Women deserve our services no matter who is in the White House.
I am honored to continue to hear from organizations around the country regarding their work and plans for the new year. A huge thank you to Julie A. Burkhart, founder and CEO of Trust Women Foundation, for taking time to talk more about the critical services they provide to women in Kansas and, now, Oklahoma.
Why is it critical to serve the population you support in the state where you are?
Women in underserved areas of the Midwest and South need and deserve access to reproductive health care. Access should not depend on where you live or be denied because you live in a politically hostile part of the country. Studies show that women who live in more politically hostile area have poorer health outcomes. Trust Women opens clinics that provide abortion care in underserved communities so that all women can make their own decisions about their health care.
The assassination of my boss and mentor, Dr. George Tiller, in 2009 left Wichita, Kansas, without an abortion provider. Wichita became the largest metropolitan area in the country without one. I couldn’t let that stand. Trust Women opened Trust Women South Wind Women’s Center in 2013. When we opened in Oklahoma City in 2016, we became the first new abortion-providing facility in that state in more than 40 years.
What will Trust Women’s main focus(es) be in 2017?
Despite a challenging political landscape, Trust Women will continue to lean in to abortion care in 2017. Women deserve our services no matter who is in the White House. We will continue to fight against anti-choice legislation that seeks to punish women; we will also work to serve more women than ever before.
While you struggle against serious challenges in a red state, what is something positive that those of us outside of Kansas should know about the state or its people?
Kansans are resilient and independent. As a free state, we have a rich history of doing what’s right. It is probably unknown that the Kansas Legislature is more moderate this year. A majority of the right-wing candidates who were up for election in the Kansas primary were defeated. Additionally, Democrats picked up 13 seats in the State House. The elections left the state legislature more moderate and balanced than it has been during the past seven years.
Special thanks to Deb Gruver, Director of Communications at Trust Women, for coordinating this interview.