The History of Independent Clinics
In the 1970s, feminists and physicians started opening locally-owned abortion clinics in communities throughout the US, setting a new standard for patient-centered healthcare and laying the groundwork for affordable, exceptional outpatient specialty services within and beyond reproductive health centers. Today, independent clinics are centers of care in their communities, often providing a breadth of sexual and reproductive health services and working with their communities to ensure that services are available to those with the fewest resources. They are bold advocates in their states—often fighting for and ensuring the legal right to access abortion.
Over the last decade, abortion clinics have been closing at an alarming rate, with indie clinics most likely to be forced to close. Outright abortion bans, medically unnecessary restrictions, financial barriers, and anti-abortion extremism make it
challenging for many clinics to keep their doors open at all.
Additionally, independent providers face the same challenges that impact other small, community-based providers, including infrastructure, staffing, and legal costs. Combined with insurance reimbursement rates that are lower than the cost of providing care and increasing anti-abortion violence and extremism, it is becoming too expensive and/or logistically impossible for independent facilities to remain in business.
In every state, the challenges facing local clinics are urgent and substantial. But unlike other healthcare specialties, there is no safety net for independent abortion care providers. When clinics close, access to abortion care diminishes; people with low incomes, Black and Indigenous people and people of color, young people, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ people, and rural communities are disproportionately impacted.
When you support ACN, you are helping us provide independent providers the tools and resources to keep exceptional, patient-centered abortion care available in communities throughout the United States. Our work includes:
Offering Technical Assistance: ACN provides individualized clinic support to our members on issues relating to scenario planning, operations, communications, staff development, equitable workplace cultures, fundraising and more.
Supporting the resilience and sustainability of independent clinics and their staff: In partnership with volunteer therapists, social workers, and other healing practitioners, ACN offers tools and programming to preserve and promote mental health and wellness of all clinic staff.
Offering training, professional and leadership development for a future pipeline of expert abortion care providers and professionals. Training is offered in person, onsite, online and in ongoing virtual groups.
Increasing Indie clinic visibility in the public conversation. Elevating and amplifying the voices of independent provider from diverse backgrounds in the press, on social media and in public campaigns helps keep clinics open, shift abortion stigma, and helps people who need abortion care find providers they can trust.
Building connections between independent providers with one another and movement allies. ACN acts as a connector across clinics, physician’s offices, hospitals, lawyers, abortion funds, policy advocates and other allies to create space to dream and build a more equitable abortion ecosystem.F