Give now to expand and protect access to abortion now more than ever! 

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December 2021

 

Thank You for Supporting RHAP on #GivingTuesday

We did it! We met our $10,000 match and raised a total of $57,000 on #GivingTuesday! Thank you!

Missed out on Giving Tuesday? You can still donate to our year-end campaign.

From now until the end of the year, RHAP is raising funds to provide our national network of clinicians with the resources they need to advocate for and provide reproductive health care, no matter where they are.

Thanks to several generous supporters, donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000.

Help us build a powerful, diverse national movement of primary care clinicians providing, mobilizing for, and expanding access to reproductive health care.

Here’s how you can make a difference:

  1. $20,000 sponsors one RHAP fellow for a full year of clinical, teaching, and advocacy training in comprehensive reproductive health care.
  2. $10,000 supports the launch of a new Cluster where clinicians receive peer support, clinical education, and opportunities for advocacy.
  3. $5,000 supports one Network Cluster to organize local clinician advocates working to effect change at the state level.
  4. $1,000 provides 50 clinicians with virtual training in medication abortion.
  5. $500 supports us to provide continuing education credits for clinical training talks, such as medication abortion care, reproductive health care for people with disabilities, gender-affirming care, and more.
  6. $250 supports a year’s worth of virtual meetings for a Network Cluster.
  7. $100 provides a health center with start-up supplies to provide medication abortion and early pregnancy loss care.
  8. $50 sponsors a workshop for medical and nursing students on abortion and miscarriage care.
  9. $25 provides a health center with our new Birth Control Choices poster.

If you have any questions about our year-end campaign, please contact our Manager of Individual Giving, Victoria Keehn.

 

The Ebb and Flow of Reproductive Justice 

2021 is officially the most devastating year for abortion rights and reproductive freedoms. With over 100 abortion bans enacted in one year, as well as the continual risk of Roe v. Wade being overturned, and setting off a domino of devastation across the country, this year has set us all into a rollercoaster of emotions. Please check in with your local activist, abortion provider and reproductive health advocate – times are really tough right now! Despite this, we are determined to make our voices heard louder than ever before.  Check out these recent updates in the reproductive health realm (and try not to scream towards the end).

On May 7th, the Biden Administration announced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will undertake a review of the longstanding restriction on the medication Mifeprex. Also known as Mifepristone or RU 486, Mifeprex is one of the two essential medications used in a medication abortion. It has been proven as a safe and effective alternative to procedural abortion for 20 years. These restrictions set in place, known as the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), have limited access to care for marginalized populations, as well as burdened providers with additional licensing requirements. On December 17th, the FDA will be sharing their results of their mifepristone review that could significantly reduce barriers in accessing medication abortion care.

On December 1st, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case about Mississippi’s abortion ban with ramifications for people’s access in MS and various states across the nation. Jackson Women’s Health organization is the last remaining abortion clinic in the state, and they’re challenging a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy — well before a fetus is viable.This is the first time since 1973 that the Court has heard a case on a pre-viability abortion ban and many reproductive health advocates project that if the Court rules in Mississippi’s favor and Roe falls, half of U.S. states are poised to ban abortion care entirely. 

On December 10th, the Supreme Court released decisions on two cases related to SB8, the enduring abortion ban in Texas. In the case United States v. Texas, the Supreme Court outright dismissed the Department of Justice’s attempt to block enforcement of the abortion ban. This means that, after 100 days of deputized citizens enforcing an unconstitutional law, and thousands of marginalized pregnant folks subjected to devastating barriers in obtaining abortion services from neighboring states, the court has decided to metaphorically shrug it’s shoulders and proceed with this madness. 

In the Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson case, the court laid out a narrow path for Texas abortion providers to challenge the law. Providers are still able to proceed with their lawsuit, yet only against a limited subset of defendants. We’re feeling betrayed and frustrated, but never discouraged. We will do our part in continuing our efforts for reproductive health and abortion trainings within primary care spaces, in order to increase access for all.

