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Mother to a movement | WORLD

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MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday January 5th.

You listen to WORLD radio and we are very happy about that! Good morning. I am Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up is The World and Everything in It: The mother of the pro-life movement in Mississippi.

Before we introduce you to her, a word of caution. The person you will meet is a former abortion professional and you will hear about a difficult reckoning in their life that led them from abortion and the right to life. The description may be a bit long for younger listeners, so pause and come back later.

But at the same time we think that you should carefully consider what she has to say in this story.

REICHARD: On December 1st, the Supreme Court heard an abortion case that many believe could turn Roe against Wade.

This case is from Mississippi. It is the women’s health organization Dobbs v. Jackson. A state health department against an abortion company.

Today WORLD Senior Correspondent Kim Henderson is taking us to this state to meet a woman who once performed abortions and now hopes the court will give the state the freedom to ban them.

Here is her story.

AUDIO: [NEWS REPORT]

KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: The Dobbs case got a lot of attention last year, but it began in 2018 with routine bill presented to the Mississippi Parliament – a law that would restrict abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Here’s what wasn’t really in the news: A number of bipartisan lawmakers approved the bill. And their pro-life members expected it to be.

So what explains the pro-life lean of a state?

In Mississippi, many say the pro-life climate can be traced back to an OB who spawned the movement. Four decades ago.

Sitting across from Beverly McMillan, she can hardly imagine that she is involved in some bad, fatal business. She is 79. Speaking softly. Tucked her white hair behind her ears and wore pearl studs. But the truth is that McMillan helped run Mississippi’s first abortion facility.

MCMILLAN: I went a night or two a week after my practice ended doing procedures.

That was in the mid-1970s. The obstetrician gave birth to babies during the day, then walked across town to the moonlight and ended the babies’ lives with a suction machine.

But the agnostic abortionist sought and eventually found God.

MCMILLAN: I pulled into the doctor’s parking lot at the Baptist Hospital and said, “Okay, I’m giving up,” and God in His mercy, it just took one crack to get in. That was the beginning of my coming out of the abortion business.

However, their turnaround did not happen immediately. McMillan was a new Christian and was trying to figure things out. One night she was performing an abortion and stood over a sink to count the required body parts. Sitting alone was one arm with an exposed biceps muscle. She thought of her youngest son.

MCMILLAN: He went around showing me his muscles. “Look at my muscle. Look at that. “And I – just this wave of sadness came over me. I thought,” You know what I’m doing? You know, five minutes ago this little boy was just beautiful. “

Finally McMillan took on a new coat. She became widely known as a pro-life medical professional and her practice flourished.

She went on to serve as president of Mississippi Pro-Life. She spoke to churches and legislators.

Here she can be seen on a radio show with host Bob Sheppard in 1988.

HOST: Dr. McMillan, we just want you to lay a foundation for what you want to share with us this morning from your extensive knowledge of abortion.
MCMILLAN: Well, my extensive knowledge of abortion is very personal, as you know, Bob. In 1975 I brought abortion to Mississippi …

Even Oprah Winfrey wanted the abortion activist on her show. Twice.

AUDIO: [OPRAH SHOW]

That was the 1980s. Pro-life work gained momentum, and McMillan encouraged Mississippians to get involved. They did. The state’s first abortion law, a parental consent requirement, was passed in 1986. A steady stream of lobbying resulted in “closed” signs on six abortion facilities and a 70 percent decrease in abortions in the state.

And 35 years later, the work also led to the Dobbs case.

MCMILLAN: Let’s get back to the states, back to the legislators, who are accountable to the electorate so that the will of the people can be implemented. And I hope that the will of the people applies to life.

McMillan has some battle scars. She and her husband faced a difficult lawsuit from Planned Parenthood. She also knows what it is like to spend a night in jail.

Officials once arrested McMillan for crossing a line on a sidewalk outside an abortion center. She remembers crying a lot while waiting for her to be fingerprinted. Then she realized it was almost Easter. She realized what day it was.

MCMILLAN: And I just thought, “Oh Lord, what happened to you on Maundy Thursday. They were arrested. They are just trying to embarrass and intimidate me.

But McMillan’s influence was also subtle, even private at times. Over the decades, young women facing crisis pregnancies have known they are welcome in their practice. She told them all the same thing.

MCMILLAN: We’re here to help. We can go with you. I can’t fix your social problems, but I can do some big ones for you. I can give you good prenatal care …

Some of these girls took up residence in the McMillan’s home. The retired OB becomes emotional when she describes a young mother and young son.

MCMILLAN: We took her on vacation and everyone with us. So you really were part of our family. And when he was eight or nine years old, his mother got cancer and died – died in our house. And he was adopted by a family in our church. He’s in high school now and he’s doing great. It’s just great. You know, that’s something very special.

