You can Support Project Access this End of Year Season!


Newsletter/August 2015

RHAP’s 10-year anniversary celebration is just around the corner – Get your tickets today!

Saturday, September 26, 2015 the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) is hosting V TO SHINING V, a night of comedy, music, and activism in New York City in celebration of our 10-year anniversary. It will be an amazing event with proceeds supporting RHAP’s work. Tickets are now on sale, so get yours today!

RHAP is excited to be partnering with Lady Parts Justice for the second year of V TO SHINING V. Join us for performances by Janeane Garofalo, Ted Leo, Naomi Ekperigin, Leah Bonnema, the Citizens Band, and our latest addition, Sorry About Last Night .

We have several opportunities for event sponsorship. With more sponsorship support, RHAP can ensure that more funds raised will go directly towards supporting RHAP’s work with clinicians to integrate abortion, contraception, and miscarriage into primary care across the United States. Perks of sponsorship include:

  • Admission to the pre-show VIP reception
  • Reserved, priority seating for the show
  • Complimentary raffle tickets
  • Acknowledgement on the event website, invite, and program

RHAP will also be raffling interesting items at the event. We are currently accepting donations to be included in this raffle. Do you have something you’d like to donate to the raffle? Some examples of contributions include all the makings for deluxe PB & J sandwiches, IUD earrings, a NYC biking package, a year’s worth of dinner dates and tickets to pub crawl. Help us raise more funds by donating something special for our raffle. You’ll be supporting a good cause and getting some good promotion! All donations are 100% tax deductible.

Benefits of making an in-kind donation include:

  • Acknowledgment of your donation from the stage during the event!
  • Your company’s logo on the event website, program, and signage.
  • Acknowledgment in RHAP’s newsletter, which reaches more than 1,500 NYC metro-area supporters and 9,000 supporters across the country.
  • Tweets about your gift to RHAP’s 1,151 Twitter followers and Facebook posts about your support to RHAP’s 3,383 Facebook followers.
  • An in-kind donation tax receipt for the value of the donated items.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or donating to our raffle, please contact our development associate Kristin Ploog at or for more information visit our event page.

Tickets for this event will be available for purchase the last week of July. For more event updates, visit our V TO SHINING V event page. We hope you can make it!


Focus on a Provider: Lucia McLendon

Dr. Lucia McLendon was RHAP’s 2012-2013 Reproductive Health and Advocacy Fellow. We recently spoke to her about some of the projects she worked on as a Fellow that are still an important part of her work today.

“I became involved in reproductive health care because of my experiences growing up in the rural south. I saw first hand how young women didn’t get access to comprehensive reproductive health education and then had a hard time getting appropriate reproductive care. I watched close friends struggle to get the care that they needed, at times having to travel great distances for appropriate care. When I realized that family doctors could provide the full spectrum of reproductive health care, it immediately became clear to me that family medicine would be the perfect fit for me. I have found working in family medicine to be extremely rewarding because I really enjoy taking care of the full spectrum of life – caring for men, women, and children at all different stages of their lives.

My residency experience allowed me to work closely with faculty at Beth Israel and former fellow Erin Hendriks. Watching them, I realized I wanted to be a teacher, and applied to the Reproductive Health and Advocacy Fellowship. Through the fellowship I was able to lead two exciting projects, the Birth Control Pop-up Clinic and the Women’s Health Free Clinic.

In 2012, the Fordham Law School asked us to partner with them to advocate for their students to be able to get contraception at their student health center (being a Jesuit college they don’t provide contraception at their own student health center!) The initial advocacy event was across the street from the school health center. Providers handed out information about birth control, took medical histories, and prescribed birth control to women on the spot – literally seeing patients on the sidewalk. It was such a success; the students decided to expand the program to John Jay College – closer to their undergrad campus and in order to provide care to more women. The event was expanded to include John Jay students – we saw two distinct population groups in need, (1) women who already had a family and a career and had a hard time fitting in their healthcare needs, and (2) students who weren’t getting access to reproductive health care because their university was limiting it.

Since Fall of 2012, we’ve been organizing group birth control pop-up clinics at John Jay College which use a small group discussion model to provide information to women and men. For women who want a prescription that night, they complete a brief medical history evaluation, and meet with a provider. Students who opt for something more long term such as an IUD or implant – they leave with an appointment to be seen at our center! To date we’ve had 7 events and have served about 350 students. It is great to bust those birth control myths and to facilitate an educational experience for two very different but also very similar groups of students. It is so fascinating to hear the commentary between the students in the discussion groups. They are educating each other! I think this is a model that is highly replicable. The college setting is a great location for it as far as maximizing your audience, and it requires very few resources. The biggest challenge I’ve found is just getting providers to donate their limited time. Luckily I work with two residency programs and the residents love to attend and help out!