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it once more: we cannot rely on the courts to protect abortion access. Here’s what you can do right now to take action and #LiberateAbortion:

  1. Support these abortion funds working in Mississippi. 
  2. Ensure that Congress uses their power to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act (EACH), which create federal protections for abortion access. 
  3. Donate to help RHAP continue supporting clinicians all across the country.
  4. Learn more and share info on social media using the tools given here. 

In closing out the year, let’s ensure our demands are heard and we remain firm in our personal values, ongoing initiatives and personal time for self. 

 

By: Shae Jackson, Organizing and Communications Associate
Last Updated: Dec 14, 2021

 

A Letter from Lisa

I missed my colleagues so much on Wednesday, December 1. I wanted to be with them, listening to the presentation of the pivotal Mississippi abortion case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, to the Supreme Court. We would have been breaking down every argument and analyzing every statement. But I have been on leave from RHAP since September 7 and won’t return to work full time until Monday, January 3. What originally started out for me as a sabbatical, turned into a medical and family leave – a time for healing, grieving, resting, and regrouping. 

As a co-founder of the organization, I have been at RHAP for over 15 years and was looking forward to taking advantage of RHAP’s new sabbatical leave benefit -10 weeks of paid time off for all employees working full time for seven years- during the summer and fall of 2020. I’m originally from Miami, and my plan was to work on the ground in Florida to do what I could to help turn that notoriously purple state blue in time for the 2020 elections. But the pandemic upended those plans. So much was in flux during the early months of the pandemic that I decided it was more important for me to be a steady presence at home and at work. I came up with a new plan: to take off October through December 2021, and travel across the country in an RV (something on my bucket list!), then spend some time volunteering with Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight organization. 

However, in late August I found out that I had a tumor on one of my ovaries that was very concerning. I had surgery in early September. Fortunately, I will not need further treatment for cancer. Then, in late September both my parents contracted Covid. My sister, who was caring for them, got the virus as well. My sister recovered quickly, but both my parents were hospitalized in Miami, and my father died in the hospital in early October. I spent October and November in Miami supporting my sister and my mom’s recovery.

I am now back home in Brooklyn, resting, regrouping, and thinking about how RHAP will strategically move through what looks very likely to be a post-Roe world. I know this will require the best of all of us; there will be so much important, heartbreaking work to be done.

I am grateful for the time off I have had to completely disconnect, focus on getting better, and be with my family in Florida. I am grateful that my colleagues have stepped up and taken on new responsibilities during my absence so that RHAP can continue to operate smoothly. It is so important for organizations to support staff to take care of themselves, especially during this time, so that they can show up healthy, present, and ready to adapt to whatever the future holds. 

Thank you for supporting RHAP. I hope we can count on you, especially in 2022, as our work will surely be even more challenging.     

By: Lisa Maldonado, MA, MPH
Executive Director

RHAP Team 2021 Reflection

As we wrap up 2021, the RHAP team wants to send everyone a heartfelt thank you for being by our side during this challenging year. In this time of uncertainty, there’s a fundamental truth that gives us hope – that together we can do extraordinary things. Since January 2021, 106 abortion restrictions have been enacted in 19 states, including 12 outright abortion bans – more than any other year since Roe v. Wade. This includes draconian measures such as SB8 in Texas, as well as copycat bills springing up in other states. We also await a Supreme Court decision in Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Dobbs, a 15-week ban out of Mississippi that is likely to overturn Roe, further widening the gaps in access based on which state you live in. The road ahead will be challenging, and we will have to be adaptable to the true needs of clinicians and patients on the ground. Regardless of what the future holds, we know that the only way to face it is together.  

Our organization, as a whole, has gone through numerous transitions this year. Adapting our work to the pandemic has improved how we connect virtually and across distances, and has broadened our ability to do work as a national organization. On August 31, 2021, we officially closed our in-person office. We’re now a 100% remote organization, and we’ve hired new team members from across the country to strengthen our national presence! 

