity. While it has been a time full of stress and challenge, her strategic thinking, vision, and pragmatic base saw the Center not only stay open to serve clients during a pandemic, but thrive as well. Her focus has always been on the community we serve, and the care of the staff that serve them. I and the Center will miss Andrea’s enthusiasm, care, and curiosity. I am grateful that I got a chance to work closely with her as Board President.

    Andrea’s last day with the Center will be June 18. After informing the Board of this news last month, we have worked closely with her to create an initial transition plan to share with our community. The Board has formed an experienced transition team and intends to hire an external interim Executive Director before hiring the Center’s next Executive Director. Kate Waning (she/her), the Center’s current Director of Finance and Operations, will become Acting Director upon Andrea’s departure, before an interim director is selected.

    Andrea leaves the Center in an excellent position to be intentional and thoughtful in our approach in hiring our next Executive Director. We will be reflecting on equity in hiring and attracting great talent. Our focus will be leadership based in feminist and racially equitable models in order to better serve our clients and community.

    Andrea will be missed dearly, but I am also excited for her next chapter and our ongoing partnership with her as a valued member of our community.

    What a time.  To pause.  To reflect.  To prioritize our work.  To grow in opportunity.

    Thank you all for you do to support the Center. Please contact me directly with questions or concerns at mabelbod@gmail.com.

     

    Message from Andrea:

    Leading Mabel Wadsworth Center for the past six years has been a privilege for which I am profoundly grateful. I am especially grateful to current board president Aislinn Canarr and past president Suzanne Gordon, and the entire board, for their strong leadership and commitment to the Center. I have also truly enjoyed working with such an incredible team of staff and volunteers, who meet every challenge with courage, grace, and resilience.

    My pride in this team and our work to support our clients with compassion, and to impact our broader community, is immense. I am especially proud of our work to celebrate the experiences of people who have abortions, and to build trust and strengthen relationships within the trans community. Mabel’s has always been on the frontlines, acting boldly and with great clarity of vision and values, a legacy that will undoubtedly continue.

    While I am leaving the Executive Director role, I remain deeply committed to the movement for reproductive health, rights, and justice, and look forward to continuing to be a part of Mabel’s vibrant, diverse, and powerful community. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to steward this dynamic organization for six years!

     

  5. Interview with a Trans Educator Part 3

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    Join Cat and Aspen for the final installment of their three-part adventure in exploring gender.