Des Moines teen creates website mapping abortion clinics nationwide

A Des Moines, teen has created a website that maps abortion clinics nationwide – the Safe Place Project was created by Maddy Rasmussen, with the intent of creating a safe, non-biased place for women to obtain information about abortion care near them.

The Safe Place Project includes a map of clinics across the country, complete with contact information, website links, and the date on which Maddy verified the clinic was open and performing abortions. This information is also available in a searchable, sortable list for ease of access. The site also features a mobile version.

This project comes at a time when abortion care is rapidly being pushed out of reach for those who need it most. With clinics closing at a tragic rate and Congress trying to restrict Medicaid funding to clinics that provide abortion, it’s more important than ever that those seeking abortion care know where to find it.

“I’ve always had an interest in women’s rights, but it wasn’t until I started this project that I realized how difficult it can be for women to receive abortion care,” says Maddy Rasmussen about The Safe Place Project. “I wanted to ease that burden by creating a simple, easy-to-use website where women could get the information they need.”

While geographic location is often the most significant barrier, Maddy recognized that there was also a knowledge gap in the state-based restrictions that affect a person’s access to abortion care. The Safe Place Project addresses these barriers by listing each state’s restrictions—such as waiting periods and parental consent laws—that may create additional barriers to women receiving the care they need.

“When I realized that some women would have to cross county or state lines to receive abortion access, I was shocked. I knew that abortion was hard to access, but I didn’t realize that states could mandate such heavy restrictions,” continues Maddy. “Waiting periods may seem harmless, but when you consider how far some women have to travel to receive care, you really see how damaging they can be. These restrictions are especially harmful for women who work or have family responsibilities, or teens who wish to keep their health care decisions confidential. It was then that I realized the importance of telling the whole story for those looking for abortion care.”

While Planned Parenthood, National Abortion Federation, and Abortion Care Network have similar resources, The Safe Place Project is the only one that features an accumulative list of both independent and Planned Parenthood clinics.

Maddy, an exiting senior at Big Picture High School in Burien, created the concept for The Safe Place Project after completing an internship with Legal Voice, a progressive feminist organization working to change the law for women and LGBTQ people in the Northwest. Maddy also interned with Cedar River Clinics, a reproductive health clinic with three locations in the Seattle area.

Maddy completed these internships through her school, Big Picture High School, which focuses on innovative learning. Students spend three days each week working on personally created curriculum, and the remaining two days completing internships with real-world professionals, who mentor them and work with them to create projects.

“I’m really thankful for the experience I have been able to have at Big Picture,” says Maddy. “Big Picture has made it possible for me to explore a large variety of interests and to work with many different kinds of people to create projects that I could’ve never dreamed of. I’m not only thankful to my school, but to my mentors at Legal Voice and Cedar River Clinics who have been immensely supportive when helping me with this project.”


2 Responses to “Des Moines teen creates website mapping abortion clinics nationwide”
  1. BirchCreek says:

    “Safe place” for the pregnant female
    … how about for the unwanted baby?

  2. Steve Ferguson says:

    I love seeing young people trying to make the world a better place, good for Maddy for trying. Unfortunately making abortion easier to find is not a good thing, and to call it the Safe Place Project is another way to brand abortion as being SO under attack. Look at the map – there are plenty of clinics, how under attack can the industry possibly be? The Safe Place is also not a safe place for the baby, kinda crazy to call it that. I have been part of (2) terminated pregnancies, each one had a devastating effect on the woman, and I also still struggle with it to this day. As a member of AA, I constantly see women harboring debilitating guilt over their abortion choices, often being a huge relapse catalyst.
    I know a lot of people feel it is just a fetus, but if the pregnant person does nothing – a baby – a human being is born. Call it a fetus, do nothing it is a baby.

    The law needs to require women view the baby on an ultrasound and also have a waiting period of 48 hours before the abortion takes place. Most women that actually view the baby during ultrasound cannot terminate once they see their baby.
    And last but not least – Pro Choice is rarely a choice, it’s usually the man, dad, boyfriend, etc pressuring the women to terminate.

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