Advocacy in Action in the AAFP!
In late September, RHAP mobilized family physicians from across the country to advocate for progressive policy changes at the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) annual Family Medicine Experience (FMX) conference in Washington, D.C. The AAFP is the country’s largest professional medical organization for family physicians, and is considered the expert body for family medicine.
Our advocates’ week started with a testimony training in preparation for the AAFP’s Congress of Delegates (COD). Network members brought forth AAFP policy resolutions and testimony on issues from adopting gender-inclusive language in all Academy materials, to advocating for comprehensive postpartum care and access to Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs) among other things.
There were huge wins in policy change, thanks to the efforts of our amazing advocates. The AAFP formally amended their support for family physicians providing abortions to extend beyond just the first trimester, as previous policy stated. They also adapted language in multiple policies to be inclusive of all pregnant and parenting folks’ genders by incorporating the inclusion of chestfeeding, changing policy language from supporting “equality for same gender families” to “all families,” and more.
Later in the week, we headed to the exhibition hall to table at FMX on behalf of RHAP for the first time since 2019. This connected us with new clinicians to draw into the Network and allowed us to share the many resources and clinical tools we’ve developed and updated in the last few years. RHAP leaders also presented and helped organize sessions, including talks on IUDs, self-managed abortion, and more.
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 reproductive health care and training in family medicine and beyond. However, this is an important step forward for the AAFP, and for primary care.
Our time at COD and FMX reminded us of why we do what we do. We threw ourselves into the work of mobilizing and advocating for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, including abortion and gender-affirming care, in primary care practice.