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Looking Back at 10 years of RHAP

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10 year logoLisa Maldonado is one of the original founders of the Reproductive Health Access Project and has served as the organization’s executive director since 2005.

“Ten years ago Linda Prine, Ruth Lesnewski, and I joined forces to launch the Reproductive Health Access Project. We didn’t have an office (I worked from a small desk in the corner of my bedroom), staff, or funding. But, we did have a clear mission: to integrate abortion, contraceptive and miscarriage care into primary care so that everyone, everywhere has access to reproductive health care.

Ten years later, Linda, Ruth and I are still working together, but we are joined now by five staff, four clinical fellows, and a national network of more than 850 clinicians. And, we have an office (actually two) now.

We spent the last ten years piloting, refining, and expanding successful strategies to destigmatize reproductive health care. We developed an online resource library of clinical tools and patient education materials to make providing reproductive health care easier for primary care clinicians. We created free, online teaching tools so clinicians could learn and stay up-to-date on the latest in reproductive health care. We developed intensive training and support programs to create physician leaders who are teaching future clinicians and transforming health care in their local areas.

Ten years is a long time, but not long enough. Our mission is more urgent today than it was when we started in 2005. The huge upswing in state legislation restricting access to reproductive health care, in particular abortion care, has made access to care more uneven than ever. Large swaths of our country now have little to no access to abortion care. Like in the days before abortion was legal, clinicians fly in and out of low access areas to provide a patchwork of care in low resource, highly regulated areas. (Our Physician Matching Project is helping connect trained clinicians to clinics in need.) It sometimes feels like we have to work harder just to maintain the inadequate status quo, let alone make things better.

Ten years ago, we were the lone voice advocating for mainstreaming reproductive health care. As standalone family planning and abortion clinics are increasingly under attack, primary care may become the only source of reproductive health care for even more communities. We remain committed to training and supporting primary care clinicians so that abortion, contraception, and miscarriage are accessible to everyone, everywhere—as long as it takes!”

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