In rural America, the crisis of disappearing reproductive care steals lives

During pregnancy, this woman developed gestational diabetes. Now, her son is 1½ years old, and she continues getting care at Mabel Wadsworth Center in Bangor, Maine. Credit: Sofia Aldinio / The Washington Post

BANGOR, MAINE — All the reasons people in this rural region seek reproductive care — and the barriers they must overcome in accessing it — were on full display from the moment the first patient stepped into this clinic nestled amid towering evergreens.

There was the 32-year-old struggling to pay out of pocket for a medication abortion because her credit card wouldn’t go through. A first-time patient who was referred to the Mabel Wadsworth Center — more than an hour from home — because her provider wasn’t sure how best to treat her disabling premenstrual syndrome. Another woman who developed hypertension while pregnant arrived to have her blood pressure checked. And a couple was there for their first prenatal visit.

The nation is in a maternal mortality and morbidity crisis that grows year after […]

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