On March 10, 1993, Dr. David Gunn was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist. Three years later, to honor his life and his work, the 10th of March became National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. It is not only a day to recognize the importance of allowing people to control their own reproductive lives but it’s also a day to say thank you to all abortion care providers who fight to keep the abortion option available.
Every day, we are thankful and honored that abortion care providers all over the country put their lives at risk to provide comprehensive health care. Abortion care providers are faced with threats of violence against them and their families, aggressive legislative limitations, and emotional harassment. These are just a few of the intimidation tactics that are used to deter clinicians from providing full-spectrum, patient-centered health care. We at RHAP are fortunate to work with caring, dedicated, and passionate providers located all over the country. Thank you to all the physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives, staff, volunteers, doulas, and advocates who ensure access to safe, compassionate abortion care in independent clinics and in the primary care setting.
As we celebrate and share our appreciation for abortion providers today and every day, here are some things you can do to show up for abortion access:
- Share your thanks and appreciation on social media using #CelebrateAbortionProviders
- Make a donation to RHAP to help us to continue provide primary care clinicians with training, equipment, and supplies so they can provide abortion care in their communities
- We are also collecting your thoughts of gratitude to send to abortion providers in the US. We invite you to use this form to share your messages with us – Tell us why you appreciate abortion providers. We’ll then digitally share your messages to abortion providers and share your stories anonymously on social media. Your kind words will provide encouragement during these very difficult times!
This winter, the RHAP team developed a brief list of guidelines to help us hold safety, equity, and support at the forefront of our meeting spaces, online activities, and community. These guidelines are just a few examples of the values that we strive to uphold as we continue to grow our community and push for reproductive access and justice for all.
We are excited to present these Community Guidelines, listed below and on our website, and welcome your feedback as we continue to reflect on our positionality, both as individuals and an organization. If you have any questions or other thoughts on our community agreements, please feel free to share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. By entering this space, attendees agree to uphold RHAP’s values.
- Reaffirm our organizational statement on Black Lives Matter
- Recognize the historical and ongoing influence of white supremacy in the medical field, and acknowledge our power and participation in this structure as a primarily white-led organization
- Center the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) clinicians, patients, and advocates
- Commit to ongoing reflection and growth, as well as calling in and supporting others in this process.
3. Use gender-neutral and inclusive language. We recognize and celebrate reproductive health care as an essential part of health care for people of all genders, including– but not limited to– cisgender women.
- Don’t assume someone else’s gender or pronouns, whether they are a colleague, patient, or anyone else connected to the space.
- When in doubt, use gender-neutral language or ask. Click here to learn more about why using the correct pronouns is important, and how to get started!
4. Avoid using physician-centric language and exclusionary professional acronyms
- Unless a topic is specific to physicians, use intentional language (“clinicians” in place of “doctors”) to be inclusive of the nurses, physician assistants, midwives, students, and other clinicians who are an essential part of this work.
- When in a space with clinicians from different geographic and professional backgrounds, strive for clarity and inclusivity by using full phrases like Continuing Education instead of CE, Society of Teachers of Family Medicine instead of STFM, and so on.
5. Be mindful of ableist terms and phrases
- American culture and language have long excluded and othered people with disabilities. Though often inadvertent, the use of ableist language can be extremely damaging. It is important to find alternatives to words and expressions with roots in ableism, such as these.
6. Indigenous Land and Territorial Acknowledgements
The Reproductive Health Access Project’s office and the majority of its full-time staff are located on the unceded land of the Lenape peoples (Lenapehoking). We acknowledge and respect the Lenape peoples, elders, and ancestors past, present, and future. As much of our work takes place beyond the Homeland of the Lenape peoples, we also acknowledge and pay respect to all the Indigenous communities who have stewarded the land, and to their ongoing cultural, spiritual, and intellectual contributions. The Reproductive Health Access Project was founded upon the exclusion and erasures of many Indigenous peoples and we are committed to collaborating with and centering the needs of Indigenous communities as we work toward dismantling the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism. Learn more about the Lenape peoples and donate to the Lenape Center here.
- We encourage you to educate yourself on the history of genocide and mass displacement by white colonialists, and the ways in which white supremacy continues to oppress Indigenous peoples within and beyond their place of work and residence. Land acknowledgements should be motivated by a genuine respect for Indigenous nations and communities. Learn more here.
7. Respect the tech!
- Mute yourself when you are not speaking, and listen to those who are with patience and respect.
- For those comfortable, we encourage you to change your Zoom display name to: Name, pronouns, location during calls. Example: Lily Trotta, she/they, New York
- While we appreciate when attendees keep their cameras on during video calls, please be respectful of the privacy of those who prefer not to do so.
We’re hiring! The Reproductive Health Access Project is seeking a remote part-time Spring Development Intern to join our team.
Supporting the work of a small but busy organization, this position will play a key role in ensuring that RHAP meets its short and long-term strategic goals. Through our national organizing and mobilizing, we are building a movement to change the way reproductive health care is provided, and we are looking for highly motivated, organized, and detail-oriented individuals to join our movement.
You can learn more about this position, and apply, on our website. Please share it with someone if you think they would be a good fit for this role.
Dr. Linda Prine will be retiring from the Reproductive Health Access Project at the end of the month. As a co-founder and our Medical Director, Linda played a pivotal role in the development of our organization and she has been a teacher, mentor, leader, and source of inspiration to many.
While Linda isn’t leaving this work entirely (she will continue to provide health care and will always be an activist and ally), she is consciously stepping back from RHAP now so that the next generation of clinicians can help lead the organization. She has played so many important roles within our organization and leaves us with big shoes to fill.
Linda has served as our medical director since our founding. She helped create all our tools and resources, guided the development of our clinical protocols, and helped shape the content of our educational programs. Moving forward, RHAP will no longer have a single medical director. Instead, for clinical leadership, we will rely on a multidisciplinary clinical committee. This shift will allow us to broaden the clinical expertise that guides our work, better reflect the diversity of the clinicians we work with, including folks of color, non-physicians, and people outside of the northeast. The committee is starting with three members and will expand as needed.
Linda established our Reproductive Health Access Network in 2009 to offer family physicians mentorship and support to provide abortion in primary care. Since then, the Network has developed into a vibrant, national community of primary care clinicians involved in advocacy, training, and education with chapters in 25 states. Linda has been critical in expanding the Network’s ability to leverage the American Academy of Family Physicians to support comprehensive reproductive health care. This past year, we have restructured the Network to allow for regional organizing. We now have four Regional Clinical Leaders (RCLs) providing mentorship and support to our AAFP activists. The move to Regional Clinical Leaders has allowed us to engage more clinicians in leadership development and provide more support to each AAFP Liaison. Linda is currently the RCL for the northeast but will be transitioning that over to another Network member in March.
Linda has been the director of the New York Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship since its inception in 2010. A few years ago, she formally began working with two Assistant Fellowship Directors and in the coming year, she will be handing off the reins of the NY fellowship fully but will stay involved to support the new New York fellowship leadership. The fellowship now trains six fellows a year in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York, and Washington.
We will be celebrating Linda’s legacy online on March 23rd at 8:30 pm ET. Please join us! You can also contribute to a memory book celebrating Linda’s legacy at RHAP and within our movement. Write a short note to Linda – share a story or anecdote about her, upload photos, create a top 10 list about her – whatever inspires you!
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