Andrea L. Irwin

Andrea L. Irwin | Executive Director of Mabel Wadsworth Center

As executive director of Mabel Wadsworth Center, a feminist healthcare provider in Bangor, Andrea Irwin works to normalize abortion within the context of reproductive healthcare. Irwin has driven the center toward more inclusive policies that meet community needs; for example, the healthcare provider now treats men as well as women and provides gender-affirming hormone therapy for transgender people. In partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mabel Wadsworth Center sued the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to restore Medicaid coverage of abortion, a case that has not yet been settled. The center’s continued refusal of all state and federal funding allows it to provide all types of counseling and treatment for clients across the boundaries of age, gender, sexual orientation, ability, race, and ethnicity. “When people have choices to make decisions about their own healthcare, they have the ability to make choices in other areas of their life,” she says. “It’s really about empowerment.” Her grandmother had only an eighth-grade education, and Irwin, born into a greater wealth of options than her female predecessors, has attended law school. She has also had an abortion, and believes that sharing personal stories reduces the shame and stigma that stifles dialogue about pregnancy termination. “I want all girls and women to know that their lives have value and that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” she says.

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