McMillan says the fight for life is a fight for dignity, but it goes beyond babies.

MCMILLAN: People involved in abortion – providers, whether they are nurses or office workers or abortion doctors – also have intrinsic dignity. You are not the enemy. They are doing the enemy’s work whether they are aware of it or not.

McMillan also acknowledges the deep wounds mothers suffer after abortions. Even fathers who deal with the fact that they didn’t protect the women in their lives and their babies.

MCMILLAN: And then you know the mothers and friends and brothers and sisters who encouraged someone to have an abortion. There are many wounded nearby. So we need a great source of compassion for all, all of the wounded.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in Jackson, Mississippi.

WORLD radio transcripts are being produced in a hurry. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative recording of the WORLD radio program is the audio recording.

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Women’s Health

‘An amazing resource’ | Breast and GYN Health Project helps those with cervical and other gynecologic cancers – Times-Standard

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Genie Brady spent part of her vacation in an emergency room in May 2018. Returning home to Eureka, she checked in with her doctor, then a gynecologist.

Shortly thereafter, Brady, now 41, was diagnosed with stage 1A or early stages cervical cancer.

“It was a big shock,” said Brady, who works for a mortgage loan solutions company and has an interest in Humboldt Roller Derby. “…I had moved here for school, so I didn’t have my family[here]. The support system I had was friends I had accumulated through school, roller derby and work. It wasn’t something I could talk to anyone about right away. I had just gone through a cancer situation with my surrogate who died from it and even when you catch it early there are all these feelings.”

Looking for support, Brady turned to the internet and found the Breast and GYN Health Project (BGHP), a local nonprofit that serves as a community resource for support and education for those dealing with breast or gynecologic cancer issues.

“I googled and looked for a support group and they were the first to come up, so I reached out and got all their glorious benefits,” Brady said.

The project’s services, which are offered at no cost, include a patient navigation program, support groups, information specialists, volunteers, an extensive resource library, and more.

“The (Breast and GYN Health) Project helps people with breast or gynecology cancer by providing a lot of education. We can help explain things your doctors might tell you. We can help them come up with questions they might want to ask,” said Madelin Amir, Director of Customer Services. “We help them before, during and after diagnosis and treatment.

“With cervical cancer,” Amir said, “they sometimes need special treatment from a gynecologic oncologist. If they or local healthcare providers need help locating them, BGHP can help. We also have a support group for people with any type of gynecological cancer. Although they may have different types of cancer, women with these types of cancer usually have common experiences.”

Rose Gale-Zoellick, executive director of the Breast and GYN Health Project added, “Although we do not provide medical care at our facility, clients will find the education that both Dr. Mary Meengs (Medical Advisor) and Madelin Amir, very helpful. Madelin is a Registered Female Health Nurse. Her experience and training is useful in educating and supporting people living with gynecologic cancer.

Rose Gale-Zoellick is executive director of the nonprofit Breast and GYN Health Project. (Courtesy of BGHP)

“Although cancer diagnosis and treatment have improved significantly over the years, the social and emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis has not changed significantly over the past 25 years. The statistics that every eighth woman will develop breast cancer in her lifetime have not changed either. Local cancer patients still have a great need for the cancer support services that the BGHP offers,” said Gale-Zoellick.

In addition to receiving a special binder to keep her medical records and appointments in order, Brady said BGHP helped her find financial support resources for transportation and housing when she went to her doctor’s appointments in Santa Rosa.

“The biggest thing for me is (however) the self-help group. While you’re in the middle of it, it’s just a decision, decision, decision — and when you get past that, you have to deal with all the losses and gains — there’s still a way to go,” said Brady, who attends the support group for young women and the gynecologic cancer support group.

“Being able to laugh and cry and bitch and feel heard and to be a part of others who have been on this journey, even though it may not be quite the same, it’s (so) helpful,” said Brady. “…There’s a bit of different information in both groups, but both are amazing groups of women. It’s such a gem, an amazing resource. I’m so glad it’s here.”

Brady – whose treatment included a total hysterectomy – says she is now a “cancer survivor” who wants to make sure the breast and GYN health project is available to those who need it.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the people at BGHP are hoping to be educated about this less common type of gynecologic cancer.

“Endometrium, which is the same as uterus, is the most common gynecological cancer, and next comes the type of cancers that are grouped together and called ovarian cancer…and then below that would be cervical cancer,” said Dr. Mary Meengs. Medical advisor to the BGHP and breast cancer survivor.

The American Cancer Society – https://www.cancer.org – estimates that there will be more than 14,400 new cases of invasive cervical cancer in 2021. (Cervical progenitors are detected far more frequently than invasive cervical cancer, she noted.) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are two screening tests that can help prevent or detect cervical cancer early: the Pap smear (Pap test ) and the human papillomavirus (HPV) test. Getting the HPV vaccine—and not smoking—can also help prevent cervical cancer.

