FROM JOLIET TO THE OUTBACK

Dr. Bernadine Bank was born and raised in a large, working-class Catholic family in Joliet, Illinois. The youngest of 10 children, her father Louis was a machinist, and her mother Eugenia, after returning to college at 44, earned a teaching credential and enjoyed a full career teaching middle school. And if that wasn’t enough, after Eugenia retired, the Sisters of St. Francis convinced her to teach at the Joliet Jail!


Dr Bank is the 10th of 10 children

Bernadine and her brothers and sisters attended Catholic schools, where she showed academic promise. In her senior year of high school, she was a Rotary Exchange student in Australia where she lived with a family in the outback. 

Dr Bank is the youngest of 10 from a traditional Catholic familty.
Dr Bank graduates from Northwestern School of Medicine.

She loved Australia! She had also been accepted to the University of Illinois and needed money to pay for it, so she accepted a job assisting farmers in the rural outback ( “Back o’ Bourke” ) care for their animals by hunting non-native foxes which had unfortunately been introduced from England and were (and still are) a troublesome invasive species. 


Upon her return to the USA, Bernadine excelled in college and earned a degree in chemistry, went one to earn her medical degree at Northwestern’s School of Medicine. (Now known as the Feinberg School of Medicine). She completed her OB/Gyn residency at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX.  


Dr. Bank then joined a large and successful private practice that taught her about running a small business. Not only did she deliver over 3,000 babies during her 19 years in Dallas; she also had children of her own. 

A CAREER OF CARING

Dr Bernadink Bank in her practice

The program, from a company called Cerner, was thrust upon the VA from on a no-bid contract for electronic medical records.  Care for our veterans fell apart.  Cerner was a disaster. The system would shut down for hours or even days at a time.  It was not capable of ordering critical medications for patients.  Veterans who had traveled for hours would arrive to find their appointments had to be canceled. The impact of inferior care for our veterans cannot be underestimated. 

By 2005, it was time for a change.  The Bank family moved to Colbert, Washington, and Bernadine decided to take some time off to raise her family.  When the boys were old enough to begin attending St. George's School, she was ready to return to work. In 2009, she joined the staff at CHAS clinic, and by 2016 was also practicing at other area hospitals.  

She then moved to the Mann-Grandstaff Veterans Hospital where she founded the Gynecology Department for veterans. Working at the VA proved to be a turning point in her life. Women made up 20% of our Armed Forces and the country had millions of female veterans, but the promise of healthcare for them at the VA was already decades late.  

 

There were wider issues, too. The VA Hospital’s Emergency Room had been shut down, and never re-opened. Then the hospital was thrown into turmoil by being forced - during Covid no less - to be turned into a beta test site for a new record-keeping system.  

Nine percent of the population of Eastern Washington are veterans. Yet all of this was happening right under the nose of a local, long-serving Congresswoman, who did NOTHING Nearly 4 years later, Cerner is STILL breaking down, and the ER is still closed.

Dr. Bank resigned in protest and was featured on the front of the Spokesman Review. Other doctors and nurses had left as well, but the VA and the congresswoman still deny that Cerner has anything to do with it.

The harm to veterans caused by the Cerner fiasco has been well documented in the Spokesman Review. Dr Bank was willing to speak out and be interviewed after feeling forced to leave the wonderful department she helped build. Having worked on the inside, Dr Bank understands many of the issues and will fight for better health care and services for our veterans. 


Bernadine continues to work as a gynecologist at CHAS where medical care is provided to all regardless of their ability to pay. 


In years past, she had been a political centrist, even known to vote for Republicans on occasion. But the ideological shift in the Republican Party that is distinctly anti-woman, and directly endangers women’s health motivated her to get active in politics. She volunteered on campaigns and became the chair of the Democratic Party’s 6th Legislative’s District. She even contemplated a run for Congress in 2022, but decided against it.   THEN CAME DOBBS.  

THE TIME HAS COME TO MAKE A STAND

The United States Supreme Court’s Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is an utterly devastating decision that throws the fate of millions of women into the hands of politicians and religious ideologues who don’t have the first idea about medicine, or how women’s bodies work. Thousands of laws, some extreme, have been passed and even more extreme laws are being introduced. Some examples: 





  •     In Louisiana, Alabama, and other states legislation was introduced to arrest and try women who have had abortions for premeditated murder
  •     Texas made it illegal to drive a woman across state lines to terminate a pregnancy whether or not the driver knew. 
  •     In their rush to be first to punish women, Texas made it illegal to treat women for ectopic pregnancies, which is fatal to the mother. It took months for them to pass an exception. 
  •     TWENTY states now have abortion bans. 
  •     Many states are proposing to track menstrual cycles, and pregnancy tests before women can travel. 

This Handmaid’s Tale world is the direct result of Dobbs and the most radical wing of the Republican Party, who now control the GOP across the country – and women are their first target. 

Dr Bernadine Bank on Women's Health

Here it is important to note something: Dr. Bank has never performed an elective abortion.  Bernadine Bank is for women’s health. She has been caring for women her entire career and there are countless concerns and situations where only a woman, her doctor and her God should be involved. It’s certainly not the place for politicians to interfere. 


And in Red States, voters agree: Kansas, Ohio, and Wisconsin all overwhelmingly have voted for women’s health, so the Republicans choose to legislate from the bench to take the decisions away from voters. They pass draconian laws without giving voters a voice.   It’s time for the voters of Washington’s 5th District to be heard!

Send Dr. Bernadine Bank to Congress:  for women, for veterans and for all of us!

Mail your donations to:

Friends of Dr Bernadine Bank
PO Box 285
Colbert, WA  99005

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Paid for by Friends of Dr Bernadine Bank • US Congress •  © 2024                  PO BOX 285  •  Colbert, WA  99005

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I agree!