2022 is going to be a heck of a year for abortion access.
While it’s impossible to predict the future, the reality represented in this map is rapidly approaching. At RHAP – and across the reproductive health, rights, and justice movements – we are gearing up to face a future where Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land. What would abortion access look like in the U.S. if Roe v. Wade were to fall? Which states would have zero abortion care? Which states would likely become safe havens for abortion, yet also absorbing an influx of out-of-state patients? And, a big question – how much does Roe really matter anyway? So many communities, particularly marginalized communities, are without adequate access, even now. Could the impact of losing the protections we have under Roe be lessened if abortion care were more widely available through telemedicine or if it was easier for people to manage their own abortion? How can RHAP continue to improve upon and expand its work moving forward? What would all this mean for the work RHAP does? How can we best train and support clinicians to provide care and navigate different, constantly changing legal environments?
RHAP is a small organization with a large reach that already works in states where access to reproductive health care varies widely. We are always reassessing how we can best leverage our resources in ways that will have the biggest impact on the clinicians we work with and the communities they serve. As we wrap up an extensive strategic planning process, we’ve recommitted to our mission of ensuring everyone, especially those who have historically been denied health care, are able to safely access the reproductive health care they want and need.
RHAP’s approach is truly unique; everything that we do deliberately aims to bridge the primary care and reproductive health care systems. As we face a future where access to abortion care may not look the way it does now, we know that fostering these connections is more important than ever. As we move into 2022, our immediate challenge is how we thoughtfully and deliberately use our resources for the biggest impact. How do we build upon the networks we already have, and what relationships and partnerships do we develop? Maybe this means focusing more in states where folks needing abortion care will flock to; maybe it means supporting clinicians in states where services are at risk to figure out how they can still provide needed care; maybe this means supporting people who are managing abortion on their own to do it safely and effectively. We certainly have to deeply understand the legal landscape in the various states and communities we are working in and follow the lead of local activists and organizers if we are to leverage the power and voices of the clinician communities we work with to challenge and change our health care system to make it equitable for everyone.
There is a lot of work lying ahead. After a four-month leave, I’m rested and ready. I hope you are too!