Founded in 1992, Provide (formerly the Abortion Access Project) has a rich legacy of activism, training, advocacy, and organizing. While our strategies and our reach have expanded over time, the commitment of our founders remains today – to increase access to abortion for all women.
In the early 1990s, abortion politics in the United States had taken a decidedly ugly turn. Abortion providers were leaving the field in large numbers, and no new generation was stepping up to fill the resulting gap in services, as fewer medical training programs required – or even offered – clinical abortion instruction. In this extremely hostile climate, in the summer of 1992, a group of long-time advocates for social justice in Boston – Susan Yanow, Marlene Gerber Fried, and Judy Norsigian – created the Abortion Access Project (now Provide) to protect and enhance women’s ability to exercise their legal right to safe abortion.
Initially a state-level organization, Provide developed and conducted abortion trainings for nurses and physicians, working with national and state partners and making a specific and targeted investment in Advanced Practice Clinicians (APCs). As a result of this work, APCs now provide abortions in 15 states, up from only two states when we began.
In addition to our work with APC’s, Provide also began working, early on, to enhance abortion education for nursing students through our ROE Consortium. Still active today, ROE Consortium leaders have published 23 articles on abortion care in peer-reviewed literature. Provide was also one of the organizations that supported the founding of Nursing Students for Choice.
Provide has also worked to increase the number of physicians trained to provide abortions. Since 2001, Provide has identified, helped to train, and supported over 150 primary care clinicians to become trained in abortion care. Additionally, through our Miscarriage Management Training Initiative (MM-TI), 15 sites, are now providing office-based uterine evacuation using manual vacuum aspiration and/or medication.
In 2007, recognizing the growing disparities in access, Provide honed our work to increasing abortion access in some of the more difficult places in the US – rural communities and Southern and Midwestern states. In an effort to bring attention to the state of abortion in rural communities, Provide surveyed rural clinicians and published the 2009 report on the attitudes of rural clinicians regarding abortion. We have also expanded our work in these areas, beyond abortion provision training. Recognizing the number of barriers abortion providers in these regions face, Provide began implementing a strategy to train health and social service providers to offer their patients/clients abortion care referrals and all options counseling. In just two years of work, we have connected with 403 health and social service providers in three Southern states.