“These two things (Pap smear and HPV vaccine) in both early detection and prevention are so dramatic,” said Meengs, who co-chairs the Breast Cancer Support Group and the Advanced Disease Support Group. “…Work with your provider and see when a Pap smear and/or HPV test is due.”

Amir added: “It is really important that women have routine Pap tests and if they have an abnormal Pap test that they are followed up as recommended. It’s not uncommon for women to sometimes feel embarrassed when they haven’t had pap for a long time. Don’t be afraid to get checked out, even if it’s been a long time. Life gets in the way and we do our best. I encourage women to follow up as recommended if they have an abnormal Pap test. Ultimately, early treatment can help save your life. If you find you have gynecological cancer, the BGHP is here to support you. You don’t have to do this alone.”

The Breast and GYN Health Project helped 335 people in 2021. Eight of those people had cervical cancer, Gale-Zoellick said.

“In 2020, BGHP helped four people with cervical cancer,” she said. “We believe the increase is due to local ob-gyn and ob-gyn offices learning about our services and making recommendations, not because more women are developing cervical cancer.”

For more information on the Breast and GYN Health Project, visit https://bghp.org or call 707-825-8345. The BGHP office is located at 987 Eighth St. in Arcata.

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Women’s Health

For Your Health for Jan. 17, 2022 | Journal-news

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SCH expands free community COVID-19 testing

MARTINSBURG — Shenandoah Community Health is expanding its free COVID-19 community testing hours. The PCR test is now available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm without an appointment or order via the drive-thru test tent at 99 Tavern Road.

This service is available to SCH patients and non-patients alike, and results are typically received directly from the lab within 24 to 48 hours.

Healthy Berkeley announces new health and wellness app

MARTINSBURG – Health Berkeley has announced the launch of the Change Your State app to bring health and wellness to local communities.

Focused on the areas of mind, movement and food, the app is designed to provide a wealth of resources for community residents.

App resources include blog posts, workouts, healthy recipes, and meditations. Users can also track their daily goals and earn points for completing those goals. All participants who accumulate a minimum number of points each month participate in the monthly prizes.

There will also be a Change Your State Facebook page and a weekly Change Your State podcast for those who don’t have a smartphone.

The free app will be available to download from January 8th in the Apple and Google Play Stores by searching for “Change Your State”. The App Challenge runs from January 15th to April 15th.

For more information, contact Abby Veigel at abbyveigel@gmail.com or Dana DeJarnett at dana.dejarnett@wvumedicine.org.

WVU Medicine offers a safe walking program

MARTINSBURG – Walk with Ease, an Arthritis Foundation-certified program to share strategies for safe and comfortable walking, will be held at the Berkeley 2000 Center, 273 Woodbury Ave. offered in Martinsburg.

The program will be offered from January 25 to March 3, 2022 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. All participants receive the Walk With Ease Guide Book, and the program is free and open to all.

This structured, six-week walking program is designed to help people with arthritis better manage their pain, but anyone can participate and benefit from the program. Based on research and tested programs in exercise science, behavior modification and arthritis management, Walk With Ease has been shown to reduce the pain and discomfort of arthritis, increase balance, strength and walking pace, build confidence to be physically active and improve the general health.

Walk With Ease is a structured walking program that provides support, information, and tools to help participants develop successful exercise routines. During the program, participants will learn proper stretching and pain management techniques, as well as building endurance and walking speed.

Pre-registration for the Walk With Ease program is required and places are limited. Masks are suggested and social distancing will be followed. For more information or to register, call the Berkeley Extension Office at 304-264-1936 or contact Dana DeJarnett at 304-264-1287, ext. 31814 or dana.dejarnett@wvumedicine.org. Before beginning any exercise program, always consult your doctor.

Free National Diabetes Prevention Program Kit

WINCHESTER, Va. – Valley Health is offering new sessions of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a free 12-month course designed to help adults at risk of developing diabetes who are willing to make lasting lifestyle changes. One group meets virtually on Mondays from 12-1pm and the other meets in person on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30pm at Warren Memorial Hospital

To be eligible for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, individuals must be overweight, not have a diagnosis of diabetes, and have one or more of the following: Elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes, physical inactivity, and a history of gestational diabetes.

To learn more, visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/diabetes or call 540-536-5108 for the virtual program or 540-636-0314 for the in-person program at Warren Memorial Hospital.

Tai Chi begins at Berkeley Senior Services

MARTINSBURG – Tai Chi takes place on Mondays at 10:00 a.m. at Berkeley Senior Services on the High Street. Casual clothing and masks recommended.

