On Oct. 24 the Mabel Wadsworth Center in Bangor Celebrated its 35th birthday by hosting an open house open to the public. The center is located on Mount Hope Avenue in Bangor, Maine.
The center is a health clinic facility for both men and women, specializing in reproductive care. They are one of the few abortion providers in the state of Maine. The Mabel Wadsworth Center is one of only 14 health centers in the nation that are independently-run non-profit centers in the United States.
The health clinic is recognized state-wide for a variety of reasons, but especially for the fact that it became the first center in Maine to provide vasectomies. It is also a non-discriminative nonprofit. Some of the other services offered are cancer screenings, STD tests, gender-affirming hormone therapy and annual wellness exams.
The center’s mission statement is, “Providing a feminist model focused on sexual and reproductive health through education, advocacy, and clinical services.”
Mabel Sine Wadsworth, the center’s founder, was born in 1910 in Rochester, New York. Wadsworth moved to Maine following her college graduation at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, where she became a certified registered nurse.
Wadsworth believed that “until women have control of their reproductive life, they are not equal.”
Whilst in Maine, Wadsworth worked passionately to advocate for birth control access for all women, in particular, those in more remote locations in Maine.
In addition to her success in working with women in remote locations, Wadsworth was the first official president of the Family Planning Association of Maine and given the Maryann Hartman Award, and a Doctorate in Humane Letters from UMaine. In 1990, Mabel Wadsworth was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame.
The month of October also brought five new board members for the Mabel Wadsworth Center: Catherine Kurr, Kristen Sprauge, Ashley Wells, Nicole Blood and Susan Reisman.
There are many societal stigmas surrounding asking for help when it comes to reproductive health. In addition to their health services, the Mabel Wadsworth Center provides public outreach and education in an effort toward ending that stigma.
To reach the community, the center hosts many free events and activities for community members to partake in. The center hosts story-telling workshops to work toward ending stigmas and provides educational opportunities. They have also hosted discussions such as “Unmentionables: the importance of discussing human sexuality & reproduction.” All events are welcome to anyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
The center’s website also has a section called “Mable’s Voices” which is where clients have the ability to share their experiences to ensure that both women and men know that what they are going through is relatable. This resource is a valuable tool for those potentially considering utilizing the Mabel Wadsworth Center.
The Mabel Wadsworth Center has been a valuable resource to the University of Maine community since its opening in 1984.
The center welcomes volunteers and interns as a potential opportunity for UMaine students interested in expanding their knowledge of healthcare and reproductive care.