Working as an abortion care provider is not for the faint of heart. In order to be able to withstand the anti-choice ignorance, hatred, and threats that come with providing a legal medical service, you must have passion, commitment, and empathy. A good sense of humor helps, too.
On April 23, 2018, Northland Family Planning was awarded the National Abortion Federation’s 2018 George R. Tiller “Attitude is Everything” Standard of Excellence Award. Fellow NAF members, clinics, and physicians nominate candidates for this award. This award is given to a NAF member facility that emulates Dr. Tiller’s compassionate and excellent patient care, positive attitude, and staff cohesiveness in the face of relentless anti-choice extremism.
The staff of Northland Family Planning Centers fulfills this role day in and day out, providing above and beyond abortion care for patients and their families. We have faced vandalism, intimidation, bullying, and invasions of privacy. We have endured name-calling, our family members and neighbors have been targets of anti-abortion pressure, and we know everyday we could be the target of something even more heinous.
Why do we do this? Because all of us here, from the physicians to the patient staff, to the administrative staff, to the cleaning staff—every single one of us believes with all of our hearts that women deserve access to abortion care that is safe, respectful, empathetic, and dignified. We believe all pregnant persons have CHOICES. And all of us support every single decision—abortion, pregnancy, and adoption—without judgment or reservation.
NAF shared, “Renee and her staff have continually challenged themselves to be better at their work, and to expand the reach of their health centers.” NAF went on to recognize the threat of intimidation and violence that staff members have endured over the last year, “Yet the staff has stood up to these threats with enviable bravery, strength, and humor. All the while trying to shield their patients from the harassment and fear these attacks are intended to cause. These challenges have only strengthened the staff’s resolve and commitment to maintaining a patient-centered, compassionate environment inside the clinics as if there were no adversity outside.”
“I have the privilege of working with such an incredible, dedicated group of people. Every member of our team contributes to Northland in continuing to be an incubator for change in the world and in our field, and I want to thank each one of them for their role in creating magical spaces,” said Renee Chelian, founder of Northland Family Planning.
It feels nice to be seen and recognized for the hard work we do, and for our love and passion for this work.
We make the world a better place for women.