Mark your calendar! 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. RHAP is partnering with Lady Parts Justice to produce this amazing event.
Lady Parts Justice is a “rapid response reproductive justice messaging hub that uses comedy, culture, and digital media to sound an alarm” about reproductive rights and was founded in 2012 by Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead. V to Shining V will take place at Le Poisson Rouge from 7:30pm-10:00pm. We have an amazing line-up of performers, including Janeane Garofalo, Ted Leo, Naomi Ekperigin, Leah Bonnema, and the Citizens Band! The night will also highlight the work of RHAP clinicians integrating abortion, contraception, and miscarriage into primary care across the country. All proceeds from the event will go towards supporting RHAP’s work. Check out our event page for the latest updates. We hope you will be able to join us on September 26, 2015!
Sterling Franklin was one of RHAP’s very first supporters. As a lawyer and trustee of the Morris F. Smith Foundation, Sterling has dedicated his career to improving access to reproductive health care.
Sterling was introduced to RHAP in 2005 at a house party in Pasadena, California. He immediately connected with RHAP’s message of integrating abortion and contraception into primary care. At that event, Sterling made a pledge on behalf of his foundation, which motivated others to donate. The funds we raised at that Pasadena house party enabled us to launch our organization. As Sterling explains, “family practitioners are confidential – they are only dealing with individual patients, so people are not getting hassled by protestors.”
A former board member of Population Connection and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Sterling is interested in the latest developments in family planning. He sees advances in emergency contraception and the Affordable Care Act as ways of “vastly increasing provision of contraceptives” so that more women can get the health care they need. We are so grateful for his tireless support over the last ten-years!
Clinicians who provide abortion care often do not work in the areas where the need is greatest. This work can be difficult, no matter where you live. But it is hardest on those who live in areas where the laws aren’t supportive, where no one speaks about abortion openly, and where abortion is highly stigmatized.
While RHAP is committed to expanding access by integrating abortion into primary care, we also know that it is critical to maintain existing abortion services in clinics. That is why, in collaboration with ANSIRH, we launched the Physician Matching Project in 2011.
The project’s concept is simple: match experienced abortion-providing clinicians willing to travel to centers struggling to find doctors to provide abortion care.
Since launching the project in 2011, RHAP has systematically reached out to independent abortion facilities across the country to assess their need and willingness to participate in this project. At the same time, through our various networks, we have connected with family physicians and ob/gyns who have extensive abortion care experience to gauge their willingness to travel to provide care.
We have registered 45 clinics and more than 100 physicians with the Physician Matching Project! RHAP has made matches in Alabama, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.
The work doesn’t end there. It isn’t enough to match a trained clinician willing to travel to a clinic in need. The administrative and regulatory obstacles to employ a traveling clinician are seemingly endless and can take months to unravel. While the responsibility to sort these issues out ultimately lies with the clinic in need, we have learned a lot about the barriers physicians face getting licensed in some states (for example, Texas makes it very difficult and Mississippi makes in virtually impossible!). We are inspired by how hard clinics work to ensure that everyone in their state has access to abortion care and by the incredible commitment physicians demonstrate for providing this important care.
Honor MacNaughton is near and dear to RHAP. She was our first Reproductive Health and Advocacy Fellow from 2007-2008. She still works closely with RHAP. She is currently on the board of directors and is a Reproductive Health Access Network Regional Cluster leader for Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. She is a family medicine physician and faculty at a family medicine residency in Boston. This fall, she will be helping us expand our Fellowship outside of New York City by hosting and mentoring a Reproductive Health and Advocacy Fellow at her institution in Boston.
I was drawn to primary care because I believe that strong primary care is key to a strong health care system. On a personal level, I value the opportunity to care for people over time, in the context of their families and communities. These relationships that develop over time allow for a window into the big picture of my patients lives. And I enjoy this – having a chance to address both the big picture as well as the details.
I was drawn to the reproductive health aspect of my work by the belief that part of being healthy is being able to plan your reproductive future and decide if and when you have children. This is one of those big picture things. It affects the majority of our patients in one way or another and has ripple through effects on so many others aspects of health. Unfortunately, accessing reproductive health care is becoming harder in many places. This is why I relate to the RHAP model of integrating reproductive health services into primary care. It takes advantage of the relationship that already exists between patient and provider, increases access and decreases stigma.
I chose to apply for RHAP’s Reproductive Health and Advocacy Fellowship because I was interested in both teaching in family medicine and getting trained to provide abortion care. I didn’t receive any abortion or ultrasound training in residency and the fellowship offered these concrete skills in addition to advocacy, leadership and teaching skills.
I have carried all of what I learned during fellowship into my current work: abortion and miscarriage provision, advanced contraceptive training, skills to train other providers, and the advocacy skills needed to negotiate the challenges of developing an abortion training program.
Beyond the fellowship, I continue to value the relationship I have built with RHAP to this day. I depend on the RHAP staff for their clinical expertise and technical assistance. And I look to the RHAP community for support when my work feels slow or isolating. Being a part of the RHAP community is reaffirming and inspires me to continue the work in my local community.
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