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Newsletter/March 2016

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt: The consequences of TRAP laws!

March 2nd is a critical day for abortion access. At 10am, the Supreme Court will hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly Cole), which challenges Texas House Bill 2 (HB2), a critical case about abortion access that will have tremendous impact on the future of reproductive health in the United States. The morning of the case, thousands of pro-choice advocates and allies will come together at the Rally to Protect Abortion Access to reaffirm the right to safe and legal abortion access for everyone. If you are in the DC area, we hope you will join us at the rally.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is a critical case because Texas HB2 is one of the nation’s many dangerous TRAP laws. These “Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers” impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations on abortion providers. Common TRAP laws include, but are not limited to: Medically unnecessary physician and hospital requirements, mandatory 24-to-72 hour waiting periods, facility requirements, restricted public funding under Medicaid, private insurance restrictions, state-mandated counseling, gestational limits, and parental involvement. These laws and policies regulate abortion providers and go beyond what is medically necessary to ensure patients’ safety and have devastating consequences on people seeking abortion care.

HB2 holds that all abortion clinics meet the same standards as Ambulatory Surgical Centers, even when only medication abortion is offered. Requiring clinics to meet hospital operating room standards has a particularly detrimental affect on smaller, independent clinics. HB2 also holds that all abortion providers must have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic, which disproportionately affects rural clinics. Should HB2 be upheld, only 10 abortion clinics will remain open in Texas for a population of 5.4 million women of reproductive health age.

If HB2 is upheld, the consequences on abortion providers and patients will go beyond Texas. HB2 sets a dangerous precedent, greatly strengthening the potential for similar laws in other states. As such, we must tell the media, politicians, and lawmakers that access to safe, legal, and affordable abortion care is our right as citizens of the United States.

If you can’t make it to the Rally, participate on social media using #StoptheSham.

Check out and share these great videos for more information on TRAP laws:

Lady Parts Justice& Buzz Off, Lucille: Do-it Dudes Do Abortion (featuring RHAP’s very own Stephanie!)

Lady Parts Justice: Clinic Hunters

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Abortion Laws

Celebrate Abortion Provider Appreciation Day!

Abortion providers face tremendous obstacles everyday in order to provide essential health care, including stigma, lack of training, struggles finding support staff, aggressive legislative limitations, and even threats to the safety of their families and themselves. The more we lift up the invaluable people that provide this safe and legal medical care, the more we reduce the stigma around abortion care.

On March 10, 1993, Dr. David Gunn was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist. To commemorate his life, the work he did, and the work that all abortion providers do to ensure that women can control their reproductive destinies, March 10th has since been recognized as National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers.

At RHAP, we are lucky to work with warm and brilliant providers of abortion care from across the United States. They are humble social justice warriors for patient-centered care. They respect the right and ability of individuals to make decisions about their bodies. They face barriers everyday to de-stigmatize the procedure and make it accessible for everyone. They face unique challenges unlike those of any other medical providers and this only makes them more dedicated to providing this essential care.

In honor of this upcoming Appreciation Day, we are collecting your warm thoughts and best wishes for abortion providers, which we will share in our provider networks, on social media, and on our website. We invite you to use this form to contribute—Share your thoughts on why you appreciate abortion providers.

Introducing the New “Your Birth Control Choices” Poster!

We’re announcing the launch of our new and improved ‘Your Birth Control Choices’ poster! The poster is one of our most popular patient education items, and with its easy-to-read descriptions and colorful design, it makes a great addition to any health center, doctor’s office, or school clinic.

Through a process that included patient focus groups and review by 80 reproductive health clinicians, we’ve updated our poster to include the most current information about efficacy, usage, benefits, and drawbacks of every contraceptive method, including natural family planning and sterilization. We’ve redesigned it so the information is even clearer and easier to read. This poster, like all of our materials, is patient-centered, low-literacy, and pharma-free.

This month only we will be offering a buy two get one free sale of these posters! They are currently available for pre-order and will be ready to ship in mid-March. Get your posters here!

Spotlight on a donor, Kim Daly

Kim spends her days as a production editor for trade and educational publishing, but she is always on the lookout for opportunities with mission-based projects that help individuals in need of extra support. “Before becoming a donor, I started volunteering. About three years ago I got involved with an organization working with victims of sexual and domestic violence. I found the experience very rewarding and started looking for other organizations to support. I am lucky to be in a position now where I can offer financial support in addition to my time to help places like the Reproductive Health Access Project.”

As a life-long feminist, reproductive rights have always been important to Kim. She was first introduced to RHAP in 2014 at a screening of the film Obvious Child and immediately connected with RHAP’s mission of integrating abortion, contraception, and miscarriage services into primary care. “I really like the way that RHAP is reframing this issue as basic health care. RHAP talks about reproductive health in a way that demystifies these services and they are helping debunk taboos often associated with reproductive health.”

In a recent interview with Gloria Steinem on Fresh Air, Kim heard something that really got to the heart of why she supports RHAP. Steinem said, “Every person has the right to control—male and female—to control their own bodies from the skin in…Our skin needs to be the line of defense between our own dignity and will and any outside force.” Kim says, “I think RHAP works very hard to make sure everyone has this kind of control over their bodies and that’s why I choose to support their mission.”

Kim is a valued donor and we are so grateful for her support of the Reproductive Health Access Project.

Abortion Provider Heroines in History

March is Women’s History Month and March 10th is Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. What better time to pay tribute to women who fought for the right to access abortion care? Even before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, countless women acted upon their conscience and provided abortions during a time when the illegality of the procedure put providers at risk of prosecution and women at risk of complications and death. These abortion providers gave women the ability to take control over their lives during a time when the rest of the world wanted to deny them this freedom.

Ann Trow, more commonly known as Madame Restell, was notoriously labeled as the “Abortionist of Fifth Avenue” during her tenure as a provider in the mid 1800s. In 1847, two years after abortion became completely illegal (before this, it had been legal until the moment a woman felt the fetus move), she was arrested for second-degree manslaughter (how abortion was framed during this era) and sentenced to a year on Blackwell’s island. She didn’t allow her run-in with the law to stop her from providing abortions to women in need, and upon release continued doing so until she was personally investigated by Anthony Comstock and arrested in 1878.

Ruth Barnett, provided abortions in the early-to-mid 1900s in Portland, OR. As a 16-year-old, she had an abortion and that experience instilled in her the conviction that all women should be able to choose their reproductive destiny. Between 1918 and 1968, she performed abortions under the guise of a chiropractic practice. As the progressive and wartime eras came to a close, the atmosphere in the US became more and more hostile towards abortion, and she found herself in and out of prison during the 1950s. In 1968, she retired after having helped over 40,000 women.

Jane E. Hodgson was the only physician in US history to be convicted for providing abortions in a hospital setting. She served as the president of the Minnesota Obstetrics and Gynecology Society in the 1950s, but when convicted in 1971, the society provided her little support. After the conviction, she became the director of Preterm, the first standalone abortion clinic in the country, and post-Roe, moved back to Minnesota to establish outpatient clinics. Her concern over adolescent pregnancy motivated her to provide abortion services, and continued to do so during the duration of her career.

These are just three of the many women in U.S. history that risked everything to ensure that women were able to access the abortion care they needed. Even today, abortion providers face countless challenges to provide this important service to their patients. In honor of Women’s History Month and Abortion Provider Appreciation Day we invite you to let abortion providers know you appreciate all that they do for women everywhere. We invite you to click here to contribute—Tell us why you appreciate abortion providers.


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