Brandi Swindell’s testimony on Capitol Hill
Chair Murray, Ranking Members Burr and Marshall, and Members of this Committee,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share today.
My name is Brandi Swindell, and I am a fourth-generation Idahoan, human rights activist, and CEO and Founder of Stanton Healthcare and Stanton Public Policy Center.
Stanton Healthcare is a women’s healthcare provider which specializes in serving women with unexpected pregnancies by providing professional medical care, practical and emotional support, women’s wellness care, and an outreach to refugee and marginalized communities. We are based in Idaho, with affiliates in the U.S. and internationally.
Stanton is part of a women’s movement which has over 3,000 pregnancy resource centers and life-affriming medical clinics across the nation that outnumber abortion clinics by four to one. Women who walk through our doors are treated with dignity and equality regardless of their race, political views, religion, or economic situation.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, so many have asked the pro-life community, “Are you ready to support women in a post-Roe America?” I can say with certainty, thousands of pregnancy resource centers and life-affirming women’s medical clinics have been waiting and preparing for this moment for decades.
We are ready to meet the challenge and we are going to make sure that every woman facing an unexpected pregnancy in a post-Roe America will have access to life-affirming quality care, compassionate resources, and tangible support.
Yesterday in my home state of Idaho, Stanton Healthcare organized and led a symposium called, “Supporting Women in an Abortion-Free Idaho.” Political, faith, and community leaders, educators, and organizations came together in a non-partisan way to find creative and life-affirming solutions as we unite to support women with unexpected pregnancies. We are excited that other states are following Idaho’s lead.
In a post-Roe America, shouldn’t our nation’s goal, and the goal of this committee, be to put aside divisions, anger, and partisanship… and commit ourselves to serving and helping women?
As political leaders and members of this committee, you can support women with unexpected pregnancies by passing legislation that will provide better prenatal and medical care for the marginalized and women from communities of color. Paid maternity leave and child care are steps in the right direction.
Since May 2, there have been over 60 attacks on centers like Stanton Healthcare. These attacks are unconscionable and ultimately threaten the women who attempt to walk through our doors seeking access to our services. Because of this, Stanton has had to hire a private security firm which has cost our organization thousands of dollars to date.
For those who disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe, directing revenge and retaliation on centers like Stanton Healthcare is misguided, hateful, anti-women, and must be condemned and stopped immediately.
Today, I’m calling on all members of this committee to personally and publicly condemn the fire-bombing, violent attacks, and threats against life-affirming charitable women’s clinics. Congress and the Biden Administration should be part of the solution and not cast blame on our centers.
It is also deeply troubling for members of the press, politicians, and media outlets to refer to centers like Stanton as “fake clinics.” First, we are attacked with physical violence. Next, we are attacked with the violence of lies, disinformation, slander, and falsehoods.
To diminish Stanton Healthcare in this way insults our medical directors who are highly regarded MD’s, our physician assistants, nurses, sonographers and others on our medical team who have worked so hard to achieve and maintain their professional credentials.
But most of all, it insults the thousands of women and their children who have been helped by our clinics. They did not receive “fake” medical care, or “fake” baby formula during the nationwide shortage, or “fake” baby supplies, “fake” financial support, or “fake” counseling and so much more when they walked through our doors. We should not be attacking clinics like Stanton or proposing anti-woman legislation. Rather, we should all be standing with these women who seek our services.
It’s important to know that since 1980, the U.S. abortion rate has fallen by more than 50%. During the same time women have succeeded on a variety of educational and economic metrics. If women are gaining educationally and economically at a time when abortion rates are falling – it’s pretty clear that women do not need to rely on abortion to succeed.
The overturning of Roe on June 24 sent shockwaves through our nation that will take us months and perhaps even years to process. However, if we are truly committed to justice and women’s rights, we can come together as a nation and find creative solutions to empower and stand with women in a post-Roe America.
Once again, thank you for the invitation to share about the critical work of Stanton Healthcare and the amazing women we serve.