It's becoming increasingly difficult for patients to get care as more and more reproductive healthcare clinics are forced to shut down. Families are being forced to travel further, spend more, and take more time off work to navigate these closures. Some women even have to travel to other states for abortion care.
When clinics close, access to abortion care diminishes; people with low incomes, women of color, immigrants, and rural communities are disproportionately impacted.
Abortion Care Network (ACN) serves independent abortion care providers (Indies) which provide care to 3 of every 5 people in the US who have an abortion. Indies are essential to ensuring meaningful access to abortion care in the US.
"Post-Roe v. Wade, feminists and physicians started opening locally-owned abortion care clinics in communities throughout the US. This outpatient care model kept the cost of the procedure more affordable for patients while also providing safe, high-quality care. Since 2011, there has been an unprecedented number of anti-choice regulations designed to shut down clinics.
Combined with insurance reimbursement rates that are lower than the cost of providing care and increasing anti-choice violence and extremism, it is becoming too expensive and/or logistically impossible for independent facilities to remain in business. Over the last five years alone, nearly 28% of all independent clinics have been forced to close." - ACN.
ACN provides information on the closest independent clinic in different forms. This ensures patients have fast, reliable information available from the device that they are most familiar with. This isn't easy when you're working on a small budget with little technical expertise.
ACN decided to adopt proven and affordable software platforms like ArcGIS, Twilio and GlideApps to provide the information that patients desperately need. ACN designed their offerings for:
1. A solution that was easy to use with laptops as well as both regular and smart phones.
2. Searches could be made from a map or list, by keyword, address or based on proximity.
3. Allowed for fast, simple updates to information about clinics.
4. It had to scale and be able to handle a large number of inquiries.
5. The solution had to be dependable with little downtime as many patients depend on it.
An interactive map that is embedded in ACN's website which has a 'Search Near Me' option.
Primary user: On a PC with internet access
Technology: Esri ArcGIS
A text (SMS) chatbot that automatically responds to queries. A person has to only text in their zip code to get the details of the three nearest clinics. Text 'Hello' to 202-883-4620
Primary user: Regular cellular phone user with only SMS and may not have internet access
A 'mobile app' with that allows searches to be made on a map or from a list. The app is available as a link so users do not have to install a new app on their phone.
Primary user: Smart phone or PC user
Technology: Glide Apps (free)
"Imagine the near future where power is overtaken by the religious right under the guise of protection from Islamic terrorism. Imagine the future where the roles of the women reduced to those assigned to them in Old Testament - they are no longer allowed to read, work, own property, or handle money. Imagine that due to the pollution and man-created viruses, the fertility rates are so low that the few fertile women (the Handmaids) are now a communal property and are moved from house to house to be inseminated by men of power under the watchful eye of their wives.
As a modern woman, I am horrified by the notion that at some point in time I can become nothing more than a servant, a toy, a reproductive organ. The world created by Atwood seems too much of a stretch of imagination at a first glance, but if the current climate, how implausible this feminist dystopia really is?"
Review of the HandMaid's Tale in Good Reads
Forcing clinics to close and restricting access to them denies women control over their bodies. ACN helps independent clinics survive and uses innovative, affordable technology to better serve patients.
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