For more information, call Eldon at 304-264-4783.

Good Samaritan Free Clinic schedule

MARTINSBURG – The Good Samaritan offers free health care for the uninsured and underinsured. The main clinic is located at 601 S. Raleigh St., Martinsburg. They do not keep appointments and look after the family doctor’s practice in all clinics except for the women’s health evening.

The opening hours of the clinic are:

• Wednesdays at 5pm

• First Tuesday of the month at 5pm

• Women’s Health Clinic on the third Tuesday at 5 pm

• Rescue mission every Monday from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm.

Visit www.goodsamaritanfreeclinic.org for more information.

Living Well program manager training

MARTINSBURG – Free leadership training for a program to help people cope with chronic illness will be held via Zoom from January 19 to March 2, 2022.

Leaders help others learn the skills they need to manage their chronic conditions and improve their quality of life. No prior teaching or healthcare experience is required, just a willingness to help others improve their health.

Executives must attend all seven weeks of free training to be certified. The first session will take place on January 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Two meetings will be held every Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the next six weeks until March 2nd.

For more information or to register, contact Dana M. DeJarnett at 304-264-1287 ext. 31814 or dana.dejarnett@wvumedicine.org. Registration closes on January 14th.

Virtual Chronic Pain Self-Treatment Program, new session announced

MARTINSBURG – Living Well, a Chronic Pain Self-Management Program, is a weekly workshop designed to help individuals coping with one or more chronic pains learn to take daily responsibility for their care, improve skills, needed to manage their pain and work effectively with their doctor.

A new Zoom workshop begins January 20th and will be held every Thursday through February 24th from 5pm to 7pm. The six-week program is interactive, informative and entertaining and offers the same content as the face-to-face workshop.

Living Well is free and open to people with chronic pain and other pain-related health issues. Everyone can benefit from learning the skills to coordinate all of the activities needed to manage their health and help them lead full and active lives.

Attendees will need a computer, phone, or tablet to access Zoom. The device must also have a camera and microphone. A quiet place and a stable chair are also recommended for the beginning of the lesson.

To register or for more information, contact Dana M. DeJarnett at 304-264-1287, ext. 31814 or dana.dejarnett@wvumedicine.org. Registration closes on January 18th.

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Women’s Health

New Jersey Gov. Murphy signs bill preserving abortion in state law

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Thursday that will enshrine abortion rights in state law.

The US Supreme Court last December heard arguments on two cases in which some predict abortion rights will be escalated to the state level to decide.

“Regardless of whether the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade or not, New Jersey’s position in support of the right to reproductive autonomy will remain clear and unchanged,” Murphy said during a signing ceremony in Teaneck, New Jersey.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a Get Out The Vote rally October 28, 2021 in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
(Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Murphy had pushed for the law, but it stalled in the Democrat-led legislature as the majority faced voters in November and then faltered from the loss of six seats in the assembly and a net loss of one in the Senate.

DEMOCRATS DEVIL FOR FILIBUSTER BLOCKING RUSSIAN SANCTIONS LAW WHICH THEY HAVE DESCRIBED AS RACIST

The bill does not include a requirement for insurance coverage for abortion, which some advocates have campaigned for, but empowers state banking and insurance departments to study the issue and make new regulations.

A pro-life protester protests outside the Supreme Court building on the day of hearing arguments in the Mississippi abortion law case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2021.

A pro-life protester protests outside the Supreme Court building on the day of hearing arguments in the Mississippi abortion law case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2021.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

The New Jersey bishops expressed “deep disappointment and concern” at the passage, saying in a statement that it “openly effaces the human and moral identity of the unborn child.”

SCHUMER CLAIMED ‘LACK OF LEADERSHIP’ OVER SELF-IMPOSED DEADLINE FOR VOTING RIGHTS PACKAGE

So far, only New Hampshire has passed new legislation since the Supreme Court hearing: The state will ban abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is in danger.

An anti-abortion activist participates in a protest outside the Supreme Court building in Washington December 1, 2021 ahead of disputes in the Mississippi abortion law case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health.

An anti-abortion activist participates in a protest outside the Supreme Court building in Washington December 1, 2021 ahead of disputes in the Mississippi abortion law case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

But 12 states have enacted “trigger laws” aimed at restricting abortion immediately once the Supreme Court makes its decision and potentially overturns Roe, including Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Four other states — including Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia — have pre-Roe abortion laws that they would re-enforce, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a gender rights research group.

“What happened was that it all coalesced around the fact that the Supreme Court has a real chance to weaken or overturn abortion rights, and now it was time to introduce those legal protections,” he said Elizabeth Nash, State Policy Analyst at Guttmacher.

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Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have policies that specifically protect abortion rights, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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