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Newsletter/February 2016

Who will be your valentine? Send a card today!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and this year you can help expand access to reproductive health care AND wish that special someone in your life a Happy Valentine’s day too! Your gift will help train and support clinicians to provide compassionate, comprehensive reproductive health care. Make a donation of $25 or more by February 14th and we will send a Valentine’s Day e-card to a special person in your life.

It is a difficult time to be doing this work. Reproductive health care is more politicized and stigmatized than ever and far too many people have to travel long distances, cross picket lines, endure medically unnecessary delays, and pay out of pocket for what should be basic health care. Because we focus our efforts on clinicians working in primary care settings, we are able to expand reproductive health care in sites that are free from the negative attention that traditional family planning and abortion clinics are subjected to.

Make your gift of $25 or more today. By making a contribution to RHAP you are celebrating a special person in your life and improving access to abortion, contraception, and miscarriage care across the United States.

RHAP joins CLJ, a coalition for religious freedom

“The relationship between religion and medical practice has created a strange environment within which I provide medical care. Talk of religion happens early and often. Every staff meeting starts with religious reflections and my clinic has been blessed by a nun. I had to sign an employment contract that said I would uphold Catholic ethics. I believe it excludes good practitioners… by limiting the scope of their practice—you have to decide to provide birth control and risk being fired every time you do, or simply not work there.”

L.M., a Nurse Practitioner practicing in a Catholic institution, 2014

L.M. is the sole provider at the only clinic in a rural Southern community. Her ability to provide quality reproductive health care to her patients has been severely limited because the clinic is part of a larger Catholic institution. At the Reproductive Health Access Project, we work with clinicians from across the country facing similar barriers to providing services due to religious discrimination from institutions, co-workers, administrators, and lawmakers. This is why RHAP joined the Coalition on Liberty & Justice (CLJ), an alliance of faith-basedsecular, and other organizations that work together to ensure that public policy protects the religious liberty of all people. We join CLJ in opposing laws and policies that impose one religious viewpoint on all and in doing so restrict access to reproductive health care. We advocate for the rights of clinicians to practice safely and openly, and for the rights of patients to access necessary health care, free from religious discrimination.

As providers and advocates, RHAP honors and respects the personal beliefs of every individual, religious and non-religious. However, in our work we see how the anti-choice movement often uses religion as a means to deny people access to health care. We also see the consequences of religious imposition on medical education and training, and the risks faced by providers such as L.M.

On January 16, the Coalition on Liberty & Justice engaged in advocacy around Religious Freedom Day. This national day commemorates the 1786 signing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the precursor to the First Amendment, which protects the religious freedom of all Americans. Religious Freedom Day has traditionally been claimed by religious conservatives as a way to push their harmful narratives into the mainstream. This year, CLJ is presenting an alternative view of Religious Freedom Day, reminding us that January 16 is a day to celebrate both religious freedom as well as freedom from religion.

For more information on the Coalition for Liberty & Justice, and how this affects reproductive health care access, take a look at this video.

Physician Matching Project expands into C3: Creating a Clinician Corps

In many parts of the country there is a serious shortage of abortion providers. In recognition of this unequal distribution of abortion providers, the Reproductive Health Access Project joined with ANSIRH in 2012 to create the Physician Matching Project.

The goal of this project was to match physicians who are trained in abortion care and are willing to travel out of state with clinics that need a physician for a few days a month for occasional fill-in, or to train other doctors to go to later gestational ages. During the project’s four years we matched more than 20 physicians to clinics in Alabama, California, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas.

Based on our initial success and the desire to further expand our capacity to bring clinicians to areas where they are needed, the Physician Matching Project is now being rolled into an independent, more comprehensive initiative called Creating a Clinician Corps (C3). This new initiative merges the Physician Matching Project with a similar Planned Parenthood effort to match trained clinicians to sites in need. By merging forces, we are creating a stronger, more unified and coordinated approach to meeting the needs of women and clinics across the country. RHAP is proud to have been the initial home for this project.

If you are interested in traveling to provide abortion care, or are a health center in search of a trained abortion provider, please visit the Creating a Clinician Corps website.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day and Condom Day

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only reason to celebrate February 14th – it is also Condom Day! Celebrated in multiple countries around the world, Condom Day falls on Valentine’s Day as an ideal opportunity to promote healthy relationships and to remind people about the risks of STIs and unplanned pregnancies. Condom Day is a timely reminder for people to use condoms to protect themselves and their partners, and to educate them about condom use and other birth control methods.

Celebrate Condom Day by being informed about your birth control options and sharing that information with others! RHAP is known for its pharma-free and evidence-based resources and patient education sheets. These are great tools for health care providers to share about reproductive health care choices, and for anyone to use if they have questions. PDF versions can be downloaded online and high quality prints are for sale in our Shopify store.

To prepare for Valentine’s Day (and Condom Day), check out our resources on birth control choices and birth control for men to make sure you’re covered in all the right ways!

Save the date for the Rally to Protect Abortion Access

On Wednesday, March 2, 2016, the Supreme Court will hear the case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt and the Reproductive Health Access Project plans to be there to show our support! We hope you will too.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly known as Whole Women’s Health v. Cole) will determine whether the state of Texas can place burdensome restrictions on women’s health clinics that would shut down nearly all abortion care providers in the state. This historic case could overturn Texas’ HB2 laws and would affect the hundreds of similar laws being passed in states across the country. This case has truly national implications for the health and rights of women and families.

Save the date for the Rally to Protect Abortion Access on Wednesday, March 2, 8am-12pm on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. If you are in the area, we hope you are able to attend in person. If you can’t make in person, we hope you will save the date to lift up this important moment on social media using the hash tag #StopTheSham.

Thank you for your year-end support in 2015

2015 marked RHAP’s 10-year anniversary and you helped make this year one of our most successful years yet! Together, we raised over $40,000 on our end-of-year appeal. We are so grateful for your generous gifts—we could not accomplish all that we do without your support.

We believe that training as many clinicians as possible in abortion, contraceptive, and miscarriage care is the best path to increasing access nationwide. Primary care clinicians are the main health care providers working in underserved urban and rural communities, and they are the key to expanding access to quality reproductive health care across the country. RHAP provides training and support to new and experienced primary care clinicians to fill the gaps in reproductive health care access. Your generous support makes this possible.

Your donation to our end-of-year appeal will go directly toward our fellowships, training programs, and advocacy work in 2016. Thank you for joining us in the movement to expand access to reproductive health care within the primary care community.


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