Another huge transition began when our Executive Director, Lisa Maldonado, took her much deserved sabbatical in the fall. All employees working full time for seven years at RHAP can take a sabbatical leave of 10 weeks of paid time off. Silpa Srinivasulu and Laura Riker have temporarily stepped in as Interim Co-Executive Directors, and will lead our team into the new year with Lisa returning in January 2022. Lisa has shared her experience in her own article which can be found above

RHAP’s co-founder and former Medical Director, Dr. Linda Prine, retired from RHAP on March 31, 2021, to make room for new clinical leaders. RHAP’s clinical leadership now consists of seven clinician experts who consult with us in various ways: our three-member Clinical Committee who serve as our clinical guides, Ruth Lesnewski, MD, Samantha Hyacinth, MSN, WHNP-BC, and Angeline Ti, MD, MPH, and; our four-person Regional Clinical Leader (RCL) mentorship team of Maya Bass, MD, MA, Dalia Brahmi, MD, MPH, Moira Rashid, MD, MPH and Catherine Romanos, MD, FAAFP. The Clinical Committee ensures that our clinical tools, resources, and training programs reflect the most up-to-date clinical evidence, the highest quality of care, address emerging issues and technologies, and are in alignment with our organizational mission and values. The RCL team provides in-depth mentorship and support to clinician advocates in the Network who are mobilizing within the American Academy of Family Physicians to make reproductive healthcare and social justice a priority.  

This continued to be a big year for the Reproductive Health Access Network, our national community of more than 5,300 clinician activists. In 2021 alone, the Network increased by nearly 15% and hosted 98 events! Although we miss in-person conferences, virtual platforms have enabled our leaders to connect regionally and nationally for peer support and professional development opportunities including our Advanced Practice Clinician (APC) Cluster. As a collaborative effort, The APC Cluster hosted a virtual panel on developments in telemedicine abortion care featuring speakers from organizations like Just the Pill, Choix, Plan C, and others. We’re also proud to share that our newest cluster in Texas met for the first time in early November, strategizing and setting goals for their organizing, advocacy, and clinical training. In the coming years, we hope to expand to Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and beyond. Our goal is to provide our national network of clinicians with the resources they need to advocate for and provide reproductive health care, no matter where they are. 

Our Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship continued to get stronger in the past year, as our two newer sites in Michigan and New Jersey entered their second year. The pandemic did create training challenges for our fellows, but the shift to virtual work allowed us to create an online national fellowship learning community that supplements their onsite clinical training with virtual training in advocacy and leadership. In Michigan, where there is a pre-Roe abortion ban on the books, we’ve started collaborating with partner organizations to coordinate abortion training rotations out-of-state, should the state prohibit or severely limit abortion care.

We are also in the final stages of the strategic planning process we began in 2020, to focus our work and ensure that we are meeting the needs of clinicians and patients across the country in this rapidly shifting landscape of access. As part of that process, we are ensuring that a racial justice lens is integrated into our organizational structures, vision, mission, and programs. As a team we continue to reflect deeply on what it takes to be anti-racist, and how we can and must do better. We discuss issues of inequity and racial injustice, uplift the efforts and work of Black-led justice organizations, participate in more coalitions led by BIPOC partners, and issue statements that clearly outline our beliefs as an organization. Our board and staff members have also collaborated to create an Equity Team to evaluate and transform RHAP’s policies and practices, and hold us accountable to our values. 

Regardless of what the future holds, the Reproductive Health Access Project remains firm in our mission to expand access to reproductive health care for everyone, everywhere. We are unwavering in our belief that every person should be able to access comprehensive reproductive health care  – including abortion, contraception, and miscarriage care – in their own communities, free from any restrictions, barriers, or stigma.

In Solidarity,

Silpa Srinivasulu, MPH (she/her)
Interim Co-Executive Director
Director of Programs and Evaluation
National Fellowship Director

Laura Riker, MSSW (she/they)
Interim Co- Executive Director
Director of Organizing and Advocacy

Kallie McLoughlin (she/her)
Operations Coordinator

Victoria Keehn, MA (she/her)
Manager of Individual Giving

Hailey Broughton-Jones, BA (she/her)
Senior Organizer

Lily Trotta (she/they)
Organizer

Brandy Bautista (she/her)
Program Coordinator

Khashae (Shae) Jackson (she/her)
Organizing and Communications Associate 

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