Another project I’m really proud of is the Women’s Health Free Clinic where I work one Saturday a month and serve as the Medical Director of the Women’s Clinic. It is a place where women can get free pap smears, birth control consultations, screening for STDs, IUD insertions, hormonal implants, and more – the full spectrum of reproductive health care – and it is run entirely by medical students. We have so many people that are uninsured, that can’t afford the exchange, or are undocumented. I think it is an important public health measure to provide this service for women that might never qualify for insurance and can’t afford the reproductive health services that they need.

The fellowship helped me be a stronger advocate for my patients and a better teacher. I definitely wouldn’t be doing all I am today without that experience.”


Notes from the Field: Appreciating Abortion Care

I did two abortions this morning (among other procedures) in our neighborhood family health center. The first was a 25-year-old professional woman who came in with her best friend, having been referred from her boutique practice that does IUDs but not abortions. She was pregnant with an IUD in place and had texted me yesterday evening, having gotten my cell number from her doctor, who did not understand that it is important to determine if a pregnancy with an IUD in place is in the uterus and is not ectopic (outside the uterus and in the fallopian tubes). We made a plan for her to come in first thing this morning. The patient was very nervous, but luckily her pregnancy was in the uterus and her IUD was in her cervix (in the wrong place). We removed both via manual aspiration. She chose to have a new IUD inserted, which we made sure was well positioned. Both woman and her friend were very grateful for the care, and we had a good discussion about the politics of abortion.

Later in the morning, we saw a 39-year-old woman from Sierra Leone who was a mother of three. Despite using condoms as contraception, she hadn’t had a period in seven weeks. I did an ultrasound and found that she had a large empty gestational sac of about 20 mm. While her English was better than my French, and verbal communication was a bit difficult, it was evident that she did not want to be pregnant, and we used the translation line for confirmation (which always makes me uncomfortable because I can’t tell if the translator is supportive or shaming the patient). I offered to wait for a definitive diagnosis of miscarriage, but she chose to have a manual vacuum aspiration. It only took a few minutes to do the procedure. I could see how relieved and grateful she was to be able to move on. Despite the language barriers, we were able to communicate through eye contact and handholding, and it felt wonderful to have helped her in the way that she wanted.

Despite the contrasts between both these situations, I got such a good feeling from both women. If only this could be a model for care everywhere – people from all walks of life obtaining abortions as easily as they get treated for strep throat, with no judgment and lots of support from doulas and physicians. To walk away unscathed when in need of an abortion is no small thing. I love this work. It is not that often in medicine that we get to really fix something.


New Faces: Kristin Ploog


Kristin Ploog joined RHAP as our development associate in June. She was first exposed to the field of reproductive health in college while working as a health care assistant at a local Planned Parenthood Clinic. Seeing firsthand the barriers faced by patients trying to access reproductive health services ignited her passion for health care advocacy.

Kristin earned a BS in Political Science from Portland State University in 2011. She began working for the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health and NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon supporting their community outreach, program development, and fundraising efforts. Prior to joining RHAP she was the development associate for Project Access NOW, an Oregon nonprofit that coordinates a network of volunteer physicians and other health care providers making it easier for them to donate medically necessary care to the uninsured in the Portland metro-area.

Kristin recently relocated to New York City and is looking forward to continuing her work in nonprofit development and reproductive health care advocacy.


Help us celebrate our 10th anniversary by hosting your own V TO SHINING V!

If you can’t join us in NYC for our 10th Anniversary Celebration, you can still be a part of the fun. The Reproductive Health Access Project and Lady Parts Justice will be live streaming our NYC event so you can watch all our amazing performers at your very own V TO SHINING V party. This is a great opportunity to introduce your friends and family to the work that RHAP is doing to expand access to reproductive health care services across the United States while joining in the V TO SHINING V movement happening nationwide.

September 26, 2015 will be LPJ’s second annual V TO SHINING V. People are gathering with friends from east to west and north to south to laugh, drink, dance, play games, and most importantly, pledge to each other that we will get informed and out to vote. So start planning now, because the whole country is going to be Instagramming, Tweeting, and Facebooking with the hashtags #LPJ926, #V2V15, and #RHAP10. Join the movement and be a part of RHAP’s 10 year celebration by hosting your very own party where you can live stream our event and watch performances by Janeane Garofalo, Ted Leo, Naomi Ekperigin, Leah Bonnema, and the Citizens Band and more, live from New York!

If you are interested, please contact our development associate Kristin Ploog at or CLICK HERE to sign up as a host directly through Lady Parts Justice. We will help provide a party plan along with all the materials you need to make your night a huge success!

Make a donation

Your gift allows us to train and support health care providers across the United States so they can offer patients compassionate and comprehensive care.


Latest Blog Post