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Laurie Gagnon Lachance
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Arline Rebecca Andrews Lovejoy

Ruth L. Lockhart

Ruth L. LockhartDeeply committed to reproductive rights and equality for all women, Ruth L. Lockhart began her career in love for women’s health in the mid-1970’s when she volunteered as a receptionist for a local family planning program.  Since then, she has accumulated more than 35 years of experience in the field of reproductive and sexual health care.

As a family planning counselor, Ruth found that providing women with the information they needed to make decisions about their own bodies created an empowering experience that had a profound and positive impact on their lives.  She became an expert in women’s health issues and a local, state and regional trainer.

Recognizing the need for an independent, community-based organization that could step up and speak out about issues of reproductive choice and lesbian rights when needed, a small group of five activists, including Ruth, decided to form a new non-profit in Bangor.  With its founding in 1984, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center became and remains the only private, non-profit, freestanding, feminist health center in Maine and one of fewer than fifteen in the nation.  Ruth served for many years on the Center’s board of directors and volunteered her spare time to work on organizational development and community education.

Ruth became director of the Bangor Sexually Transmitted Diseases Clinic in 1984.  As one of the first AIDS educators in Maine, she presented educational sessions for diverse audiences throughout the state.  Ruth served on the Governor’s Task Force on AIDS and was instrumental in forming the anonymous HIV/AIDS antibody testing program for City of Bangor and trained counselors to sensitively educate clients about the risks, benefits and results of HIV antibody testing.

Ruth continued this work when she became a Health Educator for the University of Maine and was its first professional AIDS educator.  She organized and chaired UMaine’s AIDS Task Force and provided reproductive and sexual health programming campus-wide.  She created peer educator programs, which gave students the opportunities to teach and learn from each other.  Her Health education position grew to include coordination of the student women’s health services.  She also co-chaired UMaine’s Rape and Sexual Assault Awareness Program and served on the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Concerns Committee.

Ruth was appointed Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center first Executive Director in January of 1992.  Her work since then has been wholly focused on developing Mabel Wadsworth Center into a premiere women’s health care provider, educator and advocate for women in Eastern and Northern Maine.  The Center is now the only publicly available abortion provider north of Augusta.  As a representative to many state, regional and national coalitions, including serving as chair of the Maine Choice Coalition, Ruth works tirelessly to advance the cause of women’s reproductive health and rights.

Born and raised in Fort Fairfield, Maine, Ruth is very proud of her Aroostook County roots.  As a potato picker from first grade through high school, Ruth developed a strong work ethic that still guides her to this day.  She graduated from the University of Southern Maine in the early 1970’s with a degree in elementary education and a certificate in special education/learning disabilities.  Her work in rural public schools gave her a deep and lasting understanding of poverty in Maine as well as broadened her appreciation for different learning styles.  She lives in Bangor with Peter Thibeau, her husband of 32 years.  She is the proud mother of two grown children, Chad and Abby.  Ruth is especially grateful to Sharon Barker, her friend for the past 50 years, for introducing her to Mabel Sine Wadsworth and to the field of reproductive health and rights and for envisioning Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center.

Ruth’s vision is for a future where all women are in control of their lives all of the time – a world where feminist principles will benefit all people.