Progress Update - Mural Design Contest!

It was just a few months ago that we announced our Mural Design Project to transform the wall outside of Whole Woman's Health of McAllen into a message of peace, justice, and reproductive freedom! This weekend we were able to get a sneak peek at the mural progress and we must say things are looking great!

From the artist:

"This is about women's reproductive justice and it's about history and the struggle women have faced. I'm sure women can relate to that, whether they are on either end of the spectrum." 
- Mural artist Corina Carmona.

 

Before:

August 22nd:

Present:

We can't wait to unveil the final result! Stay tuned for more updates!

 

NEW Project Announcement - Mural Design Contest for Whole Woman's Health of McAllen!

Shift, along support from the Abortion Conversation Project, is proud to announce an exciting Mural Design Contest to Texas artists for an installation in the Rio Grande Valley! The selected artist will be awarded $1,000 and the opportunity to have the work featured in numerous media outlets across the country. 

Mural Concept

We are looking for artists to create a mural design that embodies the values and messages critical to women's empowerment and reproductive freedom. Design must contain concepts of: unity, peace, justice, diversity, and gender equality and feminism. Bilingual and bicultural messages are not only welcomed, but preferred. 

We want designs to convey a welcoming and inviting feel- one that will comfort women who come to the clinic and remind them of love and acceptance. Similarly, we want to send the message to members of the community: “When you come here, bring only love.” 

Mural designs must not be overtly political, and word use is limited to 10 words total. 

Mural Site

The winner of the mural design contest will install the piece on the east side of the Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen building, which is on the corner of Houston Ave and Main St. in downtown McAllen. Mural wall is facing Houston Ave and is adjacent to City Hall.

Whole Woman’s Health’s philosophy is that each woman must be at the center of her own healthcare decisions. Whole Woman’s Health has shifted many rigid opinions and stereotypes in their 12 years of compassionate abortion care practice and has a strong commitment to embracing what each woman feels during her abortion experience. They have provided depth and complexity to conversations around abortion and have a proven track record for providing holistic and personalized care. 

Submission Details

Submissions are due by Friday, July 10th. 
Winner to be chosen by jury and announced Friday, July 24th. 

Please submit your design in a JPEG or PDF file directly to amanda@shiftstigma.org. Links to portfolios also OK. 

"Texas Abortion Provider Launches Program to ‘Shift’ Abortion Stigma." RH Reality Check sits down with Amy Hagstrom Miller and Amanda Williams to learn more about Shift!

by Andrea Grimes, Senior Political Reporter, RH Reality Check | May 27, 2015 - 5:50 pm

Amy Hagstrom Miller and Amanda Williams at ChoiceWorks speak about their vision for their new nonprofit Shift, why they’ve chosen to launch in Texas, and what the end of abortion stigma might look like in red states. (Courtesy of Amy Hagstrom Miller and Amanda Williams)

I drive by what used to be Whole Woman’s Health’s flagship abortion clinic here in Austin all the time. Every time I pass by, I think of how it never really felt like a doctor’s office inside. Warm, purple walls. Inspirational quotes painted inside counseling and exam rooms. A recovery room filled with cushy recliners. More like a retreat, or maybe a sanctuary.

But there’s been a “For Rent” sign outside for months, ever since HB 2, the 2013 omnibus anti-abortion law, forced it and dozens of other providers to shutter last year.

I hated seeing that “For Rent” sign. And now I’m pleased to report that it’s gone. Instead, Austin Whole Woman’s Health has been reincarnated as an organizing and co-working space called ChoiceWorks, the operational headquarters of a new nonprofit from Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller:Shift.

Shift, according to Hagstrom Miller, is a group “working to strategically shift the stigma around abortion in our culture,” and “committed to fostering open and honest conversations, lifting up all communities, and advocating for reproductive freedom.”

I sat down with Hagstrom Miller and Shift Program Manager Amanda Williams at ChoiceWorks to talk more about their vision for Shift, why they’ve chosen to launch in Texas, and what the end of abortion stigma might look like in red states.

RH Reality Check: Big question first: What is Shift? How’s it related to Whole Woman’s Health?

AHM: Whole Woman’s Health has always been involved in the advocacy and education realm, with a really strong commitment to having open and honest conversations about abortion in the context of the wider range of reproductive rights and justice issues and a human rights framework. People don’t just experience abortion as a medical procedure. And they don’t just experience it as a civil right, either. In the direct service realm, the conversation about abortion has some ambiguity around it. So how do we get that nuance into the public policy and culture change sphere?

I noticed years and years ago that the only people talking about abortion in public were the people who were against it. We would have people in our clinics who would say, “Not only did I have a great abortion experience, but this is the best health-care experience I’ve ever had. But it’s at an abortion clinic.” And they would articulate: “I feel so empowered, I made the right choice, I feel affirmed.” So they have this great, empowering experience and they walk out the door and there’s just silence on the issue. Nobody’s talking about abortion as though it’s a good in our society, or as though good women would have an abortion. I had this banner outside Whole Woman’s Health for years that said, “Good women have abortions.” People flipped out.

Inside our clinics, we talk to people and say, you know, there’s no one right way to have an abortion. People say, “Hey, can I see my fetus?” And we’re like, sure. They say, “I wanna baptize it.” Sure. Let’s do it. Let’s figure it out.

And so Shift is trying to take that sort of experience we have in the service out into the public sphere where it’s really needed.

RHRC: Why a nonprofit? Why now?

AHM: We’ve always had a 501(c)(3) ever since we opened—that was an abortion fund, before a lot of abortion funds existed. But then a couple of years ago, in the middle of the 2013 legislative session, we started to have people really interested in how to help my voice and Whole Woman’s voice remain on the scene.

The voice that we’re bringing is very unique: We’re speaking on behalf of providers, talking about how real people experience abortion as a medical service but also as a cultural experience. How can our voice remain in that conversation around reproductive rights? It’s very different than the researcher voice or the patient storytelling stuff that Advocates for Youth or Sea Change is doing, and it’s different from the family planning folks who sometimes avoid talking about abortion.

From that idea grew a much stronger foundation than our previous 501(c)(3) work. We had support from multiple donors saying, “We’d like to see you do crisis mitigation,” “We want your clinics to be able to be open,” and “We want to see providers be able to continue to be a voice and continue to influence policy stuff.” Like: If there’s an amendment about to be introduced by the Democrats, let’s make sure it actually helps. Or, let’s sit with [legislators] and say: This is what an ambulatory surgical center does, this is what the regulation already is.

We see ourselves in a place to be able to have a 501(c)(3) with much more funding and structure to be able to do longstanding culture change work and movement building. Informing some of the policies. Helping us figure out what proactive policy would look like.

"Real Talk on Abortion." Amy Hagstrom Miller Op-Ed Featured on Truth-Out.org

In the summer of 2013, the Texas legislature met not once, but twice, in special sessions, to pass an extreme omnibus abortion bill meant to shutter most of the abortion clinics in the state. The first special session failed not because the majority of legislators planned to oppose the bill, but because Texan advocates literally shouted them down. The room was too loud for the lawmakers to properly cast their votes before time expired.

A few weeks later, the lawmakers reconvened to pass the same bill. Once they signed it into law, they thought they could silence us. Little did they realize they are only making us louder.