Abortion care in Kansas and Oklahoma may be facing an uncertain future, but we’re ready to meet the challenge. Acting co-executive directors, Rebecca Tong and Schaunta James-Boyd, are emphasizing a recommitment to the core values of Trust Women: dedication to authentic diversity, community engagement and comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortions. We are grateful for the previous leadership of founder Julie Burkhart. Her decades of service to Trust Women and the movement for abortion rights has brought this organization to the forefront of reproductive health care, and we wish her well.
“We’re very excited to be in this moment,” says Ms. Tong, who previously served as Development Director at Trust Women for seven years. “There are a lot of wonderfully diverse abortion organizations working across the country right now, making important connections between abortion and poverty, education, racism and more, and we’re excited to be able to be a part of that conversation--to learn and to add our unique perspective from the heart of the country.”
Ms. James-Boyd brings extensive experience as the former executive director of the E.C. Tyree Health Clinic that served northeast Wichita residents for 19 years. “Abortion care is health care, and it is community care,” she says. “Our clinics are the heart of Trust Women, and it’s no surprise that we see such a wide spectrum of the community because reproductive health care is important for everybody, period.”
The political environment in Kansas and Oklahoma is often at odds with cultural views that have been trending more in favor of legalized abortions over the past few decades. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that nearly six-in-ten Americans support legal abortions in all or most cases. Despite this, access to abortion care is more difficult than ever, especially in rural areas of the country--those very areas that Trust Women clinics serve.
“Our core mission has not changed,” says Ms. Tong, “We will continue to fight to expand access to abortion care, and to offer our unique perspective as an abortion provider in areas of the country that are exceptionally under-resourced.”
“Going forward, our commitment is to the health of our staff, our communities and our movement,” says Ms. James-Boyd. “Many people brought us to where we are today, and we are honored to carry that legacy forward.”