This Teen Set Out On A Mission To Map Every Abortion Clinic In The U.S.

"I felt like it was time to tackle something that could make a larger impact on women nationwide."

Gone are the days when school projects consisted of book reports and paper-mâché volcanoes. 

As reported by Teen Vogue, Maddy Rasmussen, an 18-year-old girl from Des Moines, WA, was interning for Legal Voice, a progressive feminist organization that aims to use the power of the law to make change in the Northwest, when she got the idea to map out every abortion clinic in the United States as part of her senior project.



Rasmussen was inspired after realizing no such resource existed and information regarding where one could get an abortion was frequently outdated or difficult to come by. Now known as the Safe Place Project, Rasmussen compiled data from abortion clinics all over the country to create her interactive and informative map and corresponding website.

Rasmussen, who describes herself as "a strong women's rights activist," writes on the site, "I knew this was the perfect project for me and it was something that was really needed with all of the negative stigma around abortion." 

In addition to the map, the site breaks down abortion information and restrictions by state, making it a comprehensive destination for those in need of pertinent intel. "Finding an abortion clinic near you can be potentially hard depending on what state you live in, but identifying the state restrictions on abortion can also pose some challenges," Rasmussen explains on the site.

Take, for example, Oklahoma. Abortion providers in the notoriously anti-choice state are required to distribute documents compiled by the state and/or conduct state regulated counseling, and a patient seeking abortion must contact or visit their abortion provider (and receive counseling) before waiting 72 hours to obtain an abortion. Any minor in Oklahoma who is not legally emancipated must notify a parent at least 48 hours before having an abortion and receive consent from one parent prior to the procedure.

"My ultimate goal for this project was for it to be a safe place where women could find an abortion clinic near them and assess their state's restrictions against abortion," Rasmussen adds. 

As certain states work to curtail women's access to safe abortions, and with Planned Parenthood in jeopardy, this resource couldn't have come at a better time. A quick look at the map will tell you women living in the middle of the country face the toughest time finding an abortion clinic.

A view of Oklahoma in Rasmussen's map.
A view of Oklahoma in Rasmussen's map.

According to The Guttmacher Institute, the number of U.S. abortion-providing facilities declined 3 percent between 2011 and 2014. The site also notes the number of clinics providing abortion services declined 6 percent over this period, while ninety percent of all U.S. counties lacked a clinic in 2014.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Rasmussen mentioned today's political climate likely means access to an abortion clinic will get even tougher in the near future. 

"I felt like it was time to tackle something that could make a larger impact on women nationwide," she told the magazine. "I wanted my website to be free of bias and political jargon to make sure women would not be confused by language when searching for a clinic."

Cover image via Barbara Kalbfleisch / Shutterstock.

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