January 22, 2019, marks the 46th anniversary of Roe v Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States. Lately, it seems as if every conversation at RHAP centers one way or another around Roe. What will happen if Roe falls? Where will people go to access abortion care? What states are safe abortion havens? How do we quickly train clinicians to provide safe access to abortion care while we still can? How can we help make sure that people have access to safe abortion care, regardless of where they live? What steps can we take now to ensure state laws will protect abortion no matter what happens to Roe? How can we support clinicians to provide patient-centered care to people who self-manage their abortions?
Answering these questions has helped us map out our organizational strategy for the next 3-5 years. One key area we have agreed upon is to focus more of our resources on ensuring access to abortion. We will ramp up our efforts to expand access to medication abortion, both by increasing clinical training and our support to institutions looking to provide this care. We will also proactively engage the clinicians we work with across the country to advocate for state legislation protecting and expanding their ability to provide abortion care. This is a shift for us, but one we feel is critical given the current judicial and legislative environment.
We have already started this work. Our #GivingTuesday campaign raised nearly $9,000 to provide medication abortion supplies to clinicians and health care institutions across the country. Our education team has developed a continuing education workshop (so clinicians can get needed education credits) on medication abortion that we will be providing through our Network all across the country. And, we are gearing up to sponsor more Papaya Workshops (our way of teaching patient-centered pregnancy options counseling and introducing skills to provide medication and aspiration abortion) for residents, nursing students, medical students, and community clinicians. We can even host a Papaya Workshop for you!
This is just the beginning. There is so much more we want to do, so stay tuned!