This past weekend, the Reproductive Health Access Project hit the road and journeyed to beautiful Amherst, Massachusetts for the 2012 Civil Liberties and Pubic Policy (CLPP) conference. Hosted by Hampshire College and Pop Dev, CLPP is a gathering of students and advocates from across the U.S. who come together to “build the movement for reproductive freedom.” The 2012 conference brought together over 1,000 different participants. Our RHAP contingent included Rosann Mariappuram, Susan Yanow, Hannah Wade, Nandini Shroff, and Natasha Miller. The conference kicked off on Friday night with an abortion speak out.
Inspired by the first 1969 Redstocking abortion speak out in New York, conference organizers created a safe, accepting space where people could share their abortion stories. It was an extremely moving night for speakers and listeners alike. The next morning was an opening plenary by a host of fantastic speakers who all work on social justice issues . The morning plenary was followed a day long series of workshops, seminars, and panel discussions. Topics ranged from Environment and Reproductive Health: Making the Connection to Prisons, Immigration Detention and Reproductive Justice: Understanding the Issues.
The Reproductive Health Access Project was lucky enough to speak at two workshops on Saturday. The first was led by Susan Yanow. Susan spoke about her work with Women on Web and the importance of expanding access to abortion both in the U.S. and abroad. Our second workshop was a panel called Creating the Health Care We Need : It Starts in the Clinic. To demonstrate RHAP’s mission of integrating birth control and abortion into primary care, Rosann and Nandini role-played a doctor and patient going through an options counseling session.
Throughout the weekend we also tabled in the main exhibit hall. We talked with many inspiring individuals, from pro-choice nurses and lawyers, to college students and everyday women just seeking a progressive space to share their feelings. It was a weekend full of stimulating conversations and amazing company. We’re happy to have been involved with such a positive event for the reproductive justice movement. We can’t wait for next year!