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Expanding Abortion Access in Family Medicine

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In late September, for the third year in a row, RHAP mobilized over 30 family physicians from across the country to advocate for abortion access at the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) annual conference in Philadelphia. The AAFP is the country’s largest professional medical organization, and is considered the expert body for family medicine.

For the first time, our Network members authored and brought forth policy resolutions asking the AAFP to affirm its support for safe and legal abortion care. Our family doctors were trained and supported by our organizer extraordinaire Miriam Yeung on building allies within the AAFP. We’re delighted to report that thanks to the efforts of our amazing advocates, the Academy formally reaffirmed their support for Roe v. Wade, the privacy of the patient/clinician relationship, and family physicians performing first trimester abortions. They also reaffirmed their current policy protecting physicians from being criminalized for offering abortion care.

The week started with RHAP’s Medical Director Dr. Linda Prine leading a testimony training in preparation for the AAFP’s Congress of Delegates. As MedPage Today reports, “After hours of debating conflicting amendments and untangling parliamentary procedure, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Congress of Delegates approved a policy nominally backing family physicians trained in providing abortions.” 

For the first time, RHAP tabled as an organization at the AAFP’s national conference, which connected us with new clinicians to draw into the Network. RHAP leaders also presented and helped organize several CME trainings, including the first talk on medication abortion ever given at the conference. 

There is more work to be done, and we are already working to ensure that the AAFP follows through in speaking out for access to safe and legal abortion services, beyond the first trimester and beyond family medicine. However, this is an important step forward for the AAFP, and for primary care.  

Our time in Philly reminded us of why we do what we do. We threw ourselves into the work of mobilizing and advocating for abortion access in primary care practice. 

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