Growing up in a family of physicians and eventually becoming a Nurse Practitioner, health care has been both a personal and professional interest for me. I was raised in a strict Catholic family where the topic of sex was rarely discussed. At school, sex education was not a part of the health curriculum. Talking about sex was just not done. Strict rules and regulations that derived from my religious upbringing made it impossible to understand the act of sex. What frustrates me the most is the nature of religion and how it devalues a woman’s status and worth in society.
Many of my close friends and colleagues were also brought up in a religious background and we did not discuss sex at home or in school. At the age of 17, my first sexual encounter resulted in pregnancy and I had an illegal abortion. It was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. I saw many instances of my patients having difficulty with unwanted children and pregnancies, later in my life, when I worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner. My own experience helped me feel their pain and suffering. These experiences have always remained with me and sparked my interest to fight for access to reproductive health services and education.
Through the Falencki Memorial Curriculum Fund, I helped the Reproductive Health Access Project develop their very first Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship – a one-year fellowship that aims to develop leaders who will promote and teach full-spectrum reproductive health care within family medicine. By educating and training clinicians, RHAP works to provide access to comprehensive reproductive health care to everyone, everywhere. RHAP’s enthusiasm and approach to expanding access to reproductive health speak to me. It acknowledges that access to reproductive health care should be accessible to everyone through education and that the patient should always be respected as the primary decision-maker. This is a belief that is close to my heart and should be acted upon.
I feel that it’s important to support the work you believe, which is why I plan to stay heavily involved with RHAP far into the future. I can’t afford huge lump sums, but I can and do give monthly to make a significant change. I hope you can join RHAP’s Access Circle community and become a monthly supporter to mainstream, empower, and increase access to reproductive health care. Together we can strategically focus our resources to allow RHAP to make inroads in parts of the country that need our services the most.
- As an Access Champion, you are mainstreaming abortion, contraception, and early pregnancy loss care every year by helping RHAP educate more clinicians on these topics.
- $250+/month provides a clinician with 6 days of intensive hands-on training in IUD and contraceptive implant insertion and removal.
- As an Access Ally, you are increasing access to reproductive health care every year by helping RHAP train more clinicians.
- $100+/month will train 20 clinicians to provide medication abortion.
- As an Access Advocate, you are empowering more patients to be in control of their reproductive health every year by helping RHAP develop more patient education materials.
- $25+/month translates RHAP’s most used patient education materials into another language.
Maureen Falencki, PNP